I have always loved Ralph Lauren. Mr. Lauren’s story is inspiring, rising from immigrant roots to what his brand is today by holding unwavering focus on his dreams. I’ve always enjoyed watching his advertisements, epic in nature and cinematic in execution, and I have thought Lauren’s designs to be exquisite, both the clothing and the models.
Many particular Ralph Lauren campaigns have evoked a feeling of timelessness, something difficult to capture in all of life. Much of the success to the campaigns is due to the photography, but also to the models… one particular model, Filippa Hamilton has been a favorite. And the recent controversy regarding Filippa and the Ralph Lauren brand is something quite sad. I had written something else to post this week, but this morning, I needed to change and share something about this.
For those who haven’t heard, Filippa has worked with Ralph Lauren for eight years, but was recently fired from the brand because of her weight. Apparently, at 5’10” and 120 pounds, Filippa is too large for the Ralph Lauren sample clothes. (Click here to read more, and to watch an interview on Today with Filippa.) But, interestingly, her weight has remained unchanged in those eight years. And to add to the matter, after she was terminated from her contract, a Ralph Lauren advertisement emerged of Filippa so digitally altered that her head appears larger than her hips.
I remember girls I modeled with who were reprimanded for their weight. They were told they had to lose ten, fifteen, or twenty pounds before they could go see clients. And so these beautiful healthy women would ravage themselves in attempt to achieve the desired “look.” It was, and still is, tragic.
Somehow the cycle has to stop—this thinner and thinner version of “healthy.” Women were made to have curves, to glow with healthy skin, to eat great food, to drink great drinks, and to enjoy living. We were made to shine, and to be our very best. And sometime, somehow, we have to know that being our very best doesn’t mean we have to look like the porch railing to be healthy.
Since I’m a mom now, and not a starving model, I maybe understand more fully how important it is to pass healthy living on to the next generation. There never is a perfect answer for weight, as no amount of BMI tests or scale-hopping will have an absolute number for health. But there is the beauty in the knowing that each day we are working to be our very best—stronger, healthier, spiritually fed, more widely read and travelled, so that we can embrace each new day for the gift that it is.
Campaign for Real Beauty has run some fantastic short videos on healthy body image. (Click here to view.)
To me, the confidence found in trying to be our very best is the picture of health, that which we need to pass on to our children. The media world will continue to desire stick figures as role models only as long as we as consumers vote for stick figure women with our wallets.
Today is the day to start the vote.
I’d love to hear what you think … Thank you in advance for posting your comments and thoughts below (click on comments, and type your message).