This Amazing Body-Positive Campaign Uses Fashion Models For The Best Reason

by Anna Menta

Let's face it: When someone says "fashion model," the first thing we picture is a tall, skinny white girl.

That's the way we've been socialized to think of beauty. But this week, Instagram is challenging that beauty norm with a new campaign, #RunwayForAll.

This week-long campaign intends to celebrate diversity in the fashion world.

Each day this week, Instagram is showcasing a different model "who is redefining industry standards and making sure there's room on the #RunwayForAll."

The first model featured was Mama Cax, who had her leg amputated when she was a teenager.

The caption reads,

'#RunwayForAll means any teenager feels represented when they open a magazine or watch a fashion show,' says Mama Cax (@caxmee). Mama grew up in Haiti, lives in New York City and never aspired to be a model — 'not only because there were very few dark models on magazine covers but also because I grew up with very little knowledge of the fashion industry,' she says. 'Eight years ago, after getting my leg amputated, the idea of being a model was even more far-fetched.' Today, Mama is modeling and doing other things that she was told there was no audience for, like sharing tips for traveling as a black female amputee. 'The majority of humans do not look like the mainstream idea of beauty,' she says. 'One of the greatest barriers is not belonging. Through modeling I hope to show that beauty does not always wear a size zero and beauty does not always walk on two limbs.'

The Haitian model said she wanted to show beauty does not have to look like a stereotypical idea of a fashion model.

Shaun Ross, who started modeling 10 years ago as the only male model of color with albinism, was featured next.

The caption reads,

'#RunwayForAll is a world where everyone is treated the same,' says Shaun Ross (@shaundross). When he started modeling nearly a decade ago, Shaun was the only male model of color with albinism. 'I remember when I first entered the industry all I saw were models that looked the same,' he says. 'Now here we are almost 10 years later, and I see the choice I've made has helped the industry to see beauty in many ways, such as casting models and rising icons like @winnieharlow, @jilly_peppa and more to help lead the fight with me to diversity.' When he started, Shaun was one of a few openly gay models in the industry. 'Agents always told male models to be masculine, but that was never the case for me. I never wanted to hide my sexuality,' he says. 'I'd rather be myself.'

Shaun also spoke on being one of the few openly gay models in the industry.

Next up was Clémentine Desseaux, a plus-size model who grew up in France.

The caption reads,

'#RunwayforAll is not so much about what we look like anymore but more about what we represent,' says Clémentine Desseaux (@bonjourclem), who grew up in France. 'I was always way bigger and taller than everyone when I was growing up, and I had those freckles,' she says. 'When I saw the first plus models out there, I started thinking about trying it out. At that point I had no idea it would take me to where I am now.' Three years ago, Clementine moved to New York with $2,000 to her name and never looked back. 'My size and look were in the way of me feeling invincible when I was young,' she says. 'I hope I was the last generation of women to think like that. Role model is the new top model.'

Clémentine said she hopes the generations of women that come after her won't have to deal with the same body image issues she did.

The most recent model to be featured was Londone Myers, a model from New York City who embraces her natural hair.

The caption reads,

'#RunwayForAll means living in a world without color,' says Londone Myers (@londonemyers), who is from Georgia and lives in New York City. 'Growing up, it was so hard to relate to the Cindy Crawfords and Christy Turlingtons,' she says. 'It's great to no longer see so many models of color with straightened hair. Can you imagine if white models were made to perm their hair to achieve a completely different texture for every single shoot? Finally, society is embracing us for how we are naturally.' Londone has come a long way from her days of being bullied in school. 'I was super insecure about my wide-set, mostly buck teeth,' she says. '@aggy_deyn and @lindseywixson taught me to just be myself. A model should be more of a force than a person.'

Londone opened up about insecurities many of us can relate to.

Everything about this campaign is so positive and empowering. I for one can't wait to see who Instagram features tomorrow!

Citations: Instagram's New #RunwayForAll Campaign Is Truly Brilliant (ELLE)