lily mandelbaum, Elisa & Lily
Stepping Out From Behind the Camera

The next two What’s Underneath episodes feature yours truly — me and my mom. I’m up first, and as I watch myself strip down to my underwear, I am relieved at how unbothered and possibly even happy I am with my curves being all out there. That was what I feared most about doing What’s Underneath, especially after a lifetime of being plagued by wanting to look like Kate Moss. But between how inspired I’ve been by our brazen subjects and forcing myself to stare at my body in the mirror in order to retrain my mind, I can actually say that I’ve, for the most part, said goodbye to the side of myself that is unnecessarily critical of my natural figure.

I do, however, feel pretty vulnerable about what came out of my mouth. I remember when my mom finished the interview, I ran outside and screamed at my brother, “WE HAVE TO RESHOOT THAT!” (We Didn't.) "WHAT THE FUCK DID I JUST SAY? DID I JUST CRITICIZE THE WHOLE ENTIRE WHITE MALE RACE?!!" As hard as I’ve been on myself about what I revealed, ultimately, it’s been freeing having to accept what I said, even if, now, two months later, I see things differently. I've had to let go and trust that there’s beauty in capturing a true moment in time. It's not a matter of right or wrong. It's my journey. And there's nothing to be ashamed of.


Lily's video was edited by Andrea Cruz
What's Underneath is produced by Elisa, Lily, & Mona

Thank you, Chantelle Lingerie, for sponsoring this episode and for providing Lily with a personal bra fitting and the lingerie shown in this video.

Chantelle Lingerie is meticulously crafted to dignify a woman’s body. Designed to reflect a couture spirit while providing an exceptional fit, Chantelle Lingerie has enhanced women’s beauty, style and confidence for over 130 years.

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  • Arline Jernigan

    From my vantage point there is no reason for you to fear seeing yourself (via the video), as you are awesome and beautiful. I know, the it easy for me to say as I am not the one being seen. I am in tears (as so often your videos bring me to) watching this, because where I am is in a place of cultivating self love, acceptance, confidence, security, and more, about who I am at all levels. This is after years of self deprecation and criticism from my body to my beingness.

    Since the body is on the surface, it has been the easiest for me to attack, and from there it would trickle inward to the point of complete self loathing. I am seeing more and more, how common this is. As you said, we have been trained to compare, and never live up to what we think or accept as "perfection", It is truly a feat to overcome, and yet it is probably the most important thing we can do.

    My big question lately, has been, What is self love and acceptance? I don't pretend to have a great answer to this, but I have finally realized, that it starts by not criticizing myself in any capacity, and appreciating what I can about myself, at any given time. Accepting what I have been given is becoming easier and easier, though refraining from criticism does take a lot of determination and practice. That "training", that I agreed to, has been so well practiced, that it takes time. Your mission helps people like me to remember the truth that we are all beautiful and are more similar than different.

    Thank you and love

    I could totally relate to what you said about internalizing and making yourself wrong, within some of your interactions with others, even when you have reason to believe in your knowing.

    We will always evolve Thank you!!!

  • love you lily <3 such power and inspiration

  • Juana

    I can relate a lot to your video, in fact, I can almost hear myself in your words. I wanted to thank you for mentioning how your body defined you in a positive way. Being someone who struggled a lot with how I looked and how much I weighted, it really made me think of everything in a different light. It never occurred to me how the struggle marked me beyond being self conscious or being extremely careful when I even consider dieting because of how toxic it is for me. Also, your body is beautiful, I mean it. I would kill for your curves!

  • Mia

    wow, you both are amazing and beautiful! 100%!!!! Adore you and what you are doing for us and so many things you said I can relate to! thank you for being yourself and honest, I'm the biggest fan<3

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What's Underneath
Elisa & Lily
What's Underneath