Currently, American Eagle’s clothing website features models with various medical conditions and disabilities. One model with type 1 diabetes shows off her insulin pump and continuous glucose monitor (CGM) in the product photos.
A couple of weeks ago Instagram blew up when American Eagle launched their #AerieREAL campaign. It’s always exciting to see “diabetes in the wild,” but it’s even more exciting when it’s a very public display… especially when it reaches beyond the diabetes community and helps to raise awareness.
Contrary to the diabetes stereotypes and misinformation we usually see in the media and pop culture, these photos of type 1 diabetes model Evelyn Riddell show that people with diabetes are young and vibrant and beautiful and self-confident and not ashamed of the devices that help them manage their chronic medical condition.
The teen years can be a struggle for girls, but especially for girls with type 1 diabetes. I was so excited to show these photos to my own teen T1D.
I reached out to find out more about this new ad campaign and their model with type 1 diabetes. Here is the company’s response:
“As a brand, Aerie has been a leader in empowering women and celebrating inclusivity and body positivity since our launch of #AerieREAL in 2014. Our newest bra models are part of our brand’s ongoing commitment to show real, authentic and unretouched women, who are at the core of everything that we do,” shares Jennifer Foyle, Aerie Global Brand President.
The #AerieREAL mindset has continued to grow since its launch, and now, while only the beginning, the brand is excited to reveal its next phase in the evolution of #AerieREAL. Part 1 of the Aerie Bras Make You Feel Real Good campaign shows a new cast of 57 women representing diverse backgrounds, ages, and body shapes, all proudly wearing Aerie bras. To find their newest cast, the brand turned to social media and asked its community to share personal videos explaining why they wanted to be a part of the next #AerieREAL campaign. Close to 2,000 women responded.
Featured alongside the brand’s #AerieREAL Role Models, Iskra Lawrence and Aly Raisman, the campaign includes Special Olympic gymnast, Chelsea Warner, along with other inspiring women including Aby Sams, Danielle Candray, Evelyn Riddell, Gabrielle Hamilton, Jennifer Van Dusen, Rajee Aerie, Sadie Strong and more.
The women chosen for this campaign represent the inclusive beauty that makes up the DNA of the brand, which is committed to empowering all customers to embrace and love their real selves.
T1D Evelyn Riddell
Evelyn was kind enough to take a few moments with me.
D-Mom: What is your advice for tweens and teens with diabetes who may suddenly become self-conscious about their diabetes around their peers?
Evelyn: When I was diagnosed at 12, I became very self-conscious. I wouldn’t check my blood sugar in front of anyone, let alone give an injection. I’m now very comfortable with this because I know that it’s a necessity for me to be healthy. Taking care of your type one diabetes should be top priority — don’t let the stares or the questions stop you from taking care of yourself. Embrace that checking your blood sugar, giving an injection, or using your pump are what help you be your best self, and what make you STRONG! And remember that it’s okay to feel self-conscious sometimes, most tweens and teens do, whether they have type one or not. The important thing is that you don’t let it stop you!
Thank you to American Eagle and Aerie for showing the diversity of women and for showing our T1D girls that they should embrace their medical devices because they are just a part of what makes them beautiful.