Trinkets Jewellery is Ireland’s top seller of costume jewellery. Stocking a vast array of exquisite designs, they’re known for providing glamour at affordable prices.
In 2015, the brains behind the operation; Fiona De Buitlear, launched a campaign called #EveryBodyInAds, after noticing a lack of real-life diversity within advertising. The premise is simple but effective: Fiona finds out about each participant’s sense of style and who they are and sends them a piece of jewellery from the store in exchange for a selfie of them wearing it. The collection of said selfies showcases her work (to a following of 34,000 across social media) on a wide variety of women. With no Photoshop and no restrictive beauty standards. CAN I GET A HELL YEAH.
With the ever growing interest in body positivity and media diversification, the campaign has gained much traction in recent months, with over 50 women taking part thus far and publicity all over the place.
When I had the chance to interview this lovely lady, she talked to me about her own personal experiences of low self-esteem, the way she feels about social media and sexism and why she changed the name of the campaign from “where are the real women in ads” to #EveryBodyInAds.
In your blog post “from #RealWomen to #EveryBodyInAds and beyond in 10 months“, you talk about your own experiences of low self-esteem going back to your teens. Can you expand on what you went through?
“I really lacked confidence. I was convinced I was overweight but in reality, I wasn’t. I stopped eating and focused on being skinny. Luckily, it was short lived. Others aren’t so lucky. If my 46 year old self could tell my 17 year old self something, it would be to be happy with yourself, not worry so much about peer pressure and what others think about you.”
What was your main motivation in starting the #EveryBodyInAds campaign?
“Pictures in advertising for most products, especially in the fashion and related areas are for the most part unrealistic, doctored and represent the standard white female stereotype. I worry that younger girls feel the pressure much more these days. 8, 10, 12 year olds by all accounts today are the 17 year olds of my day – it’s scary.”
How do you think you managed to overcome low self-esteem?
“I’m not so sure I have. It’s a daily battle. Having said that, I think my life experiences including fertility issues and having my two wonderful boys through IVF, has helped me to realise that how you look is not as important in life as I thought it was.”
Can you talk us through the statement you made in your blog post that “this campaign is NOT against anyone identifying as a woman in any way”?
“It originally started out as “where are the real women in ads”. After a while, I realised that there are many people that identify as women that the term “real women” may appear to make less of. I never meant to insult anyone or imply that some women are “real” and others aren’t. Even though the campaign is partly about Photoshopping and unrealistic imagery, I thought it was too open to misinterpretation and could potentially be insulting to the very people I wanted to empower. I wanted to correct that and through some conversations and feedback on twitter, I eventually changed it to #EveryBodyInAds.”
What are your feelings on social media’s impact on self-esteem?
“I think that it magnifies peer pressure and its pervasiveness has brought self esteem issues to more – and younger – girls and boys. There was no social media when I was a kid so there was at least a bit of down time. But nowadays it seems to be all enveloping and “always on.””
What has been the most rewarding thing about starting #EveryBodyInAds?
“Many of the women who took part found the idea of pictures of themselves being put out into the public a challenging one. Largely for the very reasons that EBIA started. Their participation has been a profound moment and positive step forward in their lives. I’m really proud of that.
Hearing stories from mothers who told me they were doing this for their girls to show them that all kinds of women and beauty can appear in advertising has been amazing. I would love to think that this has had a positive effect on the self-esteem of those kids and helped to start a ball rolling in the right direction.”
If you could give someone struggling with low confidence one piece of advice, what would it be?
“What makes you happy? Do some of that! It’s a step in the right direction. Oh, and don’t change yourself for anyone else.”