Real Talk With Danielle Candray

Danielle is an advocate and mentor for those with alopecia, a condition in which hair is lost from some or all areas of the body. She’s also a camp counselor with the National Alopecia Areata Foundation and one of the stars of our latest #AerieREAL bra photoshoot. Read on to see how the NAAF has impacted Danielle’s life and what makes her #AerieREAL!

Real Talk With Danielle Candrey

How has alopecia impacted your life?

I’ve had Alopecia since I was 2 and a half and I’m now 19 years old. Growing up with it was extremely difficult for me because kids made fun of me for years. I didn’t know anyone who had Alopecia so that caused me to feel isolated.When I was about 14, I attended an Alopecia conference hosted by the National Alopecia Areata Foundation (NAAF) and it changed my life. I met amazing people who were just like me and the conference helped me get the courage to wear my wig less. I’ve gone to the conference every year since, so about six years and I have completely transformed. I made alopecia become something positive that could benefit me. I’ve met the most amazing people through alopecia and I have been given the opportunity to inspire other alopecians to embrace/accept themselves which is incredibly rewarding.

What would you like to share with those who are not familiar with alopecia? 

For those who are not familiar with alopecia, we are not sick. Most people assume that we are very sick and feel the need to treat us differently. Alopecia is not life threatening but is life altering. Alopecia is an auto-immune disease that causes the immune system to attack our hair follicles thus causing hair loss. There are different types of alopecia, I have alopecia areata which means my hair grows/falls out in patches. If you see someone who you think might have Alopecia, try not to stare too much, it makes some of us a bit uncomfortable. Everyone deals with their alopecia differently. Some are very open about it and like to talk about it like myself but some are still shy about it and feel embarrassed when asked questions. My tip for when meeting someone new who has alopecia would be to wait to ask questions until they mention their aloepcia themselves!Real Talk With Danielle Candrey

What’s one of your proudest moments?  

My proudest moment just happened in late June! I was working as a kid’s camp counselor for the NAAF Conference. My group started out with about 4 teenage girl campers but by the end of the conference, I ended up with 12 girls. I guess our table was the popular table! Throughout the conference, I talked to some of the girls and gave them advice, shared my experiences with alopecia, and even encouraged a few off them to take off their wig/hat! On the last day of the conference I was thanked by many of the girls’ parents because I helped their daughters come out of their shells and the girls were grateful that I was their camp counselor. Although I was there to make the conference a great experience for them, I believe they made my experience unforgettable and I thank them for that. So yeah, this past NAAF conference as a camp counselor was my proudest moment!

What makes you #AerieREAL?

I’m #AerieREAL because I’m not letting my alopecia or weight prevent me from doing the things I love!

The beauty about #AerieREAL is that it doesn’t mean we are “perfect” or love every inch of ourselves every day. To me, it means that it’s okay to have bad days because that’s what makes us human and real. As long as we remember to accept ourselves the way we are and treat our bodies with respect, then we can all be #AerieREAL.

 

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Real Talk With Grace Ross

Grace is a student, aspiring cosmetic scientist and #AerieREAL! She’s heading back to school at Pace University in NYC after a summer of sharing the #AerieREAL love at our bra photoshoot. Read on to see her tips for shining at school and what #AerieREAL means to her.

Real Talk With Grace Ross

What made you want to join this #AerieREAL bra photoshoot?

Aerie is at the forefront of a great wave of change. This campaign is about being your genuine self and loving every piece of who you are. This campaign is for anyone who ever thought their insecurities made them any less worthy of self love. Aerie is representing every girl and giving them role models that actually look like them. They show case beauty at every angle and every size. I wanted to be a part of this campaign because Aerie actually cares about spreading a positive image that represents everyone. Aerie is genuine and really REAL about portraying people as they are! I feel so honored to be one of these faces and be a part something so inspirational and empowering.Real Talk With Grace Ross

What tips do you have for your other students heading back to school this week?

My advice would be to get out of your comfort zone and experience new things. College is your time to be your most authentic self and explore areas of your own personality independently. Take time to focus on your own mental and physical health and realign yourself to manage stress. Getting through school is all about balance. Balancing responsibilities, work, friends, and family can be a lot to take on. Try to find your own balance and see what works for you. Also, never pay full price for text books! Trust. With enough dedication, you can find a free pdf, a used copy, or a rental for way less.

What is your dream job after graduation?

My dream job is to be an entrepreneur and market my own cosmetic line. I am working on a Chemistry degree and after I graduate I am want to be a cosmetic scientist. Once I kickstart my brand, I will be able to develop unique and fun makeup and skincare. My creative mind, love of science, and passion for discovery will fuel my dream and make it a reality.

Real Talk With Grace RossWhat makes you #AerieREAL?

Being real with myself is what makes me #AerieREAL. Taking a step back and realizing that my reflection has been warped by someone else’s ideas and constructs about beauty. Seeing my feelings and emotions not as weakness, but as the strongest part of who I am. Forming my own definitions and erasing every negative perception I have about myself. Allowing my inner beauty to shine through and sharing that light with everyone. A candle doesn’t lose anything by lighting another candle, it just spreads more light. That’s real, that’s beauty.

 

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Real Talk with Evelyn Riddell

Evie is a history student at the University of Toronto, an active member of the type one diabetes community, and she just so happens to be fearless wearing a bra in front of a camera! Read on for more of her story and why she wanted to join our latest #AerieREAL photoshoot.

EvelynRidell

What made you want to join this #AerieREAL bra photoshoot?

Aerie has been my favourite store for many years. I started out with wearing their clothes, and then ended up loving their message. I often looked at their photos in store and on social media, wondering if I could ever be a part of their movement, but at first I thought my Type One Diabetes would somehow disqualify me. After all, I had never seen anyone like myself represented before. I had faith, however, that if any store could change this, it would be Aerie! When I saw the contest opportunity on their Instagram, I decided to take a chance and apply. I hoped that I would be given the opportunity to not only make my dream come true, but to represent all Type One diabetics and give them a voice.

You’re on our site rocking a bra and an insulin pump, and people everywhere (us included!) are so inspired by you. How does it feel to represent the diabetic community?  

It has been absolutely surreal! When I was diagnosed, one of the first things I noticed was how incredibly supportive the Type One community is. From the very beginning I have been an active member of this community, and I am forever grateful for the lessons, friends and opportunities it has given me. It feels amazing to be giving back, and be representing Type Ones within the #AerieREAL movement. I’ve heard from countless individuals saying how this campaign is the first time they’ve seen themselves represented in the media. I have received messages from tweens, teens, adults, and parents of young children. Many individuals have even sent me photos wearing their Continuous Glucose Monitors [CGM] or insulin pumps visibly for the first time. My hope is that one day soon it won’t be a single campaign representing the community, but Type One representation will be so normalized that we’ll see devices worn confidently, and blood sugar checks done proudly everywhere… until there’s a cure!!

Have you seen representation of people with diabetes in the media before? How has it (or the lack of it) affected you?

The only time I see Type One representation in the media is when I’m actively looking for it. That’s why the type one community is so important, because it provides us with examples of individuals thriving and proudly living with Type One Diabetes. Without these, there really isn’t representation within “mainstream” media. There is a narrative of general “diabetes” within advertising, which leads to many misunderstandings about the differences between Type One and Type Two diabetes. Because of this incomplete narrative I have received many rude or ignorant comments about my personal health. I have been subjected to comments from both my peers and strangers, ranging from my eating habits to their reasons for my diagnosis, and even my body type. This was not easy to deal with as a 12 year old girl already struggling with self-confidence and body positivity. This is why representation of Type One Diabetes is so important, because it can educate people and help breakdown harmful misconceptions. I know that this campaign would have meant the world to a me at 12 years old, and I hope that it will mean just as much to everyone else.BTS2_Carousel_Bras_2_2

Tell us about your experience on the shoot!

The shoot was absolutely incredible! One of the most empowering, exciting and fulfilling days of my life! Every single person on set genuinely believes in Aerie’s message. Their first priority was making sure all the models felt comfortable and safe. Wearing just a bra and underwear can be intimidating, especially with flashing lights and cameras pointed at you. This being said, I never felt anything other than comfortable and was surprised how natural it all felt. As someone with Type One diabetes, Aerie made sure there was always food in case I went low, and were all eager to learn more about how my devices worked. I arrived beyond excited yet very nervous, and by the end of the day, left feeling like I had a new family.

What makes you #AerieREAL?

I’m not perfect, far from it, but I’m trying my best! I’m real about this, and I want people to know it! When it comes to my Type One Diabetes, I don’t want to pretend that it’s not difficult. Growing up I was always a perfectionist, but type one has helped teach me that there is no such thing as “perfect”. Having a chronic illness means learning to accept both the highs and the lows, and being content with knowing you’re trying your best. I wear my insulin pump and CGM proudly, because without it I can’t grow, mature and live the life I want to.

 

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Real Talk With Sarah Ribble

Not only does Sarah Ribble design Aerie bras, she rocked them in our latest #AerieREAL photoshoot! Find out why Sarah wanted to join the shoot and how #AerieREAL has influenced her work here at Aerie.

Real Talk With Sarah Ribble

Why did you want to be a part of this #AerieREAL bra photoshoot?

I wanted to show that Aerie bras are made by real women for real women! In the design office, we talk a lot about body positivity and how to make our customers feel empowered, but I experience self-doubt and insecurity as much as the next person. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little nervous about this photoshoot. I don’t make a habit of dancing around in my underwear in front of cameras! But I had such an amazing time and everyone on set was so encouraging and uplifting. I hope that by participating in this campaign I’ll inspire other women to love and appreciate their bodies as much as I’ve come to love and appreciate my own.

Real Talk With Sarah RibbleHas #AerieREAL influenced your bra designs?

Absolutely! #AerieREAL is all about comfort! There’s nothing worse than an uncomfortable bra. We’ve all experienced a too-tight band, a pokey underwire, or a strap that digs in. At Aerie, we design bras that our customers will love to wear! For example, the idea behind our Real Me bra collection was that the bras should feel “painted on” – almost like a second skin. Every time I design a bra I ask myself, “Is it comfortable? Is it functional? Is it beautiful?” An Aerie bra has to be all three!

Real Talk With Sarah Ribble

What is your favorite bra from the new collections?

My favorite bra is the Real Sunnie Lightly Lined Wireless. It’s such an effortless style!

How does that bra make you feel?

The Real Sunnie Lightly Lined Wireless bra makes me feel so confident! I truly love this bra ❤ It supports me all day, but I honestly forget that I’m wearing it – it’s so comfy!

What makes you #AerieREAL?

I think #AerieREAL means loving the things about yourself that other people might not. Loving and proudly displaying anything that “society” tells us to be ashamed of. For me, that means freckles, cellulite, stretch marks, etc. These things are a part of who we are and we should embrace them whole-heartedly. Loving your imperfections… That’s #AerieREAL.

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Go behind the scenes on our latest #AerieREAL photoshoot!

We asked: Want to wear bras that make you feel real good? You said: YES!

Go behind the scenes on our latest #AerieREAL photoshoot!Our newest #AerieREAL faces came from all across the country (and Canada!) for a bra photoshoot unlike any we’ve ever done. Over 10 days of shooting, 10 groups of women came together to shine and share their stories.

Go behind the scenes on our latest #AerieREAL photoshoot!And this is what #AerieREAL is all about. YOU! In our all-new bras. Feeling real good.

Go behind the scenes on our latest #AerieREAL photoshoot!“Everywhere you have women just, it seems, tearing each other down. But this whole experience has been nothing but positive and encouraging. We can celebrate things about each other that we love and admire.” –Anna

Go behind the scenes on our latest #AerieREAL photoshoot!Every day started with some natural beauty love from Patty and Leah, our amazing hair and makeup artists. These ladies didn’t stay behind the scenes the whole time—they both joined the photoshoot!

Go behind the scenes on our latest #AerieREAL photoshoot!#AerieREAL is more of a mindset than anything. It’s feeling comfortable in your own skin and realizing that your flaws aren’t really negative things. They’re things that make you special, they’re things that make you an individual. #AerieREAL is just that mindset, just radiating through.” –Rachel (feeling real good with her sister Shannon!)

Go behind the scenes on our latest #AerieREAL photoshoot!Photographers Andrew and Alex shot each woman in multiple outfits and most importantly… bras that they feel real good in.

Go behind the scenes on our latest #AerieREAL photoshoot!You can find every single person from our photoshoot rocking Aerie bras proudly at Aerie.com, in Aerie stores and on social media.

Go behind the scenes on our latest #AerieREAL photoshoot!“For me, #AerieREAL is just completely loving yourself and finally being able to accept who you really are. Because your body loves you. And every cell in your body is working to take care of you every single day, so you need to love it back. Everything that you are, all your stretch marks, all your scars, are there for a reason.” –Grace

Go behind the scenes on our latest #AerieREAL photoshoot!This photoshoot wasn’t just about the images— each person had so much #AerieREAL love to share. Every group did their own Real Talk, sharing their advice for other women, what the experience of the shoot was like, their thoughts on change and so much more. Stay tuned for our Real Talk series on Instagram.

Go behind the scenes on our latest #AerieREAL photoshoot!A staple of the shoot—the couch of love! Each person signed it and shared their words of inspiration.

Go behind the scenes on our latest #AerieREAL photoshoot!Pretty soon, it was all filled up with LOTS of #AerieREAL inspo.

Go behind the scenes on our latest #AerieREAL photoshoot!You can see all of these amazing women at Aerie.com and in stores now! We’ll be sharing lots from our photoshoot all month long.

Go behind the scenes on our latest #AerieREAL photoshoot!

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Real Talk With Kristin Wong

For her Make-A-Wish experience, Kristin Wong wanted to join the #AerieREAL campaign. We were SO honored to welcome her, celebrate her and make her wish come true!

Your wish through The Make-A-Wish Foundation was to join the #AerieREAL campaign. Why did you choose Aerie? And what do you hope comes from this experience?

I think I was able to use my Make-A-Wish in a way that most Wish Kids aren’t able to because I’m a lot older than most of them. The demographic of Make-A-Wish Kids are usually much younger, hence why most of the wishes are to go to Disney World or on a trip to a different country. However, I recognized the significance of how my wish could provide me with a once in a lifetime opportunity and because of that, I wanted to do something that money truly couldn’t buy. I also wanted to do something that wouldn’t only make me happy and help me grow, but help the greater community as well. I remembered just a few months ago when YouthLine, the teen to teen suicide/ crisis hotline I volunteer at, talked about just how many people reach out to YouthLine. The teens that contact YouthLine call or text in because they feel they have no one else to talk to or feel that no one else will understand what they’re going through. In comparison to the 1000 contacts we had back in 2013, last year we had over 12000, which just goes to show how many teens have needed and still need this resource for emotional support and help with mental health.

I chose Aerie because I knew they were national partners with the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), and eating disorders are a type of mental illness and something we deal with all the time on YouthLine. My wish was to use my wish to promote YouthLine to more teens across the nation, and I thought that because they already supported NEDA, there’d be no better company to better spread the word about YouthLine than Aerie. Furthermore, YouthLine and Aerie have a shared demographic and ultimately spread the same message: learn to love and take care of yourself. I can’t think of a better way to have used my wish, and I truly hope that more teens will learn about YouthLine through Aerie and call in for support.

Real Talk With Kristin Wong

How did you begin your journey with YouthLine?

Sophomore year, my health teacher briefly mentioned YouthLine during the Depression/Suicide unit and then never talked about it again, so I went into my counselor’s office to learn more about what the organization was. A few months later, I applied and went to training. I think I was most intrigued by the type of help you have to provide at YouthLine. It’s different from volunteering at a food bank or playing piano at a senior center — there’s literally a life and death risk with many of the contacts, and the service you provide is so much more intimate and personal. The person calling in trusts you with highly confidential information that they’re afraid to tell anyone else, so you’re truly held responsible for every aspect of your words and actions.

Another reason I was drawn to YouthLine was because I didn’t quite understand the concept of mental health and just how important it was. I used to be someone that prioritized physical health over mental health; I was a part of the stigma against speaking out about mental health issues. For many years, I actually believed that having a mental illness was a luxury; there are people in this world that are starving, yet you’re choosing to not eat?

Fortunately, now I’ve learned now that being able to care for your own mental health and focusing in on self-care goes hand in hand with taking care of your physical health. It’s clear to me now that these mental illnesses aren’t a choice, and I’m forever grateful to have had my experiences with YouthLine terminate the ignorance that I once had and that millions of people still have.

What advice do you have for someone struggling with something in their life?

DO NOT BE AFRAID TO REACH OUT. TALK ABOUT IT. You need to understand that it’s okay to talk about these things in the same way that it’s okay to talk about physical health. If you break your bone, you talk to your doctor, and though it may take some time, that bone will eventually heal. Mental health is the exact same way; YOU MUST talk about these things because even if it may not be physical, it is still a part of you that is injured and deserves attention.

Though the circumstances of what you may be going through seem impossible and that no one will understand, there are still so many people in this world that are willing to listen to what you have to tell them, whether it’s someone you know and love, or a complete stranger from across the nation.

Another thing to not forget is that in spite of all of this stress and pressure you’re feeling right now, you cannot forget to take care of yourself. Sometimes when you’re caught up in a myriad of emotions, the stress and fear builds up to a point where you forget to do things such as get adequate amounts of food, water, and rest. You stop doing the things that you love and that relax you; you can’t forget to do these things, whether it’s taking time out of your night to take a bubble bath, playing your guitar, coloring in an adult coloring book, or simply just watching your favorite TV show. You should always talk to someone about how you’re feeling when you’re going through a struggle, but don’t forget that it’s also okay to take a step back, distract yourself from the reality of what’s going on, and take care of yourself when these struggles become too much to properly and safely manage.

If you’re a teenager who feels lost and has no support from the people you’re surrounded by, please go to oregonyouthline.org. Call 877-978-8491. Text “teen2teen,” to 839863. Reach out, and I guarantee that the volunteers at YouthLine will listen and support you so that you feel heard.

Real Talk With Kristin WongHow are you a role model to others?

I hope that I appear as a role model to others through my perseverance. When I first had cancer, the doctors told me that most kids take an extra year off of school and have to graduate a year late because it’s nearly impossible to stay on top of school work, especially for high school students. However, in spite of doing chemo and facing all of the side effects, I still worked hard to finish all of my work in time to graduate with the Class of 2018. During my time in treatment, I also continued to go to YouthLine as often as possible because when you have something that you’re genuinely passionate about, there really is nothing that can prevent you from doing it.

Passions and perseverance aside, I think all it takes to be a good role model is to remember that everyone is human– you need to treat everyone in the same way you would want to be treated. I try my best to not to exclude anyone, and I always find ways to show others that I care and that I’m thinking of them. I emphasize how important it is to take care of yourself and not be ashamed of who you are. I hope people perceive me as altruistic, ambitious, and vigilant because I consciously make all of my decisions so that they can inspire someone else to do something similar and treat others the same way. I want to be a part of the origin for a young mind to begin the process of loving themselves, allowing them to be unafraid to accept who they truly are, and letting it shine to the rest of world.

A role model leads, but also listens. A role model has strong opinions, but is not ignorant to new and different perspectives. A role model is unafraid to be independent and empowering, but is not so far out of reach that those that aspire to be like her find her unapproachable or intimidating. A role model leads by example to not only inspire others, but to inspirit herself as well.

Real Talk With Kristin Wong

#AerieREAL is about standing together and feeling confident and comfortable in your own skin. How do you personally identify with that message?

            One thing that I’ll never forget is back in 2014, I was told by another girl that she hated me because I was “too Asian,” as if embracing the race I was born in to was something to be ashamed of. This was especially shocking to hear because the girl that told me this was Asian as well. A few months later, this same exact girl told me that she wished she was white because being Asian automatically meant that you could never be beautiful.

The most frightening thing was that I understood the shame that came with being Asian American. I live in a primarily white city, and I go to a school where I don’t have a single teacher (besides the Chinese language teacher) that looks like me. Some teachers I’ve had in the past have told me that they have higher expectations for me because they know my parents are stricter (in spite of never having met my parents), and in 7th grade, a boy asked me if I was “a real Asian” because I didn’t have monolids. An even more repulsive experience was just a few months ago, I was being interviewed for a college by a white cis male who took not more than ten seconds to look over my resume and said, “I hate to break it to you, but you really aren’t helping yourself stick out from the rest of your people.”

Although there’s never been a point in my life where I’ve been embarrassed to be Asian and Chinese, there have been times where I’ve felt insecure about it, especially in public situations. For example, I’ve had people at school laugh because every photo I open on Snapchat is from an Asian friend (even though it’s completely ridiculous because they only receives photos from other white students). Other times, I’ll tell my family to be quiet in restaurants because of the stereotype that the Chinese are ill-behaved in public places and as tourists.

Up until last year, at the point where I was halfway through chemotherapy, I was relatively ashamed to be Asian, and this contempt seemed to be innate. All of these years, because of all of the stereotypes and blanketed racism I’ve faced, I wasn’t 100% proud to be who I am or what I look like. The wake up call for me was that during chemo, I realized that in a world where there are millions of problems that are unavoidable (such as getting life threatening diseases), you can’t oppress yourself even more by being discontent with what you are born with.

I think a lot of this acceptance of racism and widely familiar shame among people of color, specifically Asians in this case, is unquestionably due to the lack of Asian representation politics and media. What we see in media greatly determines how we establish our sense of self and our value of self, and when we don’t see ourselves in what the media displays, we feel that there is something wrong with us that causes there to be underrepresentation of people that are like us. The girl that I mentioned at the start is a perfect example of someone that, because of the stigma surrounding who she is, is so insecure that she openly admits to hating someone that truly embraces who they know they’re meant to be. She was afraid of the fact that she couldn’t see herself in me; even though we looked comparable on the outside, she didn’t feel the same confidence or pride in herself to the same degree that I did. Because of this, she aggressively acted out, perhaps because the resentment towards her self-identity was so substantial that she couldn’t understand how anyone else could be proud of what she was also supposed to be.

Rather than tearing each other down, we should be standing together as a collective to battle against this stigma (and blatant racism) that so many of us face. It’s important to be your own, self-made version of success. If you’re not proud or confident in who you are and what you do, that means you’re spending all of your energy being someone you’re really not, which is tremendously tiresome and unsatisfying. Not understanding how imperative self-love and self-care is is detrimental to your mental health, which in turn, destroys your physical health as well. Just like how it’s important to talk about these racial issues, it’s important to talk about your mental health as well. These two issues overlap in demographics, where many mental health issues derive from discontent with self-image.

Share your experiences with others and don’t be afraid to criticize or call others out for being disrespectful to who you are meant to be. No one should feel ashamed to be the way that they are. Embracing who you are is #AerieREAL; being #AerieREAL is unapologetically being yourself.

Real Talk With Kristin Wong

 

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