It’s one of those horrifying, but common nightmares that you turn up to work completely naked. In the buff, without anything to hide behind. Yet, that is what Glossier asked of its recent campaign stars who were handpicked to launch their brand-new product dubbed Body Hero Duo.
Calling on photographer Peggy Sirota, Glossier shot Paloma Elsesser, Swin Cash, Tyler Haney, Pia Arrobio, and Mekdes Mersha unclothed. Swin Cash, a retired American basketball player, was nearly nine months pregnant at the time has said that the campaign helped her, ‘confidently embraced my "Body Hero" journey into motherhood’. Unlike Cash, Paloma Elsesser’s Glossier journey was a touch more fraught. Though she’s walked for Eckhaus Latta and starred in adverts for Nike and Pat McGrath Labs, with a 42-inch bust, 34-inch waist and 46-inch hips she isn’t the size of a typical model. And, this made the thought of undressing for the camera a testing experience.
‘Look, I've never done nude before. I cried three times before this shoot. I cried because I still feel scared, paralysed by insecurity at times, and exhausted by an unfettered vulnerability that I want to present to the world.’ She said, ‘As I paced the upstairs bathroom of @springstudios I chanted to myself "this isn't for you Paloma. This isn't about you. Get out of your ego. Be of service" over and over until the anxiety subsided and I was convinced of the mantras which guide me through many jobs, most importantly this one.
‘I did this to show that being fat isn't a burden. Being fat isn't ugly or shameful. To prove to one person that it isn't BRAVE to be fat, but bountiful. And for that young girl looking on Instagram, or walking down Spring st, that she is fucking perfect despite the precarious and irresponsible versions of beauty we are urged to digest. I love you @glossier thank you for this incredible opportunity, for clearing the set, for wiping my tears, for playing SWV, and for helping me shed my insecurities in pursuit of greater impact and awareness.’ For her trial, Paloma has been rewarded with billboard in New York and a set of images that have spread like wildfire over the internet.
Though she wasn’t the only star to find the concept challenging.Reformation’s former designer and founder of LPA, Pia Arrobio echoed Paloma, writing: ‘my weight has fluctuated 30 lbs since I was 13. at 30 I finally feel like myself. This was the hardest thing I’ve ever done - posting this is hard. but these are the things I do for @glossier - the single most disruptive brand with the smartest, coolest team and fucking good product. I would have never said no. Thank you, girls’.
Likewise, Mekdes Mersha opened up about how body ideals have played havoc with her mind and well-being, revealing: ‘This is my body. I wish I could caption this something ~kewl~ like "Issa mood" or something confident and clever and on trend, but that wouldn't be the honest truth about how nervous I was for this to launch. I have always had a love-hate (mostly hate) relationship with this body similar to many other women I know. I never entertained the idea I would ever model (my degree is in Biology, and I have always worked as a full-time researcher...also lol confidence), but when I was 22, I signed to an agency who sold me a dream contingent on one thing-- losing 2 inches. My excitement quickly spiralled into a full blown ED. I would spend hours in the gym, calculated every calorie, binging my life away...things I'm not proud of. I was the skinniest I've ever been (although I couldn't see it) but the agency ghosted me and instead I ended up with an ED that I would nurse for years to come and even seek therapy for. It's still something I struggle with to this day, although I do a good job at masking it with humour. I'm in a much better place now. I'm super grateful for my church fam for teaching me that my identity is not in any industry standards but in God alone and my partner for always making me feel beautiful.’
Though skin care is one of the fastest expanding categories in beauty, body care, Glossier believes, is an after thought for many. In response, their two new products, Daily Oil Wash and Daily Perfecting Cream, have been designed to mimic the rich oil cleansers and creams used above the neck for the rest of your body. Made with seven oils, this cruelty-free range is the brands first body care venture.
Image credit: Instagram @glossier