About four years ago, at what was soon to become a thunderous crossroads in my and Lily's lives, we did our first Closet interview with Erica Yarborough. Lily had just started USC and I was juggling my fashion styling career with this vague idea of building a video website about people who, as we used to say, "made our heads turn." All the wishy-washiness about when and where our SLU journey was heading ended when Erica declared that she loved the part of her body that had zero cleavage and was flat as a board. Body self-acceptance was so counterintuitive to all that we had known, and then, suddenly, we knew that not only did Erica's tomboy style make our heads turns but that the love of her body -- as is! -- made our heads spin. I, who struggled so deeply with teeny breasts, have never worn a bra since and now value my boyishness as a gift that I wouldn't trade for the world.
Body issues have been repeatedly brought to the forefront by our muses as time has gone on. Whether it's bombshell model Ashley Smith discussing the disapproval aimed at her bust and gap tooth or the timelessly elegant Adele Mildred revealing that her discomfort with her body disappeared once she left stifling America for England.
In order to dig more deeply into this issue we've declared April Body Image month on SLU. All of our features include magnificent/remarkable women and their relationships with their bodies and how it affects their style and lives. We'll commence with a Round Table composed of Eve, Cory Kennedy, DJs Venus X and Grace Lee, NYCB dancer Megan LeCrone, fashion journalist Nicolette Mason, designer Domonique Echeverria, and Model Alliance founder Sara Ziff. Then we'll premiere Closets about NYU beauty Mattie Barringer, who threw up into trash bags, and timeless supermodel Erin O'Connor, who was picked to pieces by the fashion magazines, even though her extraordinary beauty slashed stale beauty norms. There'll be more: Twitter chats, Facebook talks, and a gut-wrenching article from Lils about the struggles she had with her body growing up.
Obviously, a month can't kill the problem facing females once and for all. But hopefully a month of baloney-free dialogue will lead to a renewed empowerment to take a stand and add an additional crack in our culture's attenuated grip on our bodies and minds.
Elisa & Lily
Video Edited by Maximiliano Gaston Longo & Adaeze Elechi.