When I discovered what #RealBeauty is in NYC

One of the many things I love about Dove is that they promote #realbeauty. Unlike most brands that tend to push a very exclusive version of beautiful, Dove inspires women to become the best versions of ourselves. By doing this, they help make beauty a source of confidence and not anxiety–their goal is to make all women look and feel their best, which ultimately makes us feel happier.

I’m pretty sure you’ve taken notice of Dove’s many campaigns. They are always inspiring, heart-felt and make us feel good about ourselves. It’s because Dove actually celebrates every woman’s beauty, promotes inclusion, and makes huge efforts to raise self-esteem and confidence, and these are clearly shown in all their campaigns. They have been doing this for 60 years, and today they are recommitting to this with three vows:

1) Dove will always feature real women. Dove believes that beauty is for everyone and therefore features real women of different ages, sizes, ethnicities, hair color, type or style. Real women are introduced by their names and their campaigns will continue to reflect the population’s diversity.

2) Dove will always portray women as they are in real life. They promise to never present the unachievable, manipulated, flawless images of “perfect” beauty which the use of retouching tools can promote. This means zero digital distortion of women, and images are actually approved by the women they feature.

3) Dove will always help girls build body confidence and self-esteem. Globally 8 out of 10 girls opt out of key life activities when they don’t feel good about the way they look. Dove has a mission to ensure the next generation grows up enjoying a positive relationship with the way they look – by helping young people raise their self-esteem and realize their full potential.

For over 10 years, the Dove Self-Esteem Project has educated over 20 million young people in body confidence and self-esteem and has become the biggest provider of self-esteem education of its kind. The brand works with world renowned body image experts and leading universities to develop evidence based and academically validated educational tools. Their goal is to educate 20 million more young people around the world on body confidence and self-esteem by 2020.

As you know, I was invited by Dove to attend their global campaign launch in New York City last month, and part of the program was to meet four amazing, wonderful women. To be honest, I was super grateful to be part of this trip, because I was truly inspired by their remarkable stories. They were as real as it got, and I could not wait to share their stories with my readers.

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REBEKAH MARINE (www.rebekahmarine.com) is a model, inspirational speaker and humanitarian. Despite being born without a right forearm, Rebekah has defied all odds in the fashion industry and has become one of the most recognizable models in the disabled community. She began her journey in 2011 when she decided to explore her options for a myoelectric prosthesis. When she was being fit for her new prosthesis, a friend suggested she model her new “accessory.” It was at that moment Rebekah realized she could turn her “disability” into something extraordinary.

“Throughout my journey as a “bionic model”, I started to realize that it is more than just about me. That it’s about helping people that may not see the brighter side of the cards that they were dealt; it’s about helping people embrace who they are as a person; and it’s about educating people who are living with differences. I have this rare opportunity to teach people that while we all struggle with our lives, we have the ability to control how we treat those struggles.”

Rebekah’s story is incredible. Despite her disability, she was able to start a modeling career and even walk in New York Fashion Week! She is such an inspiration to all of us, and teaches young girls that your disabilities or limitations should not stop you from achieving your dreams.

JESSICA TORRES (www.itsjessicatorres.com) is a style blogger, social media influencer, and body positive fashion reporter. She started her style blog in 2012 and has made quite an impact in the blogging universe as she is one of the first plus-size Latinas bloggers. She makes fearless fashion choices that promote body confidence at any shape and is a role model for so many women who are struggling with their weight and self-esteem. Apart from blogging, Jessica is also a full-time body positivity reporter for Revelist.

“It really affected the way I saw myself in this world, and I let it affect the way I let other people treat me. I missed out on so much in life. For example, I didn’t go to my high school prom, because I thought, ‘I’m gonna look really gross in a dress,’ so I didn’t want to go. And when I go to parties, which is really rare, I didn’t dance. I would sit in a corner, I would sit down, because I didn’t want my body jiggling to offend anyone. And I didn’t want people to look at me and say, ‘oh, she’s jiggling here, she’s jiggling there’; I didn’t want to be the center of attention–that was my biggest fear.

After two years of researching and looking at blogs, I decided it was my turn. The reason why I feel like this is that I didn’t have any role models–I didn’t have anyone that looked like me, I didn’t have anyone that was plus sized and said, ‘you can be fashionable too, you can be beautiful too, you can be as pretty and amazing as you want to be.’ So I wanted to start my blog, and I had my little brother who was my blog photographer, and one day I was like, ‘take a photo of me in a crop top’, for the first time. And I did it. And it was amazing, but I was still very nervous. And when I built up the courage to take a picture with a two piece swimsuit, that was the moment I was like, ‘OK’. Because I started to receive messages from women telling me, ‘hey, I saw you wearing this dress, and now I feel like I can wear it as well.'”

IBTIHAJ MUHAMMAD is an American sabre fencer, and a member of the United States fencing team. She is best known for being the first Muslim American woman to wear a hijab while competing for the United States in the Olympics. In individual sabre at the 2016 Summer Olympics, she won her first qualifying round bout, and was defeated in the second round by Cécilia Berder of France. She earned the bronze medal as part of Team USA in the Team Sabre, becoming the first female Muslim-American athlete to earn a medal at the Olympics.

“My entire life growing up in a predominantly white town in New Jersey, playing in a sport that made me stick out like a sore thumb. Being acknowledged for being different in a sport was the first time where I constantly had people questioning whether or not I belonged because I was black, or I belonged because I was a Muslim girl. Because I wore my hijab, was I safe to participate in a sport; could my opponent participate or compete against me and would that be safe for them because I was wearing a hijab. These were the questions I was getting as a kid.”

DAPHNE SELFE has gained the title: oldest professional fashion model. She has been modelling since 1949 when was picked unexpectedly for a magazine cover at 21 years old (she was born in 1928). She was rediscovered in her seventies, and has been working ever since. Now in her eighties, she is busier than ever and loving life, as campaigns from all over the world keep coming. Daphne proves to the world that age is just a number; she is truly an inspiration to all women!

“I was a model when I was 20, for about five years, just doing normal sort of modeling in the ’50s. And then I didn’t anymore for a bit, and then when I got to 70, I got rediscovered, which you all probably heard about. I’ve had such a great time since, I mean, much better than when I was 20. I mean, I never went abroad when I was young, well, then during my time nobody did. But for modeling now, well, you’re in Paris tonight, then tomorrow you’re in New York… and so here I am. I’ve been all over the world–I’ve gone to lots of places where I never thought I’d be in, but then I say, I’ll go anywhere for as long as you pay me.

That’s the thing with young models, they think when you get old, you’re going to go off. You can go off but you’ll still be a model, if you’ve got a bit of personality and enjoy it all. It doesn’t stop you. And it’s nice working with younger models because they’re not jealous of me. They just usually want to be like me, which is very flattering.” 

So, of course, I couldn’t get over how gorgeous the flat (where the event was held) was. I took plenty of photos, and was able to take one with Daphne as well!

                 

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