Real Talk with Cassie Wegeng

Cassie is an animal trainer and caretaker turned non-profit world saver focused on leading a healthy lifestyle (and eating all the donuts along the way). She’s also one of our newest #AerieREAL faces! Read on to see what makes her #AerieREAL and how her time at the Aerie bra photoshoot encouraged her to be her best self.

CassieWegangWhat workout makes you feel REAL good?

I have been following the “Tone It Up” program for several years now, and I LOVE it!! Tone It Up is a combination of nutrition education and recipes, workouts and community. I’ve met some incredible, supportive women through the Tone It Up community who are like minded and keep me accountable! The workouts are a planned for you, can be done anywhere, and they’re a mix of anything and everything – HIIT, kickboxing, dance cardio, weights, yoga, even meditation. I cannot recommend it enough, as it literally changed my perspective on health and has been a major part of my life. I’m also a sucker for a good beach run.

Do you have any tips for staying motivated?

GREAT question – as this is different for everyone! Motivation will ebb and flow, and that’s ok! Fitness and nutrition is a life long journey, not a shortcut to quick results. Find something that works for YOU and makes you happy. What helps me stay motivated is the feeling I get after I workout. The more you do it, the easier it gets, and eventually it becomes FUN and your body will crave it. You will never, ever regret working out (even if it’s terribly difficult throughout!), and you’ll feel accomplished no matter what.

How has your active lifestyle impacted how you feel about your body?

Leading a healthy lifestyle has proven to me that my body is capable of so much, mentally and physically! A huge part of an active lifestyle to me is the mental component – finding the strength to push through challenges. Our bodies are so much stronger than our brain sometimes. Turning negative self talk around during a workout is a tool I’ve learned to utilize more in my daily life as well! When we treat ourselves and talk to ourselves with love, our bodies love us back and carry us through life’s ups and downs with strength and confidence.IMG_5675_f_1

Tell us your experience on the shoot!

Photoshoot day was quite literally the BEST day ever (ok, wedding steals first place, but you know what I mean). I never wanted it to end! There was so much love, laughter, music, dancing, amazing clothing, inspiring stories and conversation, and friendships made that will last a lifetime. I am so grateful to Aerie for the opportunity to share our stories, and I will forever cherish the memories made throughout this journey.

What makes you #AerieREAL?

I think being #AerieREAL means just being REAL! Social media these days makes it so easy to get wrapped up in trying to be “perfect”. I am so over society’s definition of perfection. I’m 100% trying to prove that perfection is being you through and through, because no one else on the planet can do that. I’m also a big proponent of living a healthy lifestyle and working hard to reach your goals. That’s when I feel my best, which allows me to be the best for those I love!

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Real Talk with Lilly Cepull

This #AerieREAL artist is all sunshine! Lilly Cepull gave us the scoop about her work and what being #AerieREAL means to her. Read on to see why Lilly was inspired to join our latest #AerieREAL bra photoshoot!

 

We love your designs! What inspires your creativity?

Ah, thank you so much!! I feel as if most of my creativity stems from everyday life around me. I get inspired anywhere, and I mean anywhere! I will be out to eat at a restaurant and love the font of the menus, take a pic, and try and draw the font by hand later (I am a complete lettering nerd, I know!!) Or love the way certain colors on buildings go together. I always try to view the world around me with a creative eye and it makes life even more magical. There really is so much beauty everywhere! That being said, I make sure to have my iPad pro with me at all times so that I can sketch an idea out or create a new color palette on the go.

Real Talk with Lilly Cepull

What’s your favorite media to create with? Why?

So my old self would respond with just the good ole pen and paper combo. But my new high tech self would have to say any digital media. I got my iPad pro this past March and it quickly changed the game for me. Although I still recommend to all letterers, and artists in general, that paper and pen (most people would say pencil but I really have the “just go for it” mentality,) is the best way to start. But eventually lugging around pens, sketchbooks, paints, and all the things to every local coffee shop got old. My iPad really allows me to not strain my arm muscles carrying so many supplies and makes creating digital artwork for clients one thousand times easier. Don’t get me wrong, I still do plenty of work on paper, chalkboards, canvases, jackets, etc. but digital work is my jam at the moment!

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

OMG a million things! I have adored Aerie for as long as I can remember. But the main reason why is because growing up I never really saw petite gals modeling. Or REAL gals for that matter. Pictures were always retouched and made picture perfect. I would look at them and be so upset that I was short or that my skin broke out on the daily. I often felt that I was alone and that no other girls struggled with the problems I did. Well, news flash- we are all in this together!! So being a part of this campaign meant the absolute world to me. I want all girls to realize that you are an absolute babe just the way you are! No retouching necessary.

What makes you #AerieREAL?

I am #AerieREAL because I am not afraid to accept myself exactly the way I am. I realize it is so challenging to be a girl nowadays. Everywhere we look we see retouched photos of societies example of the “perfect woman” and we instantly compare ourselves. The never ending cycle of comparing your body or life to models on billboards, girls on Instagram, or the random gals at the grocery store is exhausting. I have been there and done that. But you have to realize that your “flaws” make you, YOU! They tell your story and represent all you’ve been through and await all that is left to come. All of this being said, it is so important to be yourself and never dare apologize for it. Wear no makeup for the Instagram picture- you’re so dang beautiful without it. Sing and dance as much as you want- life is more fun that way. Wear your sweatpants out to go get tacos- because guess what? Ya look GOOD! So I am #AerieREAL because I am unapologetically myself no matter the time or place. There is only one me and there is only one you. So let’s show the world who we REALLY are by keeping it real.

Want to learn more about our newest #AerieREAL photo shoot? Read about it here!

 

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#AerieREAL Talks

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.

And this is what #AerieREAL is all about.

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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.

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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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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 Aysha Emmerson

Aysha Emmerson founded Self.I.E. (Self Inspiration and Empowerment) Camps to help girls in their pre-teen years. Read on to find out what inspired Aysha to become an advocate for empowerment and learn more about the camps that bring girls together at such an important time in their lives.

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What inspired you to create Self.I.E. Camps?

My fervent belief in the powerful strides girls can take when they support one another drove me to create Self.I.E Camps. I experienced this support from inspiring young women double my age when I was hospitalized with anorexia as an eight-year-old. I battled with this life-threatening disorder from ages seven to twelve. The unkind words and actions that were all too common in middle school only made my struggle worse. I watched my peers’ attempts to conform, while wearing my own feelings of not being “good enough.” In high school, as I found my niche and grew a stronger voice, things began to change for me. I realized that I was not alone in my experience of insecurity and isolation. Believing that no other girl should have to hurt like I did—I heard my call to action. I could not find a pre-existing venue to help inspire and empower younger girls using the approach that I felt was needed, so I decided to create my own.

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Tell us about how your camps empower girls and young women & why that’s important to you.

I believe that our uniqueness is what makes us beautiful and I have experienced the pain that comes from struggling to change the body we are born into. I no longer want to live in a culture that perpetuates an unattainable image of beauty. I no longer want to see girls’ and boys’ true selves be degraded by their own low self-esteem, which can lead to any number of serious issues that inhibit an individual’s capacity to reach their potential. I no longer want to feel helpless to a situation that I can help improve. I want everyone to embrace themselves and each other.5 Days_Themes

Self.I.E (Self Inspiration and Empowerment) is a day-camp for girls entering grades 5 and 6. Led by high-school students, the camp includes activities and reflections designed to build a strong sense of self and skills to navigate the pre-teen world. Each day of the camp centers around one of five themes: self-care, self-acceptance, self-expression, self-defence, and self-to-others. The goal is to help participants at a vulnerable age develop a rich appreciation and understanding of themselves, allowing them to build resilience and flourish, while also enabling them to support other girls and give back to their communities. It creates a safe space where girls entering middle school can come to see the value in being themselves and can be given love and support from their peers and positive teen role models, who were in their shoes just a few years earlier. In addition, sharing and role modelling Self.I.E’s five themes helps the camp counselors to better embody these lessons in our own lives, while strengthening their confidence as leaders.

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What would you tell your ten-year-old self?

To my ten-year-old self: you deserve kindness. Surround yourself with people who make you feel good about yourself and who accept you as you are—and if you can’t find them just yet, hold on a little longer—they do exist. Treat yourself as you would treat others. Be kind, be patient, be accepting, and know that it is okay to be confident in who you are. Stop focusing on others’ opinions and focus on what you think of yourself. In the end, that’s all that matters.

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What advice do you have for someone who is struggling?

Find trust. Trust the resilience of life’s little joys. Trust that there are people who care about you and who can help you. Trust what your own body is telling you. Trust that you can and will get through this. Like when you are on the last stretch of a run and all you want to do is quit, physically override any negative thoughts with each step you take—no matter how small. Trust that you and others have crossed a finish line before and can do it again.

Final Reflection

What makes you #AerieREAL?

I am #AerieREAL because I believe our real selves are our best selves. I live each day with the intention of lifting others up and building their self-confidence. I see the world through an accepting lens, recognizing the beauty in everyone and everything. I focus on the things I do control—who I am and how I treat others—rather than the way I look or what others think of me. I recognize that I will always have my flaws and challenges but that these are an important part of the real me and the person I am becoming. By using my voice and personal story I hope to inspire and support others, while helping to bring about social change.

 

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