Raisman, Shahidi star in new Aerie campaign

The AerieREAL campaign just got a brand-new crop of role models.

According to InStyle, the body-positive intimates line recruited U.S. Olympic gold medal gymnast Aly Raisman, actor Yara Shahidi and singer Rachel Platten to join their AerieREAL campaign as Role Models, starring alongside brand ambassador and model Iskra Lawrence. Debuting the latest installment of the campaign last week, InStyle says while the ad features the group totally unretouched in the brand’s signature underwear, this isn’t the only way they will be representing Aerie and it’s mission.

In fact, “the AerieREAL Role Models will host speaking engagements in stores, and design exclusive products with 100 percent of sales going to the charities of their choice,” reports InStyle. Jennifer Foyle, Aerie global brand president, certainly thinks that the group of models will have no problem creating change and inspiring others, saying in a statement they “embody AerieREAL and what it means to be strong, confident, and happy in your own skin.”

Proving Foyle right already in their initial statements for the brand, each Role Model shared what they hope to impart to women and girls in their time with the campaign.

“We’ve all been through something that, in the end, will make you a stronger person,” Raisman offered, while Platten said that “In being more vulnerable and having the courage to share my truths even more, I’ve learned that more people feel like that gives them permission to do the same.”

Watch Raisman, Shahidi, Platten and Lawrence inspire together in their campaign video for Aerie here.


Gap makes diversity a priority in new campaign

With a simple white T-shirt, Gap is making a big statement about the power of diversity.

According to Glamour, the retailer unveiled their “Bridging The Gap” campaign this week  in an attempt to “[celebrate] diversity and [champion] optimism through a lighthearted song and dance, directed and styled by British Vogue editor-in-chief Edward Enninful.”

But Enninful didn’t create the campaign alone — in fact, Glamour says he recruited an all-star cast to help, which included the likes of Priyanka Chopra, Maria Borges and Yara Shahidi, among many others. All wearing versions of Gap’s famous white T-shirts, Glamour reports the crew “all came together to sing the 1976 song ‘Sunny’ by Boney M. as a united front,” showing off both their individuality and their unity.

Speaking on the importance of the campaign, Chopra said in a press release that Bridging The Gap’s message of finding unity in diversity could not come at a more opportune time.

“‘Bridging the Gap’ is exactly what the world needs right now,” she said. “The most important one for me is empowering women; women need to be given an opportunity to stand on their feet and do the best they can for themselves.”

Check out the fun and inspiring video in its entirety here, and learn more about the campaign here.


Blanchard and Shahidi take over ‘Teen Vogue’

Teen Vogue’s forthcoming issue is all about celebrating the females of the future.

According to Fashionista.com, the glossy’s December issue features young actresses Rowan Blanchard and Yara Shahidi as the issue’s cover girls as well as its guest editors. Its slogan: “Smart Girls Speak Up!”, an appropriate catchphrase for the pair of outspoken activists.

Both Blanchard (15) and Shahidi (16) have a history of offering their insight on a variety of social and cultural issues: Blanchard is known to shut down sexism thrown her way by reporters and online trolls alike, while Shahidi discussed the danger of stereotypes at the Points of Life Conference on Volunteering and Service this past June.

But in this issue, Fashionista.com says the duo works in tandem to empower women and girls of all ages, as they “support each other throughout the interview; they challenge each other to work harder, to voice what they believe in even louder.”

Excerpting a quote from Blanchard, Fashionista.com says the actress offered an “uplifting” account of feminism, its intersectionality and the role of privilege:

“Like [activist] DeRay McKesson says, “You’re not born woke”; it’s such a learning process. I started thinking about the feminism I was initially being sold, which was basically that boys and girls should be equal. But there are intersections, and a lot of reason why it is easier for me to achieve that equality than it is for some of my friends. You have to always question your politics: am I being as inclusive as I possibly can? Is this thing that I said, could it be xenophobic? My worst fear is someone writing, ‘Rowan Blanchard, queen of feminism!’ I’m like, ‘No.’ I am figuring this out just as much as you are. I am constantly trying to check my privilege.”

To catch this and more from Blanchard and Shahidi, be sure to pick up Teen Vogue‘s December issue, due out on Tuesday, Nov. 15.


Shahidi hits back at Hollywood stereotypes

It’s no secret that stereotypes still persist in pop culture and in the world at large. But Yara Shahidi had some powerful words to help tear down hurtful and confining stereotypes that continue to plague the realm in which she works: Hollywood.

According to the Huffington Post, after the Blackish actress received an award at the Points of Life Conference on Volunteering and Service in June, Shahidi used the moment to deliver a striking speech on the still-present stereotypes surrounding people of color in Hollywood. The Huffington Post says 16-year-old explained the danger of perpetuating a narrow story of people of color, saying that many grow up to believe that “they are an anomaly if they succeed and the expectation if they fail.”

She went on to offer that it is impossible for people of color to believe that they are “valued similarly” when they are continually reduced to narrow-minded stereotypes that are inaccurate portrayals of real people, reports the Huffington Post.

To combat this, the Huffington Post says Shahidi offered a highly plausible solution to the issue: more intentional programming on television that presents a more accurate depiction of certain groups of people. Citing shows like TransparentJane the Virgin and her own Blackish, the Huffington Post says Shahidi explained how her character of Zoey helps her to break down oft-perpetuated stereotypes:

“It is through my character and characters like her that the barrier of racism, ageism, sexism and other -isms can be broken down … Art plus activism in any and all forms is a powerful statement that can spread a message that transcends the barriers and limitations of our different realities to reveal the commonality of our shared human existence.”

The takeaway: Art + Activism = Change. Thank you, Yara Shahidi, for such a powerful message.

To watch her entire speech, click here.