#ThrowbackThursday: Liu Wen Walks the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, 2009

Liu Wen walks the 2009 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show (Zimbio)

Liu Wen walks the 2009 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show (Zimbio)

I’ll be honest: Sometimes my posts are born from a random thought. This post comes from my Googling to find out who the first Asian supermodel was. This led me to Liu Wen, whom The New York Times called the “first Asian supermodel” in 2012.

Three years before The Grey Lady bestowed that moniker, Liu walked in the annual Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. She was the first Asian model to do so. That’s hardly the only first Liu has racked up throughout her career: She’s also the first East Asian model to be a face for Estee Lauder, cover American Vogue in 2017 and make Forbes‘ annual list of highest-paid models. (Liu ranked #5 on Forbes’ list in 2013 with $4.3M.)

 

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#ThrowbackThursday: Halima Aden’s Burkini, 2016

Halima Aden's burkini in the Miss Minnesota USA pageant, 2016 (WFDD).jpg

Halima Aden’s burkini in the Miss Minnesota USA pageant, 2016 (WFDD).jpg

In November 2016, Halima Aden competed in the Miss Minnesota USA pageant. Naturally, the pageant had the typical swimsuit portion. While other contestants strutted out in colorful bikinis, Aden went in a different direction. The Somalian model chose to put her Muslim faith front and center. She wears hijab, and wore a burkini for the swimsuit portion of the event.

Aden is the first woman to compete in hijab and burkini. Though she didn’t take home the title, Aden’s sartorial choice and adherence to her values made headlines.

Trends: #NoPhotoshop

Iskra-Lawrence 'Share Your Spark' AerieReal campaign (Glamour)

Iskra-Lawrence ‘Share Your Spark’ AerieReal campaign (Glamour)

It used to be that brands only used tall, skinny, (mostly) blonde girl in their advertising. This was thought to be aspirational: You wanted to be the girl in the photo, and how best to be that? Buy their clothes (or perfume, or lingerie, or whatever the brand was selling). But the pursuit of one aspirational body type led those who didn’t possess said body type (either by genetic luck-of-the-draw or by carefully-chosen enhancements) to believe themselves unworthy and maybe inferior.

Thankfully, that trend is on its way out. The current thing (which, I hope, stays) is all about positivity and accepting yourself as you are, because you are enough. For women’s brands, this has translated to, among other things, banning Photoshop.

This month, Glamour released its all-women, no Photoshop issue. The magazine’s staff has gone all-in on banning photo retouching: A quick glance at the “Girls” cast on the cover, and you can see that the cellulite on Lena Dunham’s thigh hasn’t been wiped out. And why should it? It’s just a natural part of life.

In January 2014, American Eagle’s underwear brand Aerie launched its #AerieReal campaign, featuring models of all shapes and sizes and no Photoshopping. The intimates brand is aimed at girls ages 15-22, and the campaign has been used to promote body acceptance, positivity and confidence.

Aerie’s gamble has paid off exponentially: Q2 2014 sales were up 9% from the previous quarter, and continued to grow for the rest of the year. In 2015, sales were up by 20%, with Q4 2015 seeing a 26% increase year-over-year. And sales in Q1 2016 were up 32%.

Body acceptance and positivity has also bled into regular women’s lives, and features prominently on social media. Searching #nophotoshop on Instagram brings up 460K+ posts.It’s clear that this trend isn’t going away anytime soon.

 

 

#ThrowbackThursday: #AerieReal, 2014

#AerieReal campaign, 2014 (The Huffington Post)

#AerieReal campaign, 2014 (The Huffington Post)

American Eagle’s underwear brand Aerie launched its Aerie Real campaign in January 2014. The campaign, photographed by John Urbano and targeted to teens and women and in their 20s, did away with traditional models (read: skinny, unblemished) and began using “real” women, unretouched in all their glory.

 

The Newest CoverGirl Wears a Hijab

CoverGirl Nura Afia (Today)

CoverGirl Nura Afia (Today)

CoverGirl is making strides in inclusivity in their marketing outreach this year. Earlier, the brand announced beauty blogger James Charles as its first male spokesmodel. Now, CoverGirl has tapped beauty vlogger Nura Afia. Afia wears a hijab as part of her Muslim faith.

The 24-year-old will be the first spokesmodel to wear a hijab. Afia will appear in a commercial, and will serve as an ambassador for the So Lashy! Blast Pro Mascara. She hopes that her wearing hijab will normalize Muslims for the rest of America.

Afia began posting makeup tutorials on YouTube in 2011. She now has 215K subscribers and 13M video views. But this isn’t Afia’s first major brand partnership: she’s previously partnered with Revlon.

Beauty that’s inclusive to Muslims is massive, and poised to grow even bigger. According to Ogilvy Noor, by way of The New York Times:

The Muslim personal cosmetics and care market is now worth more than $54 billion, a figure that is expected to reach $80 billion by 2020.

Beauty Blogger James Charles is CoverGirl’s First Cover Boy

James Charles (Elle)

James Charles (Elle)

Cosmetics giant CoverGirl made history this past week with the announcement of their newest spokesmodel. The newest face is 17-year-old beauty blogger James Charles, who’s made history as the first male spokesmodel for CoverGirl. He’ll advertise the brand’s So Lashy mascara, and has already met fellow spokesmodel Katy Perry.

This isn’t the first time we’ve heard Charles’ name: He came to our attention earlier this year with a tweet showing off his redone senior portraits, complete with notable highlight and his own ring light.

Charles only began experimenting with makeup last year, and has already amassed 74K+ subscribers to his YouTube channel and 500K followers on Instagram.

Charles’ selection isn’t without precedent, as men have been used in cosmetics advertising before: MAC has used RuPaul and Johnny Weir before.

Ashley Graham is the First Size-14 Model to Cover the “Sports Illustrated” Swimsuit Edition

Ashley Graham, 'Sports Illustrated' Swimsuit Edition, 2016 (Mashable)

Ashley Graham, ‘Sports Illustrated’ Swimsuit Edition, 2016 (Mashable)

Big news for “Sports Illustrated:” the famed Swimsuit edition came out this past weekend, and featured three different models on three different covers. One of the covers featured Ashley Graham, who’s now the first size-14 model to cover the Swimsuit Edition (and appear within its pages).

This is a huge leap for Graham: Last year, she appeared in the Swimsuit Edition, but only in an ad.

In addition to Graham, this year’s Swimsuit Edition’s other cover girls are mixed martial artist Ronda Rousey and model Hailey Clauson.