It all started with an Instagram post. Free Label was a brand I started following after seeing them featured in one of the garment‘s online pop-up shops. In fact, I had just recently placed an order for my first piece from them (the must-have Andie bra). The post was calling for models – regular women of all shapes and sizes – for what would become the everywoman campaign. The models would share their measurements to help women visualize the clothing on different bodies that might be more like their own and to see how the sizes would actually fit.
Before I could talk myself out of it, I grabbed my measurements and submitted them. The next thing I knew I had been selected for the shoot and the date had been set.
So big deal, right? The thing is, it WAS a big deal. My war with my body has been going on for years, decades even. I found myself at my heaviest weight and yet here I was putting myself out in a social media campaign. A quick scan of my Instagram profile is all it takes to see that I’m not one for full body shots. I was excited. I was terrified. But I was also committed.
On the day of the shoot I met Jess, proprietor of free label, in the parking lot – the way you do with people you’ve only met on the internet. She was warm and inviting and gave off an energy that said “this is going to be a good time”. We went over to photographer Thomas‘ home studio to get set up and start shooting. When I entered I met the other models – Julia, Lois, Esther, and Mary. Yusra joined us later in the afternoon. We started chatting like old friends while we got our makeup done by Sarah and Elle.
I can’t say enough about the connection we made as strangers coming together, likeminded, with a single goal. Thomas and Jess guided us to help their vision come to life while at the same time helping us come into our own. It felt like magic and then before we knew it, it was over. Time to wait anxiously for the final product.
At the end of the shoot, I felt really good. I was happy. The clothes were beautiful (and so comfortable! I’ll share a list of my faves in an upcoming capsule wardrobe post). But when the pictures initially came out, I was disappointed. I hated my arms, my chin, my face. My mind instantly went to that negative space that found everything wrong with what I saw before me.
I took a minute (ok, let’s be honest it was more than a minute) and recognized where these thoughts were coming from. I thought about the women I follow on social media and how awesome it was to see them killing it in whatever they were wearing. I looked at those photos again with new eyes, and I was proud. I loved them. I LOVE THEM.
The body I’m in may change in size. It’s been smaller in the past, it may be smaller again. It may be bigger. I’m finding my way and rolling with the punches. But the reality is that no matter what size I am, how much space I take up, if I’m soft or firm, I’m worthy of love. I’m actually pretty fucking awesome. And other women who look like me deserve to see themselves represented to say ‘hey I can rock that too!’.
The response has been really wonderful. It’s been amazing to hear from women who are happy to see themselves represented. I can’t wait to do something like this again (hint, hint Jess!) and I encourage you to do something that pushes you out of your comfort zone! You never know what kind of joy might lie on the other side.
All photos by Thomas Bullock. Used with permission.