American Eagle Outfitters' booming lingerie and swimwear offshoot, Aerie, has impressed us with its Photoshop-free #AerieREAL campaigns for the past two years. For the latest installment, the retailer decided to feature "curve" model Barbie Ferreira. "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," Jen Foyle, Aerie's global brand president, told Refinery29. All of the images in the #AerieREAL ads have celebrated women with varying physiques, sans any digital manipulation, since the campaign debuted. Last year, Emma Roberts starred in the ads. "It's important for me to be a part of this [campaign], because I see how hard it is for girls my sister's age, with social media and feeling like they need to look a certain way," Roberts told Refinery29 in August. "I want to promote the idea that it's okay to look like yourself."
This newest iteration of these ads is particularly refreshing. It's a better time than ever to be a plus-size model (or shopper, thanks to the likes of Melissa McCarthy, Rachel Roy, and Rebel Wilson creating collections that span straight- and plus-sizes), though it's still business as usual for the vast majority of catwalks and campaigns, which continue to be filled with sample sizes. But "in-between" silhouettes are a lot harder to come by, even in the most progressive of brands. In the same way it's important to have plus-size bodies populating fashion imagery, we should be seeing more models that fit into that "curve" category (Kylie Jenner's BFF, Jordyn Woods, may help change that). Perhaps Ferreira looks like you, your best friend, or your mom — she definitely doesn't look like a "traditional" straight-sized runway waif, and that's such a refreshing, body-positive change of pace. The ads haven't yet been released, but a teaser video is now on Aerie's YouTube page; check it out, below.