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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Meet the Cast: Matty

matty

Meet Matty, an aspiring chef from Bend, Oregon and winner of American Eagle Outfitters Project Live Your Life. We had the chance to learn more about Matty — read on to learn why she loves to cook and what her specialty dish is.

You’re originally from Dalles, OR and now live in Bend, OR. What do you heart about those cities?
The things I heart about Dalles is that most of my family lives there and it is a place I can always run away to if needed. I heart everything about Bend! Bend, Oregon will forever have my heart. From the breath-taking scenery, to the kindest people you’ll ever met, and the small town feel… I love it all!

You love to cook. What is your specialty?
My favorite thing to cook is Chicken Parmesan.

Do you feel like food is a form of art?
I definitely feel like cooking is a form of art. It’s crazy to throw together so many different ingredients together and have it turn info something amazing that you’ve never even tasted before!

When did your love for cooking begin?
My love for cooking began when I was a pretty little, around 8 or 9 years old I would say. I would always watch my grandpa in the kitchen and watch cooking shows on TV with him for hours. I think I fell in love with all the different smells!

Do you have any cooking traditions?
A cooking tradition in our family is everyone coming together to help make great meals for the family. I think that’s what I really love about cooking, it brings the ones you really love together.

Who inspires you to cook?
My grandpa inspires me too cook, as well as most of my family.

What do you enjoy most about cooking?
The thing I enjoy most about cooking is making everyone happy through food and bringing everyone together. Who’s not happy when they are eating good food?

You love nature and enjoy working in your community garden. What are some of the reasons that you love doing this?
I loved working in the community garden over summer for the fact that I was helping out someone else. It felt really good to give back to such a beautiful town.

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And the Winner Is… Project Live Your Life Week 5

And the Winner Is… Project Live Your Life Week 5

To celebrate our Spring 2014 photo shoot in San Francisco as well as our #HEARTTHISCITY partnership as part of Alternative Spring Break, we wanted to make the prize for the last week of Project Live Your Life a trip to the City by the Bay. Gil A. from North Laredo, Texas will be taking a friend on a trip to San Francisco! Congrats, Gil!

Be sure to check back here and at ae.com/liveyourlife to meet the grand prize winners who will be part of our Back to School 2014 campaign.

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Meet the Cast: Maria

Meet the Cast: Maria

Meet Maria, a paddle boarder from Coral Springs, Florida and winner of American Eagle Outfitters Project Live Your Life. We had the chance to learn more about Maria — read on to see what she had to say and follow her on Instagram.

How does Miami compare to your hometown, Coral Springs? Have you been here before? Miami is so different! Coral Springs is very suburban, while Miami is a city were no one sleeps. Miami has beaches, art, festivals, and so much more adventures and experiences. I loved staying in Miami with the AEO cast and crew!

What do you heart about your hometown, Coral Springs, Florida? What I heart about Coral Springs is my family and friends that live there.

You enjoy paddle boarding. How did you get into this sport? My uncle lives right on Deerfield Beach, so I would always go over his house and hangout with him. He took me paddle boarding one time and I just fell in love with it. I got the hang of it on my first try and after that I found it so easy and relaxing. Plus, its a great exercise and I don’t have to wait for waves to come to take my board out.

What were some of the biggest challenges that you faced when you were first learning how to paddle board? I didn’t face many challenges paddle boarding but one of them probably had to be getting the paddle board onto my small Mini Cooper and down to the beach!

Are there any other sports that you enjoy? I enjoy soccer. I have played for about 11 years and I played for varsity on my high school team for South Plantation high.

Who inspires you to stay active? Someone who inspires me to stay active has to be pro-surfer Alana Blanchard. She’s such an inspiration to me, she taught me that being active and doing something new everyday just brings happiness and healthiness to you and always have fun everyday because life is short.

Tell us about your part of the mural. What inspired you to draw what you did? With my part of the mural I just expressed myself. I had so much fun doing it and it really inspired me to go after what I want.

You also describe yourself as an aspiring stylist. What trends are you into right now? The trends I’m into right now is laid-back vintage bohemian clothing. I like my clothes to be very chill and beachy. I love to add gold and leather jewelry-mostly strap-on bracelets and gold rings, with one of my cute little vintage tribal beach bags. Oh, and I can’t forget my leather moccasins!

What sets you apart from the crowd? I feel that my wild personality makes me stand out. I can be very outgoing and happy at one moment, but then very chill and mellow at another. My personality works both ways! Also, my sense of style makes me stand. I’m the only girl at my school who becomes a little rebel and wears shorts to school with a cute crop top and a laid back long sweater. I feel that being small and energetic makes me who I am. Also, my ambition to always look for an adventure and do something creative and new everyday!

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Meet the Cast: Spring Break 2014

Meet the Cast: Spring Break 2014
This spring break, American Eagle Outfitters took our 16 Project Live Your Life winners to Miami for an adventure of a lifetime. Unlike past Project Live Your Life photo shoots, this cast wasn’t exploring the streets of New York City or the wilds of Alaska, but rather were helping beautify Miami as part of Alternative Spring Break.
Get to know the 16 inspiring individuals that helped street artist Lakwena turn a vacant lot into a work of art. Click through to learn more about them and be sure to show us why you love your hometown with #heartthiscity on Twitter and Instagram for your chance to attend Alternative Spring Break.

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Meet the Cast: Devin

Meet the Cast: Devin

Meet Devin, an artist and photographer from Athens, Georgia. Devin is a winner of Project Live Your Life and is currently featured in our Spring Break 2014 campaign. Learn more about him and follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

You’re from Athens, GA. What do you heart about your city?

I love that it’s a college town and the numerous concert venues that they have there. I am an arts and entertainment reporter and I got to cover and photograph around 12 bands that came and played just in last semester. The music scene is a huge plus that I love about it here. The Georgia Museum of Art is also located on campus and the festivals that they have frequently are also pretty great.

You’re an artist. How did you find your love of art?

I’ve been drawing ever since I could remember, but I didn’t realize how in love with it I was until recently. With painting and drawing, the idea of capturing an emotion, thought, place and person as it was or they were in one moment in time is sort of just amazing.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

Definitely from the people around me, my friends and other artists and photographers as well.

Who is your artist icon?

I’m going to cheat and pick two on this one. Andy Warhol, because his photography and art is really hip and I actually have two of his prints in my apartment in Athens. The second is Steve McCurry. He’s a really phenomenal well-known photojournalist and if you ever have time, check out his work. I promise you’re life will be positively changed for the better.

As an artist, you’ve watched Wynwood Walls go from a blank slate to a colorful piece of art. What emotions were you feeling during this process?

Being apart of the process and especially collaborating with my cast mates during the initial process and then coming back on the last day and seeing how it all turned out was one of the greatest things ever. I definitely felt a lot of feelings of accomplishment, pride, happiness and camaraderie. I don’t think anything really brings people together as much as creating something, so that bond with my cast and crew and also the thought and idea that people in that city will possibly be inspired by that.

What does art mean to you?

A chance to express yourself in one of most incredible ways possible. It’s sort of like a language, but to different people and at different times it can mean completely different things.

You’re a photographer as well. What are your favorite things to snap?

Pretty much I like to shoot people, concerts, sunrises/sunsets and people again!

Is this your first time to Miami? What about this city inspires you?

Yes. Being in Wynwood Walls and seeing all of the street art all around the city was kind of awesome. The art, scenery, people, attractions and just the busyness of the city as a whole inspired me.

What makes you unique? What characteristics help tell your story?

I love people a lot. I love learning from them, meeting them, hearing about them and just being around them. I go by the idea that each and every single person that you meet changes your life for the better or worst depending on how you let them impact you, so I treasure each person that I do get the opportunity to meet. I’m really into photography, I’m an arts & entertainment reporter, I’m in love with painting and drawing, I’m really really awkward and I like to make fun of myself a lot because it’s hilarious.

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