American Eagle brand Aerie is taking its no-retouching campaign to the next level by casting ‘curve’ model Barbara Ferreira in its newest ads.
The brand first launched the #AerieReal initiative two years ago, promising not to Photoshop its models — but until now, most of the women in its ads have been traditionally slender.
That’s why Barbara, 18 — who goes by Barbie — has earned so much social media attention for flaunting her 30″ waist and 44″ hips in a string pink bikini in a new Aerie video.
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Figure flaunter: Barbie Ferreira, 18, stars in American Eagle spinoff Aerie’s latest #AerieREAL campaign
Work it! The ‘curve’ model goes unretouched in the new campaign video, in line with the brand’s promise not to alter images of its models
‘We cast Barbie because she’s got nothing to hide, she’s strong and beautiful she embraces her real self, which is the spirit of the Aerie Real message,’ Aerie’s global brand president, Jen Foyle, told Refinery29.
While only one image appears on the site so far, Aerie has also uploaded a 30-second clip to YouTube, in which Barbie talks about the campaign, drinks iced coffee, and confidently removes her cover-up at a hotel pool to lounge in a sexy two-piece.
‘What makes me #AerieReal is I’m unapologetically myself, no matter what anyone’s opinion of me is,’ she says in a voice-over.
‘Not being retouched in the images is something really important to me. People knowing that that’s what I look like, without [adding] anyone’s perception of what my body needs to look like,’ she goes on. ‘The world needs more women who are so strong.’
Getting comfortable: Barbie wears a cover-up in a new image up on the brand’s website, but she strips it off and lounges by the pool in a video
Confident: She says in the clip that she is ‘unapologetically’ herself, and more women need to be that brave
Role models: She also says that it is important for women to see unretouched bodies like hers
The prolific tweeter expanded on that point online, explaining why it’s so important for fashion and the media to be more inclusive of bodies like hers.
‘Saying I have a normal body is powerful within itself because people tend to think my fat makes me abnormal,’ the 5’8″ stunner wrote under the handle @boredbarbara.
‘I just don’t like the term plus size it reminds me of the word oversize I am not with it…Curvy is cuter,’ she wrote. ‘One day I won’t have to say curvy model and I can just say model. The ultimate dream.’
Terminology: Barbie said she prefers to be called ‘curvy’ over ‘plus-size’, because ‘plus-size’ makes her think of the word ‘oversized’
Feeling good: Fans have said the new ad ‘inspires’ them, and that Barbie’s body-positive message boosts their self-esteem
Aerie has earned plenty of praise since releasing the new video featuring Barbie, with fans expressing their excitement over seeing a ‘regular’ girl in a major ad.
‘Seeing @boredbarbara in the Aerie campaign inspires me,’ wrote one woman
‘I’ve always been super self-conscious of my body and then @boredbarbara came thru with the body positivity and now I feel better than ever,’ wrote another.
Despite an overwhelmingly positive response, though, Barbie has been been on the receiving end of a bit of hate, too – but she’s hasn’t let it get her down. In fact, she responded by making an even stronger statement.
Open your mind: A few people have been cruel, but Barbie has hit back and said it’s because they aren’t used to seeing average bodies
Healthy: As a size 12, she said, she is ‘super average’ and not ‘obese’, as some critics have said
Keeping it natural: She also noted that people have become so accustomed to images being Photoshoped that they can’t remember what real people look like
‘Have to remind myself that people are so cruel and wrong about bodies because they never see average bodies on their screens and it’s new to them,’ she wrote on Twitter. ‘I don’t really care much about what they say except [it’s] just super inaccurate s***, like I’m promoting obesity. What?!? I’m not close to medically obese.
‘My body is super average, it’s a size 12. I work out, I eat extremely healthy, I live my life,’ she went on. ‘Body perceptions are so warped that people think MY body is unhealthy and obese because it’s on camera.
‘Society is extremely irresponsible for sending this message to people. People are so used to Photoshop they think it’s real life.’