Behind the Scenes: Aerie Back to School 2015

Real friends. Real laughs. Real strong. Real love. Real now. #BackToREAL

You still have a couple months to soak up the summer sun, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get in gear for Back To School! This year, our collection is all about heading back to real life. Whether reality for you is a heavy course load next semester or coming back from vacation and returning to the rise and grind of a 40-hour work week, one thing’s for sure. We’ll get you up and running and back to reality in no time.

Take a behind-the-scenes look below at our Back To School photoshoot featuring so many new faves from the collection!

Behind the Scenes: Aerie Back to School 2015

Real cozy. We shot Back To School at the dreamiest NYC loft. Behind the Scenes: Aerie Back to School 2015Real style! Aerie girls @SakuraHeffron and @CourtneyJamesCJ and our Stylist @ErinCRittling on location.
Behind the Scenes: Aerie Back to School 2015

Real views. This roof made for some our fave shots!

Behind the Scenes: Aerie Back to School 2015

Real layers. Tee on tee on tee!Behind the Scenes: Aerie Back to School 2015Behind the Scenes: Aerie Back to School 2015

Real smiles. Hi from @Sakuraheffron and @iamiskra! Behind the Scenes: Aerie Back to School 2015 Behind the Scenes: Aerie Back to School 2015

Real happy! @AllyLWalsh shows off our new Sunnie Lightly Lined Bra and Boyshort.Behind the Scenes: Aerie Back to School 2015Behind the Scenes: Aerie Back to School 2015

Real loves. From our closet to yours! Our Back To School collection has so many new must-haves.

Behind the Scenes: Aerie Back to School 2015Behind the Scenes: Aerie Back to School 2015Behind the Scenes: Aerie Back to School 2015 Behind the Scenes: Aerie Back to School 2015

Real city. This collection is in a New York state of mind. 
Behind the Scenes: Aerie Back to School 2015Behind the Scenes: Aerie Back to School 2015

Real skills! @Elizty always makes us smile. #BackToReal Behind the Scenes: Aerie Back to School 2015 Behind the Scenes: Aerie Back to School 2015 Behind the Scenes: Aerie Back to School 2015 Behind the Scenes: Aerie Back to School 2015 IBehind the Scenes: Aerie Back to School 2015 Behind the Scenes: Aerie Back to School 2015 Behind the Scenes: Aerie Back to School 2015

Real FUN (& fun fun fun fun fun fun). @CourtneyJamesCJ

Shop your favorite looks online now! Mark your calendars, these pieces will be at your local Aerie store on 7.7.

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#LoveYourRealSelfie

How do you get a perfect bikini body? Put a bikini on your body! To celebrate body positivity and our #AerieREAL initiative to #LoveYourRealSelfie, we brought more than 1,500 Aerie girls together to take the world’s largest unretouched selfie in South Beach, Miami!

#LoveYourRealSelfie - World's Largest Selfie

Bikini beauties were joined by actress and The Duff star Mae Whitman, DJ Hannah Bronfman, Aerie girls Iskra and Eli and Fashion Blogger Sincerely Jules! To top it off and get that AERIE-al shot, acclaimed aerial photographer Gray Malin captured the event from a helicopter, high above the Mondrian South Beach Pool.

#LoveYourRealSelfie - World's Largest Selfie #LoveYourRealSelfie - World's Largest Selfie

“We couldn’t be more proud to further our #AerieREAL campaign and bring our ‘Love Your Real Selfie’ message to life with this memorable and exciting aerial platform,” shared Jennifer Foyle, our Brand President. “Aerie is seizing Spring Break as an opportunity to challenge beauty standards, share a brilliant swim collection designed for all Aerie girls and celebrate body positivity with the world’s largest selfie.”

Now it’s your turn! Share the body positive love on Instagram with #LoveYourRealSelfie and help us to continue to celebrate #AerieREAL!

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Our Favorite Things

From snuggly fleece tops to beautiful bras, we chose a few of our favorite things to share with you this Holiday season! With free shipping all season long, it’s the perfect time to get those must-have gifts for your secret keeping BFF, your always-there-for-you sister, your loving mom, (and even yourself!)

Aerie's Favorite Things | Gift Guide

Shop tops, our favorite sleep essentials, cozy joggers, cold weather accessories, and bras now!

Show us your new favorite Aerie goodies with #AerieHAULiday on Instagram and Twitter. Have a merry Aerie!

xoxo,

Aerie

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Follow Her Friday: Olivia McMillan

We’re inspired each day by the stories you share that show how you’re #AerieREAL. This week we’re sharing the story of 17-year-old Olivia McMillan, an extremely talented and determined young woman who stands for body image, beauty, and more as she breaks the pageantry mold as Miss America’s Outstanding Teen (the little sister to Miss America).

A high school student currently residing in Warner Robins, Georgia. Olivia spends each day balancing her studies, practicing her singing (she’s an unbelievable opera singer), representing young women, volunteering, and applying to colleges. Despite her successes, Olivia faced many challenges growing up and it’s the way she faced them that inspires us today.  Read on below to learn more about Olivia and to follow her journey!

Follow Her Friday: Olivia McMillan

Olivia sporting her #AerieREAL tee at school.

Aerie: Hi, Olivia! We’re so excited to talk with you. Can you tell us a little bit more about your background? 

Olivia: Like many of you, I’ve faced various challenges in my life. As a biracial baby, I was adopted by white parents in Georgia, and so was my brother. At one point I turned to emotional eating to help me cope with the special needs of my brother and the challenges it posed to my family. Singing became my refuge. I joined a local university’s children’s choir, sang with the youth from my church, and began taking classical voice lessons with a private instructor. I also discovered pageants as a wonderful opportunity to showcase my talent and develop poise and stage presence…and I was fortunate to be awarded $25,500 in scholarship money for my college education by Miss America’s Outstanding Teen!

Follow Her Friday: Olivia McMillan

Olivia, Miss America’s Oustanding Teen and and Kira Kazantsev, Miss America. – Photo by Allen Dye

Aerie: What does #AerieReal mean to you?
Olivia: I believe #AerieReal is necessary and relevant for teens all over the world, and it’s something I’ve been waiting for, for a long time. As a 5’10” biracial girl who has struggled with weight her entire life, it was hard for me to look at magazines with seemingly perfect models on the covers. I told myself that that is the way I was supposed to look, as if that form of perfection was the goal. But for me and so many others, that “goal” is unattainable. The #AerieReal campaign features beautiful and confident women who are comfortable in their own skin and refuse to be retouched to live up to society’s ideal of perfection. It is inspiring to finally be able to look at models and feel like I can relate to them. Teens everywhere can now say, “Oh, that model kind of looks like me.” They are perfect in their imperfections, giving girls everywhere the confidence to be themselves and to embrace their bodies. That is beautiful.

Follow Her Friday: Olivia McMillan

Aerie: What makes you #AerieReal?
Olivia: There are many stereotypes attached to the “pageant girl” image and because of them, I thought I could never be successful in pageants. After winning my local pageant as a size 16, many thought that I was too large to compete on the state level. I was even told I was “fat.” At 16 years old, this was really hard to hear. It made me take a good look at myself, and I realized that I wasn’t fat, but I wasn’t healthy either. I made the decision to work hard to get fit and become healthy for myself. I lost 50 pounds over the last year, and competed in my state pageant as a size 8-10. I was honored to win Miss Georgia’s Outstanding Teen, and then I went on to win the national pageant competing against 52 other young women. I refused to let anyone tell me who I should be or how I should look. I took control of my health and my body, and was able to break the pageant stereotype. I was myself through and through, and to me that is what #AerieReal is all about!

Follow Her Friday: Olivia McMillan

Olivia and her girlfriends, Laura, Kayla and Hannah hanging out on spring break.

Aerie: Where do you see yourself in three years?
Olivia: In three years, I see myself in college being a normal student. I have had a pageant title all four years of high school. It has been a blessing, but also a lot of hard work and a great deal of responsibility. It will be nice to relax and focus on school and friends. I plan to be a vocal performance major in college so it will also be pretty amazing getting to do what I love every day!

Aerie: What is your life motto?
Olivia: My life motto is “Beeee yourself.” This is a quote from the genie in Disney’s “Aladdin,” and my Dad has been saying this to me since I was a little kid. It’s definitely helped me in my experience with pageants. I used to try to be what I thought everyone else wanted. That didn’t work for me. I am a biracial girl who is adopted, has a brother with special needs, and has lost 50 pounds. I used to try to cover up my story because it made me different, but I soon realized it made me special. I learned that if I was going to be successful in pageants or life in general, I needed to be myself because everyone else is already taken!

Follow Her Friday: Olivia McMillan

Olivia and her BFF McKenzie at the Grand Canyon.

Aerie: What is your biggest accomplishment thus far?
Olivia: My biggest accomplishment is definitely winning Miss America’s Outstanding Teen. The organization is committed to helping communities, and each titleholder has a personal platform. Mine is the Sibling Support Project, which helps the brothers and sisters of children with special needs. I’m also a National Teen Goodwill Ambassador for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. I’ve had the chance to meet many incredible people, perform, speak on behalf of the MAOTeen organization and support so many important causes.
It was a long journey, but I’m so happy that I could pave the way for other girls who felt like they couldn’t succeed in pageants. I got an e-mail from a girl shortly after I won and she told me that she had never competed in pageants because she struggled with her weight. She told me that she saw me win and it inspired her to compete in her very first local pageant. I am so humbled and honored to be able to inspire others to follow their dreams. I am proud that I broke the mold of what people have always said a pageant winner should be. I am even more proud that this has given other girls the confidence to go out there and do the same!

Aerie: Do you have a role model? If so who is he/she and why does he/she inspire you?
Olivia: My role model is Kate Winslet. Not only is she an incredible actress, but she has remained so humble and grounded even in the face of huge success and stardom. She encourages women everywhere to love themselves and to love their bodies. She struggled with weight in her youth and is now a healthy weight for her. She says that she will never change who she is to fit other people’s expectations. That is so inspiring to me. I applaud her realness and her promotion of self-love. In a society where size 2 is expected, it is so beautiful to see a woman in Hollywood preaching about the importance of being healthy for your own body. She is amazing.

Follow Her Friday: Olivia McMillan

Aerie: Do you have a favorite Aerie item?
Olivia: I LOVE Aerie Sweatpants! I am a very laid back kind of girl, and when I am not making pageant appearances my style is usually pretty relaxed. Comfort is key for me, and Aerie sweatpants are so soft. They are definitely a “must have” for me!

Follow Her Friday: Olivia McMillan

Olivia with two of her best friends since childhood after winning Miss Georgia’s Outstanding Teen.

Aerie: What are your three things you always have with you?
Olivia: Lip balm, my best friends, and hand sanitizer (I’m kind of a germaphobe!)

Aerie: What’s your favorite song to sing?
Olivia: I am classically trained, so I love to sing classical songs when I perform, like “Nessun Dorma” or “O Mio Babbino Caro.” But when I’m just jamming in my car with friends, I love to sing/scream out “All About that Bass” whenever it comes on the radio.

Aerie:  If you could pick any song to be your own theme song, what would it be?
Olivia: My theme song would be “Just Fine” by Mary J. Blige. When my brother was diagnosed with Autism and bipolar disorder, my parents brought in a family therapist who introduced us to this song. It is all about loving yourself and loving your life no matter the cards you are dealt. “See I wouldn’t change my life, my life’s just fine.”

Aerie: Do you have a secret talent, skill or quirk? Do tell!
Olivia: I love to do impersonations or accents. My favorite one to do is an Australian accent. I even convinced a classmate that I was a foreign exchange student from Australia!

Thank you, Olivia! Inspired by Olivia’s story too? Follow her on Instagram and Twitter to keep up to date on her adventures!

xoxo,

Aerie

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Follow Her Friday: Ali Mitton

Cue the cold nights, the cozy knits, and snowball fights! This Holiday we partnered with a new photographer, who just so happens to be our first Aerie REAL girl photographer, to help us prepare for one of our favorite gifting seasons. Aerie girls, meet Ali Mitton. This Gold Coast Australian native added just the touch of magic, simplicity, and elegance to make our favorite cozy products come to life. Read on below to learn more about Ali, her favorite parts of the shoot, and her thoughts about 100% not retouching.

Follow Her Friday: Ali Mitton

Aerie: What does #AerieREAL mean to you?

AM: It means honesty and confidence!

Aerie: What’s your favorite Holiday recipe?

AM: Christmas in Australia is summer! So I love barbecue seafood and fresh salads. :)

Follow Her Friday: Ali Mitton

Follow Her Friday: Ali Mitton

Aerie: What’s your favorite Holiday tradition?

AM: If I’m in Australia its swimming and eating all day, and running around on the beach. If I’m in America its making cookies with my boyfriend’s family and sitting by the fireplace.

Aerie: Did you have a favorite Aerie item from the Holiday line?

AM: I love all the fabulous Christmas print socks. :)

Follow Her Friday: Ali Mitton

Aerie: Cute! We love those, especially with winter boots! What was your favorite scene to shoot?

AM: All our snow scenes were super fun!

Follow Her Friday: Ali Mitton

Aerie: How do you feel not retouching the girls? 

AM: I love not retouching the girls. They don’t need it. No girls actually do. It’s just an industry expectation, a bad habit I love breaking. These girls look amazing without any retouching.

Follow Her Friday: Ali Mitton

 Aerie: What is your favorite camera to shoot with?

AM: A 5D MK III.

Follow Her Friday: Ali Mitton

Aerie: What do you believe not retouching means to young women?

AM: I think retouching has made us place unrealistic expectations on ourselves. We are all trying to live up to something that is not real. Retouching is standard in my line of work, its sad but true. I’m really excited to work with Aerie who is breaking that rule.

Aerie: How would you describe your personal style?  

AM: Relaxed, comfortable, and minimal. :)

Follow Her Friday: Ali Mitton

See more from Ali on Aerie’s Instagram, in your local Aerie store, and at Aerie.com!

Also, don’t forget to follow Ali now on Instagram.

xoxo,

Aerie

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Follow Her Friday: Krystal Cantu

We’re inspired each day by the stories you share that show how you’re #AerieREAL. This week we’re sharing the story of a truly incredible woman who overcame some seriously extreme obstacles to make her dreams come true.

Krystal Cantu is an award-winning weightlifter, a sister, a fighter, a daughter, and a graduate from the University of Texas at San Antonio. At 25, she can lift 200lbs – with only one arm!

On August 2, 2013, Krystal and her boyfriend Daniel were in a car accident where her right arm was severely crushed and had to be amputated immediately. Her first concern? Never being able to compete again. Despite the odds and with outstanding amounts of courage, Krystal was back in the gym 3 weeks later. Shortly after, by serious will and faith, Krystal begun beating all of her old records and lifting more than she ever could. She says the accident is ‘the best thing that could have happened’. Read on below to learn a bit more about Krystal and what makes her Aerie REAL.

Follow Her Friday: Krystal Cantu

Aerie: Hi, Krystal – thank you so much for chatting with us. What does #AerieREAL mean to you? 

Krystal: Aerie Real, to me, is something that stands for so much within an individual. It is something within someone who has looked past the media and what they portray as an ideal individual. It’s accepting who you are and being happy with what you have been given. It’s knowing that perfection is not being thin or tall, it’s being you that makes you perfect.

Follow Her Friday: Krystal Cantu

Follow Her Friday: Krystal Cantu

Aerie: What makes you #AerieREAL?
Krystal: I’d be lying if I said that I never wanted to be like the girls in the magazines. As you get older and you start to realize that looks aren’t everything, you change. I’m very happy with my body and who I am as an individual, athlete, daughter, sister and girlfriend. I don’t have the six pack or flat belly, but that’s okay.

Aerie: Where do you see yourself in 3 years?

Krystal: In three years I hope to have been in a lot more competitions with podium standings, as well as pursuing a full time crossfit coaching position. I hope to have seminars going as well around the states. Heading out to different boxes, answering questions, meeting new faces and showing everyone how strong they truly are.

Follow Her Friday: Krystal Cantu

Aerie: What’s your favorite inspirational quote?
Krystal: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. – Philippians 4:13

Aerie: What has been your biggest accomplishment thus far?

Krystal: My biggest accomplishment thus far has definitely been the progress I’ve had in Crossfit in under a year. There’s no particular event or movement that I’m proud of because I am really proud of it all. I continue to surprise myself with the strength I have mentally and physically. It’s been under a year and I can only imagine what can come in the next few years.

Follow Her Friday: Krystal Cantu

Aerie: Do you have a role model? If so, who is he or she, and why does he or she inspire you?

Krystal: I don’t have one set role model, I have various ones. I look up to my mother who is the rock of my family. She has the biggest heart and puts her family before herself all the time. She loves unconditionally and never fails to be by my side when she knows I need her the most. I look up to Daniel, my boyfriend, because he is the true representation of how everyone should love. He cares and supports me in whatever I do. He may get upset with me from time to time, but he never holds grudges or ignores me. He’s a good hearted person who I love very much. I look up to my coaches and how they genuinely care for each of their athletes. They competed in the 2014 crossfit games (Ballistic Crossfit) and they never trickled away from us nor did they focus on themselves. It’s always their athletes first, and then them. The heart and dedication they show day in and day out is very inspirational ad motivating.

Aerie: What are three things you always have to have with you?
Krystal: My iPhone, Ray Ban Sunglasses, and iPad.

Follow Her Friday: Krystal Cantu

Aerie: What are three things you always have to have with you? Krystal: My iPhone, Ray Ban Sunglasses, and iPad. 

Aerie: What’s your favorite part of the day?
Krystal: There is nothing I look more forward to than a good WOD (Workout of the Day).  I am anxious throughout the day just waiting to head outside and sweat.

Aerie: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, All, or Nothing?
Krystal: Never really got into the whole twitter thing. I have an account, but never use it. I do love me some instagram and facebook though!

Krystal, thank you so much for sharing your story with us!

Follow Krystal now on Twitter or Instagram.

xoxo,

Aerie

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