Campaign models body positivity

Delaney Friesen and Hayley Friesen, are founders of the Everybody Campaign. (GREG VANDERMEULEN/Winkler Times)

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With a message that every body is beautiful, The Everybody campaign kicked off Oct. 26 at Zara’s Garden near Winkler. The second annual campaign, it was launched by Delaney Friesen and Hayley Friesen, sisters-in-law from Altona. It features models who share the same message, of self-love and body positivity.

The campaign began last October with six models and support from four businesses. This year there are eight models and 16 businesses who have come on board. They also have a charity cause. Proceeds from the sales of several items will be donated to Genesis House.

“I think the message is very strong, that we need to accept ourselves for who we are and not have to hide behind, whatever we use to hide behind,” Delaney said.

Hayley is the co-owner of Organic Tan Pembina Valley along with her mother, and Delaney’s mother operates the flower shop and Cachet Clothing in Altona.

Both say the idea came from interactions they had with customers.

Hayley said because people remove some of their clothing to get tans, customers were apologizing for different aspects of their bodies. “That was just something that took us aback because you don’t need to apologize to us for your body,” she said. “The other thing that really struck home to us was we had a client come in and say, ‘I don’t look like the girls on your social media posts. Do you even tan people like me?’”

Delaney said the same thing occurred at their clothing store.

“Women were coming in and they were finding clothes that hide certain body parts,” she said. “These women, they just have such fears for who they are, they feel they have to be something that was represented on social media, and that’s not who we are, that’s not how we want to represent our business.”

Models this year come from across southern Manitoba from places like Winnipeg, Roseisle, La Broquerie, Morden, Winkler, Carman, Schanzenfeld and Reinfeld.

And the initiative has gone national being picked up in centres such as Winnipeg, Saskatoon, across Canada and into the U.S.

The Everybody Campaign will be shared on various social media platforms.

Models Heather DiFrancesco and Lexie Elias said they felt it was important to take part.

“I feel like so often we apologize for everything,” DiFrancesco said. “We apologize for who we are, we apologize for what we look like and I think things like this help change the narrative.”

“What we tell ourselves is the most important part,” she added. “The reflection we see in the mirror is only going to be what we believe about ourselves and so if we can help people fill that negative self talk space with truth, I think that we would be so much better off and then we’re able to help other people see their full potential.”

Elias agreed that the campaign is positive. “I think it’s just a good thing for people to see women with different body types and colours and know that everybody is made differently anyway and to embrace those differences,” she said. “What society considers to be a flaw really isn’t. It’s the way that God made us.”

Elias added that everyone comes in different shapes and sizes.

“I’m a curvy woman, a plus size lady,” she said. “I think it’s important for other women of my build to realize they are still acceptable to society’s standards. You can model in a campaign like this and you don’t have to be a size 2.”

DiFrancesco said what people see in the mirror is viewed through their own lens.  “We need to clean up that lens and that filter,” she said.

Elias has a 12-year-old daughter and she said she’s proud to represent the same message she shares at home.

“She thinks it’s pretty cool,” she said. “I’m trying to make her understand your appearance doesn’t make you who you are.”

DiFrancesco has three sons, and said it’s important for them to learn that lesson as well.

“I think the message is just as important because (I’m) raising strong boys to men that will respect anybody no matter what they look like, whatever their size, shape or colour,” she said.

With a message that every body is beautiful, The Everybody campaign kicked off Oct. 26 at ZaraÕs Garden near Winkler. (GREG VANDERMEULEN/Winkler Times)

Business representatives and others involved in The Everybody Campaign, took part in a photo shoot at Zara’s Garden near Winkler, Oct. 26. (GREG VANDERMEULEN/Winkler Times)