On February 6th, Charli Howard and Clementine Desseaux led the second unveiling of their All Woman Project at Aerie’s Pop Up store in SoHo.
Complete with cocktails, clothing sales, and DJ Atlanta De Cadenet Taylor, the event was a great success and drew a big turnout. Dressed along the walls were the new campaign pictures photographed by Heather Hazzan, and quotes from the featured models themselves. The All Woman Project is an editorial campaign featuring inspiring and diverse women of all ages, sizes, race, and sexuality, who haven’t been photoshopped.
When Charli Howard was dropped by her agency for being too big by their standards she set out to create a campaign of self-love and body positivity.
In 2016 she joined forces with friend and plus sized model Clementine Desseaux to create a campaign that would enhance the message of body positivity and self-confidence.
Aerie has had a mission as a brand to forego retouching of their ads and campaign photographs with it’s #AerieReal Campaign. The clothing and intimates brand has stressed the importance of self-love since 2014.
Aerie Real Role Model Iskra Lawrence and MUSE’s Mari Agory, surfer Quincy Davis, among others modeled in the second campaign.
Singer Daya, actress Peyton List, and Caila Quinn were also in attendance to help celebrate, share their version of the campaign’s message, and to embrace diversity.
We sat down to interview the campaign models and event attendees. The All Woman Project’s founders and campaign talent Charli Howard and Clementine Desseaux, along with models Mari Agory, Iskra Lawrence and “The Bachelor’s” Caila Quinn talked about the importance of body positivity.
What does it mean to you to be apart of this project?
Mari Agory: This project has been really emotional for me because I’m pregnant and we’re talking about woman empowerment, women strength, and also you know trying to redefine the definition of beauty and not just what is in mainstream. So I was telling my fiance the other day actually I’ve been really fascinated with the change of my body throughout the last couple of months. It’s really allowed me to have a newfound respect for a woman in general and my mom and just women. Women are responsible for so much for our civilizations how we’re all here. So to be apart of this project while I’m pregnant is just really spoken to me on such a profound level because I’m recognizing, I’m experiencing … also alongside recognizing, the strength and the power of the woman and we’re capable of doing and what our bodies are capable of doing. What this project is about is allowing women to recognize their strength, and allowing them to find that within themselves and recognize that we’re beings that are far more capable than things we can’t even fathom and think about. And we’re not taught that in mainstream and we’re not taught that in school so I’m not only advocating for it but i’m experiencing it, it’s been coming so natural.
When did Charli and Clementine approach you about getting involved with this campaign?
Mari Agory: Well Charli is actually with my agency, so we have the same agency and our agent, she was in another division, and the president of our agency approached me about it and like I was just saying he just felt that me going through this pregnancy and you know this project, and he told them a little bit about me and my work and that I’m pregnant right now and I jumped on it and it was just kind of a perfect marriage in way.
What do are your hopes for this project in the future and what do you hope it teaches women?
Mari Agory: For it to keep going! We need more projects like this. We need more women’s forums, we need more ways for women to connect with each other because I think we are the only ones that can teach each other what we’re about. Men don’t really understand us yet, yes they understand us to a certain extent, my fiance understands me but to a certain extent. But I think when women come together, when they individually recognize their power and their strength, it’s one thing. But when we come together and collectively recognize this thing within us, this fierce rage for a wonderful cause or great life purpose it’s like a force to be reckoned with so I hope it keeps going and I hope it keeps reaching out to women that are not represented in the fashion industry or in mainstream media. We need to inform women out there that we’re all unique in our own ways and regardless of how different we are, I mean I grew up very different and I didn’t really think that I was beautiful because I didn’t see myself in magazines, and I didn’t see myself in advertisements, I didn’t see myself on tv, or women who look like myself, and with projects like this we’re doing our part and if it continues to happen people will still continue to pick up on the wave and get on board with us and getting this point across to people.
How does it feel to see this whole project come to life?
Clementine Desseaux: It’s been amazing. We’ve been working so hard on it and obviously getting here and seeing this store transform with like these beautiful, diverse images all over the place I cried the first time when I walked into the store this afternoon and when we had this like Facebook live and we talked to younger girls, and students that came to see us and it was awesome. They were so into it and they’re so happy seeing themselves more represented and see that other women are fighting for them and it’s amazing. It’s inspiring and that’s what we’re trying to create.
How did you get the idea and when did you approach Charli to collaborate on this?
Clementine Desseaux: So our agent at MUSE introduced us because we were both having a blog and doing some work around diversity and we both had tea and we chatted, and we both had the same vision–an editorial campaign that would be so diverse that we could both model in it and that’s something that’s never happened before because she was trade size I was plus size and we never had the chance to model together on the same type of campaigns we kept talking about it and we thought why not make our own? And we showed them that it’s possible to something great, to do something high fashion with different body types and colors. We called all our friend Iskra Lawrence, Mari, and all our really good friends and they were like “of course, we’ll do it!” and then we were like alright well and then we i like I guess Charlie it’s on let’s do it, and then we started recruited a few more girls that were missing so our main thing was for them to be diverse and having a voice, using their voice in a positive way, so we found those girls and we didn’t really have any plan for it, we just had some friends at Vogue who were like hopefully they’re going to want to talk about it and then it become huge and then everybody talked about it and we were like I guess we’re doing something right. Then we were like okay it’s time to plan that second one because we started getting emails like “this campaign change my life, and I want my daughter to see that and people were asking us when is the next one what are you doing next to change how society is and how girls see themselves.” We had so much work to do and so a couple months ago we turned it into a charity because we want to go into schools and were trying to raise funds to go to school, take our team and create workshops and send advance groups into school to allow them to actually speak about those things and about woman empowerment and encourage them to create their own movement. We’re going to start really soon and we’re really excited. So many schools are requesting us to comes–about 150 in the past few months so we know it’s needed so we’re just to figure out how to make it work and how to get to those schools more often than just twice a year, Fashion Week. We want to always be there and we want the All Woman Project to inspiring and pass the message along.
Did you find the other models at the agency?
Clementine Desseaux: So for this edition we used Iskra again because she’s one of our best friends and she’s also the aerie role model, so that was a perfect fit. Then Paloma is also a really good friend she’s with MUSE too, as well as Amari, and then we just looked up all the other girls because for the first project a lot of girls were transferring other girls of women they love, so we just started there and focused on who the audience wants to hear about so looked at those girls. And then we found Quincy, she’s a surfer. I had never heard of this girl but she’s awesome and she already goes to school in Montauk talking about what she does so she was perfect and Holy we found through our PR agency and she has this program called Lifted that’s makes girls work out and feel good so she was perfect and so then we cast them in a couple weeks and it was back.
What’s the main message you want to send students when you visit their schools?
Clementine Desseaux: Well it’s body positivity but really it’s just to love yourself first because. Something that we all had in common in All Women Project is that we didn’t love ourselves first growing up and we didn’t have any role model to look at so that’s our main goal. We want society to give young girls enough models, role models and letting them know that they’re enough.
What does being here and being apart of this campaign mean to you?
Caila Quinn: I love the whole idea of woman empowerment and showing your true beauty through your smile, like that’s totally me. I don’t know if you watch The Bachelor but I’m all about the smile. And you I don’t think anyone is ever hiding behind a smile, if you smile too much. I think that shows an inner confidence so I love this campaign because it’s promotes inner confidence in women which we need more of and we need to support each other more.
When little girls seeing these models, what do you hope that it teaches them?
Caila Quinn: You know I hope it teaches them to see a natural beauty within themselves and just find qualities that they’re proud of and let that shine. I must say that growing up as a little girl i didn’t have a lot of diverse figures to look up to so the fact that this represents every girl of every body size, every color kind of warms my heart because it’s something that I didn’t grow up with which I think is amazing.
Where did the idea for this campaign come from and what does it mean to you?
Charli Howard: I came to NY last year and I really struggled with my size I was dropped from agency in London for being too big when I was a size 2. Then came to NY and I saw this plus size division and I was like what is this? So Clementine and I met up and we thought we’d do this editorial where we combined straight sized models and curved models. Now I’m kind of bordering on curves myself, it’s become more about diversity and that kind of thing and we just want to keep going and keep representing girls from all shapes, sizes, colors, genders, and sexualities, everything–so that’s what we really want to do.
Where did you find the girls to be in the campaign?
Charli Howard: We scoured them everywhere. We get so many emails from girls saying like “Hi, check me out,” and that’s really helpful. And then we go over Instagram, Twitter, we pick up magazines, we look everywhere. They all have to be inspiring, they can’t just be pretty faces they have to be interesting too.
Clementine talked about you guys wanting to go into schools to teach your message. Can you expand on that?
Charli Howard: We want to just meet young girls. We truly believe that all this self-love and body acceptance starts at a very young age and it starts with schools.
What are your plans moving forward?
Charli Howard: We are going to keep going with it. We are going to keep getting loads of amazing pictures, meeting loads of amazing women and continuing to spread the message because it’s a movement to us.
What does it mean to you to be apart of this campaign?
Iskra Lawrence: I’m really proud because these are two of my friends and they put together the All Woman Project. Regardless if I’m in it or not, just to see high-quality editorial images of diverse ages, size, shape, and color. It’s what you want to see. It feeds your soul and it’s just so nice to have that now. And I think sometimes you have to demonstrate things to an industry for them to kind of be like “oh well it can be done” and people do want to see this, so hopefully this will help this movement move along.
What do you hope this campaign will teach little girls?
Iskra Lawrence: I want every little girl know that she doesn’t have to be perfect. What makes her beautiful is being diverse and seeing images like this, instead of looking at someone else and thinking I wish I looked like that. No– she is beautiful because of that, but you are also beautiful because you have your own special abilities and gifts.
Credit: Michael Simon
Credit: Heather Hazzan