AE X IT GETS BETTER GUEST POST: DANIELLE BORJA, AE ASSOCIATE

For the fourth year in a row, AE is proud to support the It Gets Better Project by donating 100% of sales of our annual Pride collection to the nonprofit, which uplifts, empowers, and connects LGBTQ+ youth around the world. But inclusivity starts from the inside out, which is why we’re taking this opportunity to reflect on what equality, individuality, and a better future mean to us.

 We kicked off our series of guest posts about love, acceptance, and how it really DOES get better with our Global Brand President, Chad Kessler, and have followed up with posts from associates across the country. Now, AE associate Danielle in Hawaii shares the best advice she ever received: love yourself before you love anyone else.

 

SHOP WOMEN’S PRIDE    |    SHOP MEN’S PRIDE

DANIELLE BORJA

Aerie Selling Manager in Hawaii

The best advice I was ever given was given to me in high school. I was going through a transition phase where I wasn’t sure who I wanted to be and more so who I wanted to be with. While my friends were girls dating guys or guys dating girls, there were few people in my school who actually stepped out to be exactly who they wanted to be. I didn’t know a lot of girls who liked girls back then. Or guys who liked guys.

I was speaking to a teacher one day and he told me to just love myself before I love anyone else. And when I choose to love someone, that I would make that decision based off of how I feel, and not on what everyone else has to say. He told me that being gay was just a label. It doesn’t matter who you choose to love, it just matters how they love you. As long as you are happy and you are 100% loving yourself, there is no reason to be fearful of being exactly what you are.

 

 

If you are gay or if you are straight, it doesn’t matter. Everybody in this world is equal. Everybody in this world deserves love. That is the best advice that I was given.

And since that day, I have never let that go. I have gone through ups and downs and at the end of my journey I have found my wife.

So, no matter who you are, make sure you are always loving yourself. Because you deserve it.

Everyone has a story to tell. What’s yours? Share it with #ItGetsBetter @americaneagle to show your support and inspire LGBTQ+ youth around the world!

 

 

 

Your old jeans are making the world a better place

AE jeans recycling program animationHERE’S WHAT 17K POUNDS OF RECYCLED DENIM LOOKS LIKE

When it came to stepping up this past Earth Day to help reduce clothing waste, the AE fam came through in a MAJOR way. Between the months of April and June alone, you donated more than 17,600 pieces of denim. That’s HUGE. Like, 17 thousand pounds huge. Or 9 tons huge. Or a dozen schoolbuses… you get the idea.

 

Thank you for going above and beyond to bring in your old jeans and help divert so much denim from landfills. Your recycled jeans will be broken down and turned into housing insulation in partnership with Cotton’s Blue Jeans Go Green™ program to be used in building efforts across the country. Here’s a look at what they’ve been able to accomplish so far:

 

Diverted over 1,230 tons of textile waste – the weight of nearly 615 cars.

 

 

Produced nearly 4.83 million square feet of UltraTouch™ Denim Insulation from recycled denim – enough to line 83 football fields

 

 

Provided enough insulation to various Habitat for Humanity affiliates across the U.S. to insulate over 690 Habitat for Humanity homes. (Based on a 1,000 square foot house)

 

 

Blue Jeans Go Green™ is a trademark of Cotton Incorporated.

 

 

 

WE COULDN’T BE PROUDER OF YOU: THE PRIDE WRAP-UP

Pride Month is about love, acceptance, and building a better future. Which is why, for the past four years, we’ve been proud to support the It Gets Better Project by donating 100% of sales of our annual Pride collection to the nonprofit, which uplifts, empowers, and connects LGBTQ+ youth around the world.

And this year, we’re even prouder than usual.

Why?

Because this year, for the first time ever, we opened up donations to customers so YOU could contribute at check out. And wow, did you contribute.

@sunflxwerbxy

In the U.S., customers donated more than $800,000, and in Canada, customers gave more than $100,000. That means that in TOTAL, we were able to raise more than $1.2 million for the It Gets Better Project through this year’s Pride campaign. Yup, over a million bucks, making a difference.

THAT’S ALL YOU.

@brcrawford1999 @allison.beauregard

Ready for an even bigger number? Over the past four years – through YOUR generosity – we’ve been able to donate more than $2 million to help It Gets Better amplify stories of hope and encouragement all over the world.

@ahdeesh @drewbikscube1 @envy_the_siren @haleycrespo

We try to do our part to promote those stories, too. This year we featured guest posts on our blog about how it really DOES get better from AE associates around the country, including our Global Brand President, a merchandising manager in Texas, and a distribution center supervisor in Kansas.

We also co-hosted a Pride panel with Aerie at our Union Square store in NYC during World Pride, featuring words of inspiration from actor and AerieReal Role Model Samira Wiley, actor Nico Tortorella, AExME Council member Edith Cruz, and DJs (and sisters!) Coco and Breezy, plus a dance party with DJ Tiff McFierce.

@tyler_tyty @hunni_imhome
@valmarss
@mateoesquivelg

This year’s Pride commemorated the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots. In the past 50 years, we’ve seen incredible strides for LGBTQ+ rights, but there’s still work to be done.

@shopsalatte @vickybv_

Thank you for continuing to do that work with us.

 

 

 

AE X IT GETS BETTER GUEST POST: JACOBY FREEMAN, AE ASSOCIATE

For the fourth year in a row, AE is proud to support the It Gets Better Project by donating 100% of sales of our annual Pride collection to the nonprofit, which uplifts, empowers, and connects LGBTQ+ youth around the world. But inclusivity starts from the inside out, which is why we’re taking this opportunity to reflect on what equality, individuality, and a better future mean to us.

We kicked off our series of guest posts about love, acceptance, and how it really DOES get better with our Global Brand President, Chad Kessler, and have followed up with posts from associates across the country. Now, Jacoby Freeman, an AE associate in Mesquite, TX, shares his thoughts on being your true self.

 

SHOP WOMEN’S PRIDE    |    SHOP MEN’S PRIDE

JACOBY FREEMAN

Merchandising Manager in Mesquite, TX

My name is Jacoby Freeman and I’m a merchandising manager in Mesquite, TX. I’ve been with AE about 6 1/2 years now. I actually started as a sales associate in Shreveport, LA and just moved to Texas about 8 months ago.

One thing I love about AE is their support for every type of person. I’ve very excited this year that every store has the Pride theme. It honestly makes me feel very proud to work for a company such as AE with their support of the LGBTQ+ community.

JACOBY FREEMAN

With the focus on the Pride collection being It Gets Better, I would tell my younger self to believe with every fiber of my being that it really does get better. Because it’s 100% the truth. I wish I would have known how the amazing people around you will support you with all their heart. They don’t see you as anything else but your true self and that means everything in the world.

Everyone has a story to tell. What’s yours? Share it with #ItGetsBetter @americaneagle to show your support and inspire LGBTQ+ youth around the world!

 

 

 

AE X IT GETS BETTER GUEST POST: ALLISON ADAMS, AE ASSOCIATE

For the fourth year in a row, AE is proud to support the It Gets Better Project by donating 100% of sales of our annual Pride collection to the nonprofit, which uplifts, empowers, and connects LGBTQ+ youth around the world. But inclusivity starts from the inside out, which is why we’re taking this opportunity to reflect on what equality, individuality, and a better future mean to us.

 We kicked off our series of guest posts about love, acceptance, and how it really DOES get better with our Global Brand President, Chad Kessler, and followed up with post from Nate Christopher and Maple Chen. Now Allison Adams, a staff supervisor in Colorado, shares how she’s gone from feeling confused and alone… to feeling the rainbow love!

 

SHOP WOMEN’S PRIDE    |    SHOP MEN’S PRIDE

ALLISON ADAMS

Staff Supervisor at AE Factory Store in Colorado Mills, Colorado

My name is Allison and I’m a Staff Supervisor at American Eagle. I’ve been with the company for eight months, and I’m absolutely loving it.

I’ve worked in places before where I felt very constricted when it came to being me, and it was always a struggle for me. I remember visiting an AE store in 2014 and buying one of the Pride collection tank tops because I was so excited to see a store have something that seemed to celebrate me for me.

I really love that AE has partnered with the It Gets Better project. I remember first coming to terms with being gay and feeling so confused and alone, and I definitely wouldn’t want the kids of today and tomorrow to also have to feel that. Thank you, American Eagle, for taking a stand and showering us with rainbow love!

Everyone has a story to tell. What’s yours? Share it with #ItGetsBetter @americaneagle to show your support and inspire LGBTQ+ youth around the world!

 

 

 

AE X IT GETS BETTER GUEST POST: MAPLE CHEN, AE ASSOCIATE

For the fourth year in a row, AE is proud to support the It Gets Better Project by donating 100% of sales of our annual Pride collection to the nonprofit, which uplifts, empowers, and connects LGBTQ+ youth around the world. But inclusivity starts from the inside out, which is why we’re taking this opportunity to reflect on what equality, individuality, and a better future mean to us.

We kicked off our series of guest posts about love, acceptance, and how it really DOES get better with our Global Brand President, Chad Kessler, and followed up with a post from Nate Christopher about finding love through loving yourself. Now Maple Chen, a merchant at our Pittsburgh corporate campus, shares her story about using her voice to help others feed heard.

 

SHOP WOMEN’S PRIDE    |    SHOP MEN’S PRIDE

MAPLE CHEN

Associate Merchant, Women’s Jeans

I wasn’t one of those kids who “just knew” from a young age that they were different. It took me until college to figure out that I wasn’t straight, and another two years from there to feel comfortable enough to talk to anyone besides my closest friends about it. One of the reasons it took me so long to realize was that there was very little representation in mainstream media, and what I did see was specific to gay men – maybe I couldn’t completely relate to Ross and Rachel, but I also didn’t feel a kinship with Neil Patrick Harris.

The fact that AE has a Pride collection and gives to charities supporting LGBTQ+ youth is a reminder to me of how far we have come in terms of visibility. It’s a huge step from debating same-sex marriage in my ninth-grade government class to being part of a huge brand like AE that is celebrating people like me.

Maple Chen

I’m proud to be part of a company that understands how important it is to make LGBTQ+ kids feel understood, and I hope I can inspire people just by living my life authentically and speaking my truth.

To anyone reading this who feels like people just don’t get it: We see you, we were you, and we made it. Find the people who make you feel like you can be yourself unapologetically, and then use your voice to stand up and help others feel the same.

Everyone has a story to tell. What’s yours? Share it with #ItGetsBetter @americaneagle to show your support and inspire LGBTQ+ youth around the world!