Barbie Ferriera is quickly becoming a household name thanks to her gorgeous Aerie campaigns, a brand of clothing from American Eagle Outfitters, and hundreds of thousands of followers on social media.
And now she’s speaking out about the body shaming women face in the fashion industry, and her post is going viral.
On Monday, the 19-year-old posted a picture to Instagram showing her stretch marks around her waist. Ferriera called them “mi lil stripes,” and told her followers she moisturizes them “with vitamin E oil.”
People began thanking her in the comments for sharing a picture of her stretch marks and being so body positive, saying she gave them courage and that she looks amazing. Teen Vogue saw the Instagram and wrote a story on it.
After the story though, Ferriera posted another empowering message to Instagram, this time thanking Teen Vogue for their coverage, but also pointing out all the issues she still faces in the fashion industry as what some consider to be “plus-sized.”
“After I posted the picture of my stretch marks, not even a few hours later I was stood naked at work in front of strangers (super vulnerable position) and got asked what was wrong with my hips,” she told her 373,000 followers. “Pointing at my stretch marks. By a woman. I’d be lying through my teeth if I didn’t say micro-aggressions like this don’t happen on the daily for me in this industry.”
Ferrari said she had to hold back tears after the incident and that she pretended it didn’t happen. But now, she’s calling out the people who work in the fashion industry for being able to take such ownership over her body and treating her, and other models like her, as though she were an object.
“Grown a– adults commenting on my teenage body needing Spanx, bra cutlets to make me look ‘better,’ or Photoshopping my body to be ‘smoother’ right in front of me — most of the time by plus clients,” she said. “If you think my abuse is bad, ask a runway model who went from a 34- to a 35-inch hip. They will tell you they flat out get told to starve and that they’re looking fat.”
The whole message is a big wakeup call that despite body-positive ad campaigns and some designers championing diversity, the fashion industry is still an incredibly flawed business that takes advantage of young women and treats them as mannequins, and not people with their own thoughts and feelings.
As Ferriera so accurately sums up: “Not only [is] the consumer being told they’re not good enough — even the girls in the pictures are given the same sh–.”
Here’s her message in full:
Thank you @teenvogue for this write up. After I posted the picture of my stretch marks, not even a few hours later I was stood naked at work in front of strangers (super vulnerable position) and got asked what was wrong with my hips.. Pointing at my stretch marks. By a woman. Id be lying through my teeth if I didn’t say micro-aggressions like this don’t happen on the daily for me in this industry. And like I always do, I choke back the tears and keep going like nothing happened. Grown arse adults commenting on my teenage body needing spanx, bra cutlets to make me look “better” or Photoshopping my body to be “smoother” right in front of me- most of the time by plus clients. This industry is not cute, never has been. I don’t want to sell you this idea that all these brands are so body positive when it’s so few that actually represent what women look like not just an idealised version of a thick girl (like they try to do to me.) girls are not treated like people in this industry !! At all !! If you think my abuse is bad, ask a runway model who went from a 34 to a 35 inch hip.. They will tell you they flat out get told to starve and that they’re looking fat. Shit isn’t as pretty as it looks but.. I’m here to infiltrate from the inside. I truly don’t know how much we can do as curvy models when we’re still thought of as mannequins- just ones who are cursed to only wear peplums and tunics all day to cover our “flawed” bodies n show just our usually thin faces. Anyway, just wanted to rant because I am so privileged to be here but the flaws in this world make me feel like absolute garbage at the sake of getting paid and trying to spread my message. Not only the consumer is being told they’re not good enough- even the girls in the pictures are given the same shit. But y’all got me trapped cuz I need to make a living and enjoy tf out of representing curvy girls all over !!! Jokes on me.
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