Yara Shahidi, Aly Raisman, & Iskra Lawrence Open Up About Their Moms

In January, Aerie, American Eagle's body positive line of loungewear and intimates, announced that it was extending its family to include Grown-ish actress Yara Shahidi, U.S. Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman, and model Iskra Lawrence as ambassadors based on "their influential voices, unique stories, and self-made success," a press release read. In addition to appearing in the spring campaign — unretouched, naturally — the trio went on to design an exclusive line of products in March (proceeds benefitted the charity of their choice), further capitalizing on Aerie's body-positive bottom line.

Part of Shahidi, Raisman, and Lawrence's duties also called for the trio to star in a campaign alongside the women who inspire them the most: their mothers. "My mother was my role model of success and helped me believe that all of my dreams are possible," Shahidi said in a release announcing campaign, where she poses with her mother Keri. While Raisman, who is featured with her mother Lynn and sister Chloe, said "it is my mother’s courage that helped me formulate my fearless voice," Lawerence, who was photographed with her mother Wilman, said that "because of the confidence that I learned from my mother, I was able to help break the mold and become a model."


But that's not all they had to say about the most important women in their lives. Ahead, Shahidi, Raisman, and Lawrence dish on the go-to style lesson their mothers passed down to them (and so much more).

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Aly Raisman

You wear a uniform for so many important parts of your life. How did you figure out your own style identity off the mats?
"Everyday at practice, I was able to wear whatever leotard and clothing I wanted. I always had so much fun picking out my leotards for practice and I have a strong affinity for fashion and design, so it’s been fun for me to create my own leotard and T-shirt lines.

"I also helped design the Aerie “Survivor” suit, with 100% of sales benefitting Darkness to Light, my non-profit partner that is committed to empowering adults to prevent child sexual abuse. I remember getting so excited every time my parents bought me a new leotard. I only had to wear a specific uniform if it was at a competition."

What's one fashion/style lesson your mom has passed down to you?
"To wear whatever makes me feel most comfortable and confident!"
Why would you say the idea of "dressing for your age" is bullshit?
"Everyone should wear what makes them feel happy and confident. It’s not for others to judge. People need to stop body-shaming and victim-shaming! That’s why Aerie is so special: It's helping girls at a young age recognize that the type of person you are is so much more important than what’s on the outside."

What piece of clothing has the most emotional significance to you?
"Whenever I wear blazers, I feel confident and sophisticated. Blazers make me feel empowered and strong."
Iskra Lawrence

What's one fashion/style lesson your mom has passed down to you?
"How you feel is more important than how you look. I try to live by that every day! Oh, and be a savvy-shopper!"

Why would you say the idea of "dressing for your age" is bullshit?
"I want people to wear clothes that express their uniqueness rather than other people’s perceptions of what they should be. If you feel great in something, wear it. There should be no limitations to what makes us feel like our best selves when it comes to fashion."

What piece of clothing has the most emotional significance to you?
"The items of clothing that have the most significance to me are the things that I have worn that that make me feel the most me. Whether that is my comfy Aerie leggings that I wear to work out, an amazing dress on a red carpet, or a pair of great jeans I wear on a day out with my friends, if I feel great in them and I can be fully myself, that piece of clothing will stick with me. And shoes, of course! Good shoes lift me up emotionally and if they have heels, lift me up physically, too!"
You've been a pioneer for size diversity and inclusivity in the fashion industry. What's one thing the industry still does wrong and how can it change?
"I don’t necessarily look at it as what the fashion industry is doing wrong, rather as how we can be working together to make improvements for men and women of all sizes. As a model, I struggle with fitting into sample sizes. Because I have so much experience in the fashion industry, I choose to work with designers that are able and happy to work with the sizes that best fit me. There are so many fantastic people within the fashion industry who are working hard to increase diversity and inclusivity today, and those are the people that I support and encourage others to support as well."
Yara Shahidi

What's one fashion/style lesson your mom has passed down to you?
"She’s taught me how to use style as a form of self expression. Allowing myself to use clothes as another creative outlet and never being stifled by the normatives of femininity."

What piece of clothing has the most emotional significance to you?
"Anything yellow! Yellow is the color of my joy/light/happiness. It doesn’t matter the article of clothing, I instantly fall in love with anything yellow."
What does dressing for your age mean to you?
"For me, it’s more so dressing for fun and not taking myself too seriously. Why not mix patterns? Why not be bold and loud and unafraid to take up space?"
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