Let’s face it—one of the biggest tricks in the fashion and beauty industry’s book of marketing tricks is that they convince the average person they can look like a (Photoshopped) celebrity. But it works.
Calvin Klein knows this—ever since Mark Walberg and Kate Moss brought the underwear ads to iconic status in 1992, the brand’s series of ads have featured some of the hottest bodies in the world from David Beckham and Lara Stone to Justin Bieber.
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The latest to grace the decades-old campaign is none other than Kendall Jenner, the Kardashian family’s resident model and all-American It girl. She’s seen in the latest ads showing off a toned stomach most of us can only dream about.
But one woman is out there to prove that beautiful doesn’t mean having to look like a celebrity. Blogger Brenda DeRouen, 26, is using social media to spread a message of her own. The mom took to Instagram to recreate Jenner’s ads in her own set of Calvins—and showing off her stomach covered in stretch marks, which she got after she had her baby eight years ago.
In a blog post, DeRouen explains:
This article was originally meant to target women who have yet to accepted their bodies after giving birth. But then, after my photographer Deun Ivory posted one of my pictures on Instagram, I remembered… most women, with or without children, struggle with some of the same insecurities. So scratch the mommy body empowerment article and let’s just focus on the basics: LOVING YOUR BODY.”
When I was 17 years old, I found out that I was pregnant with my now eight-year-old son. I was young, fit and very active. At this point, I was on top of everything, taking my prenatal vitamin, increasing my water intake and eating as healthy as I knew how. For my skin, I made sure my stomach was always moisturized. I used cocoa butter, shea butter, coconut oil, and any and everything that said, “prevents stretch marks.”
I can still remember the first time I saw a stretch mark on my body. I immediately applied a generous amount of product on my stomach and went to bed. When I woke up the next morning, I looked in the mirror again…It looked as if the baby inside of me was a tiger scratching to get out. I was so upset. I’d done everything I could do to prevent this and now my whole stomach was full of stretch marks.
By the time she gave birth, DeRouen says:
I was now 18 and wouldn’t dare put on a bikini. I turned away when dressing in front of others. At one point, I researched creams, lotions and pomades (none of them worked) and surgeries and laser removal treatments [but she didn’t want to go under the knife] and then I just decided to “tighten my skin up” by working out. I managed to get a 4 out of 6 pack, but no matter how hard I tried, the skin stayed saggy and the stretch marks would not go away. For years I dealt with not loving myself. I was self-conscious in relationships and I hated my body.
It wasn’t until recently, eight years after giving birth to my son, that I learned to understand and accept my body for what it is. I decided to no longer feel self-conscious about my body. I would no longer allow society to define MY beauty. And I would fall in love with me, completely. And after years of hiding myself from myself, I finally saw who I really was.
DeRouen tells The Daily Mail that although she thinks Kendall’s ads are beautiful, she wishes all women could accept their bodies. Judging from the Internet’s reaction—22.4k likes and growing—that seems like the exact powerful message that women want to hear. Visit DeRouen’s blog to see more photos from her photoshoot.
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