Aerie has announced the new class of #AerieREAL Role Models, and it’s quite the impressive bunch. Joining current role models like Iskra Lawrence and Aly Raisman are actors Lana Condor, Beanie Feldstein, Ali Stroker, and Hari Nef; scientist Keiana Cave, Smile on Me founder Dre Thomas, DJ and wellness advocate Tiff McFierce, and sustainability activist Manuela Barón.
The #AerieREAL Role Models, for those who don’t know, are a crop of women whom Aerie believes are leading conversations and pushing the needle forward on topics like inclusivity, women’s empowerment, wellness, and sustainability. Each year the Role Models participate in a completely urnetouched photo shoot, a hallmark of AerieREAL’s body-positive message. The new pics are stunning, naturally, and powerful.
Sadly, this isn’t the norm yet for the fashion, beauty, and entertainment industries. Retouching and superficiality are still very much things in Hollywood, but hopefully #AerieREAL and other similar efforts can help make pop culture more inclusive. Below, we talk to two of the new Role Models—Feldstein and Condor—about the campaign, beauty standards, and so much more.
Glamour: How did you feel when#AerieREAL first approached you about becoming a Role Model?
Beanie Feldstein: I was just so excited because it feels like such an incredible fit. I was really inspired by it and always so impressed and in awe of the fact that they gave up retouching. I thought that was so important. I think in everything I do, whether it’s onscreen or off-screen, I want to be a part of things that feel right to me and feel morally in line with who I am. Aerie is a true celebration of every woman, every body type.
Lana Condor: It was so exciting because I think all of these women are so accomplished because they are being themselves. It takes a lot of courage to just to be yourself and show it to the world.
What was the photo shoot like?
Feldstein: I was just so excited to be with this group of women and look around and be like, “That looks incredible on you.”
Condor: It was just kind of like a big party. We were just dancing, and it felt like a really fun girls’ party. It’s so rare to find a group of girls who can all have a great time together and bond so quickly without knowing each other before, so it was really fun.
Do you think representation in the entertainment world is changing? Where would you like to see it go?
Feldstein: I think size inclusivity is getting a lot better, but there’s still [a far way to go]. I think yes and no, is my answer. Every year we make more strides and then the industry becomes more inclusive and society becomes more inclusive. But there’s also always more to learn, more to get better at.
Condor: I have definitely, definitely seen a change since when I first started out. I think for myself, as an Asian American woman, I’m feeling that when I’m in the room, people are taking me seriously and giving me a more fair shot at getting roles that might not be Asian specific. I think that we could see with The Farewell and Parasite that there’s an opening for us and there are filmmakers that are fighting to tell more stories but also just include Asian Americans in their movies. I think we still have a very long way to go, but baby steps are always kind of a positive for me.
Where do you think the line is crossed between representation and othering someone?
Feldstein: The first thought that comes to mind is celebrating those who have yet to share their voice, who have not been given the platform to share their voice, but on their own terms. I think that’s the best way to do this. It’s not about pushing your own agenda onto someone else’s story. It’s about trying to sit back and take someone’s entire narrative for what it is and not pushing your own opinion onto it, if that makes sense. Let it live under its own terms.
We’re in the thick of awards season, which can be very glam and a little superficial. How are you navigating all of this glitz with the #AerieREAL ideals in mind?
Feldstein: I was talking to my stylist about how we both get tweets and Instagrams from women that are my size and similar in my height, just saying, like, “Thank you. Thank you for celebrating our body type on the red carpet.” It’s really meaningful to see that. And that really touched me. I think we just try to keep it real. We just want to have fun and enjoy ourselves and find clothes that really feel like me.
Condor: I was kind of thrown into this world hot and heavy. It was sink or swim. I definitely went through a period where I felt I needed to be someone else for people to like me, and quickly I found that is a hole I didn’t want to go down because that leaves you on the couch empty, not being able to engage, feeling so crappy about yourself and feeling like there’s nothing left of yourself. So very quickly I realized and came to this understanding that people are either going to like me for who I am or they’re not. And if they’re not, then I don’t want them in my life anyways, right?
How do you practice self-care on a daily basis?
Feldstein: I created this mantra for myself when I was 16 or 17, and it’s really stayed true throughout my life. I always just say, “They either want the Bean, they don’t want the Bean.” Take me or leave me, but you just have to remain true to who you are. That’s been my go-to self-care mantra that I hold close to my heart and repeat. Also, exercise, for me, is purely a mental health practice as it is a physical health practice. I love to dance. I’ve always loved to dance, so [I love] going to fitness classes that have a lot of dance.
Condor: I have my puppy, who basically is everything and more, as I’m sure as anyone who has a dog will know. She’s been a major comfort for me, and I’ve had her for a year, and I got her when things were really hard for me, so she’s been amazing. I love to read. I think reading refocuses me and puts me on a simple task, which is just to turn a page. So that’s a really good way that I can refocus myself. Also, just yoga. My boyfriend and I are very into yoga, so we’ll do yoga in the morning. It’s literally a half-hour yoga that you can do, and that’ll center us down and get us ready.
These interviews have been edited and condensed for clarity.
Christopher Rosa is the staff entertainment writer at Glamour. Follow him on Twitter @chrisrosa92.
Originally Appeared on Glamour