In the short video, negative words — including ‘hate,’ ‘broken,’ ‘pain’, and ‘anger’ — are scrawled across the 43-year-old’s ageless face. She proceeds to wash her face — and her mind — clean of the destructive descriptors.
The video was meant as a battle cry against self-sabotage and a call to action to cultivate and embrace happiness, hope, optimism, and forgiveness. “Whether you’re wrestling with inner struggles or feeling weighed down from the news or global events, let’s cleanse ourselves of anything within our personal power that holds us back and, together, #FaceForward,” she wrote.
Subsequent posts showed still images of the hateful words on Banks’s face and included messages like, “It’s time to end this nonsense.”
On Wednesday, Banks took to Instagram to post a video montage of user reactions to the video and express her awe at the warm reception the campaign received. “Wow. When I posted my #FaceForward video, I was hoping to touch some of my followers… But you guys have completely blown me away with your vulnerability and strength,” Banks wrote. “Y’all truly bring hope to my challenging moments, light to my darker hours — and make me emotional about it, for real! Thank you. Stay open, stay authentic, stay powerful, stay inspiring. Let’s do this together. #FaceForward.”
The montage shows young women — and one mother/child duo — who recorded their own versions of Banks’s #FaceForward video, drawing words and phrases like “trust issues,” “bitch,” “fat ass,” and “weak,” before scrubbing them off with foaming face wash.
Some of the fans thanked Banks for her acknowledgement in the comments, while others chimed in to thank her for her courage and inspiration. “It’s because you touch so many of us, Tyra, and blow us away with your vulnerability and strength that we in turn share a part of ourselves with you. You are amazing!” one fan gushed.
The original #FaceForward video received more than 309,000 views and more than 770 enthusiastic comments, including, “Thank you for this! Those inner voices are a killer… trying so hard to kick them to the curb!” Another wrote: “A world without those things is what I dream of. Thanks for the video.” One user countered with empowering words, writing “Love, found, pleasure, together, healed.”
In a followup post after launching the campaign, Banks thanked her fans for their early support of the video. She gathered some of her favorite comments and posted them across the image of her scribbled-on face. Those comments included, “I will never tear down another woman, though her choices may be different from my own,” and even the more critical, “Tell u I didn’t like the bullying on this past season of ATM [America’s Next Top Model]!”
Banks included a thank you message that read, “Earlier this week, I posted a video about washing away all those negative voices lingering in your head and holding you back. The comments you left me have been like little fortune cookie messages — each one unique and illuminating in its own right. Let’s channel that inner power we all have and together. #FaceForward.”
Always an advocate for self-confidence in young women — especially throughout her tenure as host of America’s Next Top Model, to which she recently returned after a brief hiatus — Banks has likely cultivated even deeper compassion after becoming a mom for the first time in February 2016. She and her partner, Erik Asla, welcomed son York into the world via surrogate. Banks announced the new family addition by posting a striking portrait of herself and the newborn to Instagram, along with the caption, “This is the happiest Valentine’s Day of my life. York, Daddy, and I send you so much love.”
The hashtag #FaceForward has more than 15,000 posts, many of which are in response to Banks’s campaign. The precision and care with which her fans replicated the video, while adding their own spins, shows a strong dedication to the icon and proves that when a celebrity uses her power for positive change, people will listen and respond in kind.
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