Design by Shannon Boland
On Thursday, Feb. 7, UCLA Student Wellness Commission’s Body Image Task Force put on Love Your Body Fashion Show as part of its annual I Love My Body Week. The body-positive fashion show was designed to embrace all forms of beauty represented by different cultures, gender identities, physical abilities and other intersecting identities. By creating an accepting space for open exploration and dialogue about body image, the committee members and show participants helped combat dominant narratives about who and what is beautiful.
The event began with an introduction by lead members of the Body Image Task Force who revealed the premise of the evening. In preparation for the show, the models were asked to think about their favorite body parts and what outfits make them feel most comfortable and empowered. For many of the participants, the event was their first experience modeling, and the hosts worked hard to create a safe and inclusive environment for them to embrace their own beauty.
For the first round, participants sported white t-shirts with their favorite parts of their bodies printed in black lettering on the front. The models were introduced one by one as they walked down the runway, and their responses varied from eyes, eyebrows, legs, breasts, smile, and cheeks to ambition, hair, lips and skin tone. Supportive music played in the background as the emcees introduced the models and interacted with the audience.
During the second round, the models took the stage again, this time wearing whatever made them feel most empowered. The outfits and accessories of choice ranged from all types of heels to jeans, maxi dresses, workout clothes, and leggings.
Paulina Contreras, a third-year Student Wellness Commission committee member, was glad they were able to host the event, noting the importance of inclusive platforms, “Most ordinary people don’t get to showcase themselves in a positive environment.”
The event concluded with all the models gathering together on the stage along with members of the Body Image Task Force who organized the event. They were met by an excited and supportive audience.
UCLA’s Body Image Task Force is doing incredibly important work providing resources and support for people experiencing issues around self-esteem and body positivity. The Love Your Body Fashion Show was only one of a series of Task Force events throughout the week, including a glow in the dark dance, Fat is Not a Feeling Discussion, an eating disorder survivor panel and a self-love arts and crafts event. In an age with so much pressure and negativity surrounding body image, it is imperative that people develop more diverse understandings of beauty.