Real Talk with Sadie Strong 

She’s a veteran, she’s a mom, and she’s #AerieREAL! Sadie Strong has learned to embrace her body through all of its stages. Read on below to see how Sadie tries to pay it forward while keeping it #AerieREAL in her everyday life.

Real Talk with Sadie Strong Has being a mom affected how you feel about your body?

When I was pregnant I embraced my baby bump. I wore a bikini, showed it off with crop tops and everything. I thought it was the best body I had ever had. Honestly, in the back of my mind I was worried about what others were going to think of me and my post pregnancy body. “Was I going to bounce back?” “ What if I didn’t?” Now, being almost a year post birth I put all of those questions to bed. The body I have, my son loves to cuddle with and take naps on. If anything, being a mom has made me more comfortable with the appearance of my body because I know the amazing things it’s capable of doing.

What’s your advice for someone who seeks balance in their life?

I believe balance is like an internal scale, weighing the options on how you live your life.

When you put outside world opinions on one side of the scale instead of your own thoughts, opinions and needs, you have to try a lot harder to balance your scale. I believe you need to truly put your own happiness first to have balance in your life. It’s a lot easier to balance yourself and be happy when you are not trying to please strangers as well. Real Talk with Sadie Strong 

Big or small, how do you pay it forward?

I truly try and pay it forward as often as I can. Usually in small cute ways whether it’s for my loved ones or strangers. This is silly but often when I get coffee in a drive through I pay the persons behind me also just because I know it will make them smile. For my kids I like to leave surprise notes around their rooms, or in their backpacks at school to remind them how smart and amazing they are or send them little jokes. I love to give people a small moment of happiness because life isn’t always easy, but I believe a smile goes a long way and can get you through a day.

What makes you #AerieREAL?

I’m #AerieREAL because I  am my TRUE self and I choose to be me. Every curve, scar, smile, and feeling! I am enough just the way I am. I am a mom and disabled veteran, and being able to accept my body and myself  for who I am, allows me to live my best life and be Role Model for positivity and self love.

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

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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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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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#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 Mercy Nyangau

Aerie store associate Mercy was an #AerieREAL girl from day one. That’s why her managers at Aerie knew she had to join the team! Two years later, Mercy is one of the newest members of our fall bra campaign.

Read on to learn how Mercy went from storefront to photo studio in our latest bra photoshoot.

MercyNyanguaWhat made you want to join the Aerie family?

I applied to American Eagle the first month of college while I was looking for a job super last minute and AE just happened to be hiring! I honestly knew nothing about Aerie and very little about American Eagle but I still applied in hopes that I would get hired haha. Well I got hired into American Eagle and was selling jeans for like a month before one of the managers in Aerie was like “I want her. She needs to be an Aerie girl” and every shift I worked, they put me in Aerie for like two hours until eventually I was reporting straight to Aerie. Aerie family is a great way to describe the environment. The women I have worked with are all so supportive and loving and they genuinely care about you as a person not just as a co worker or employee. Two years later I have the best Aerie family. Some days I question if my job is real because I’m basically working with all my girlfriends! If someone told me about the #aerieREAL message, the work environment and that I would be surrounded by strong confident women, I would have applied to Aerie directly and I would have done it sooner.

What can Aerie girls expect when they visit an Aerie store for a bra fitting?

The biggest thing Aerie girls can expect when they come in for a bra fitting is support from the team. A lot of the time that I’m fitting someone for that perfect bra, I like to get input from other bra experts on what to recommend and how to problem solve. To the Aerie girl, it’s a one on one experience with a well trained bra expert but behind the scenes there’s like three other girls recommending styles they like and fit alternatives. Although we are all well qualified to individually fit our girls, we all try to ensure the girls leave confident and comfortable! A lot of the time we’re recommending styles, it’s not always for sale purposes but to make sure our girls are leaving happy and comfortable. My favorite days are when I get to put a customer in a completely different size than what they have known because I know it made their day.

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What is your favorite bra from the new collections? Why?  

Do I have to choose? Real Me lightly lined will forever have a place in my heart. I own 4 now and two are the same exact shade! I call it the bra for people who don’t wear bras but sometimes have to. It’s so comfortable and light that I can wear it all day without ripping it off as soon as I get home. Another unique feature that Real Me has and I love is the nude shades that match a range of skin tones. thats pretty neat 😉

What makes you #AerieREAL?

My go to response would be my level of confidence that has gradually increased through the years but I feel that there are other things that make me more real. Defying society’s expectations of me and how I should behave, speak and react are things that I believe make me the most #aerieREAL. I see myself as unique and someone who can’t be put in a box.

 

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