Yara Shahidi Calls Out Brands Who Use Body Positivity as a Marketing Tool

Yara Shahidi
Photo: Getty Images

With campaigns, such as Missguided’s #InYourSkin and Dove’s #RealBeauty, body positivity is at the forefront of the beauty and fashion industry more than ever. But how many of these brands actually walk the walk when it comes to promoting body positivity and natural beauty among their customers? According to Yara Shahidi, not many.

In an interview with Teen Vogue, the 18-year-old actress criticized brands who use movements, such as body positivity, as a marketing tool to publicize their company and sell their products, instead of actually promoting self-acceptance among their customers.

The “Grown-ish” star exposed a double standard that many companies exercise when they tell their customers to accept their flaws, but still push forward a standard of beauty. “It’s easier said than done,” Shahidi said. “I don’t know how many times we’ve been told to love ourselves and that our flaws are perfect or whatever it may be. We’ve heard that message our entire lives. But I feel like what’s difficult is that we also have this other, more subliminal messaging of ‘this is what pretty looks like. This is what beautiful looks like. This is what healthy looks like. This is what happy looks like.'”

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The “Black-ish” actress, who is a model for Aerie’s unfiltered #AerieReal campaign, went on to express the importance of companies actually practicing what they’re preaching. Though beauty starts from within, Shahidi also pointed out the impact that beauty and fashion brands have on their customers.

“But, it’s important that in this process we have companies really sticking to their word and doing more than saying your body is beautiful. It’s also important to have a supportive network of people who gas you up,” she said. “Because as positive as we can be to ourselves, and as positive as we can be to the world around us, it’s important to have that positivity being sent to us. So we aren’t alone.”

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There’s a fine line between promoting body positivity and promoting a product. We hope that brands take what Shahidi says to heart and change their tactics to think about the consumer.