Androgynous model Rain Dove is making a powerful statement about the pervasive beauty standards evident in the Victoria’s Secret Fashion show through a compelling new photo shoot.
Shot by Sandy Ramirez, the series features images of Dove posed in similar ways to the Victoria’s Secret Angel’s in the Christmas catalogue and then superimposing the faces of Victoria Secret models’ faces over her body. Her intention is to challenge the way her more masculine, androgynous face does not fit the narrow definition of beauty evident on the models walking the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show runway — taking place tonight, Dec. 8
Dove intends the campaign as a challenge to Victoria’s Secret to rethink the paradigm of femininity, as well as what types of bodies and people receive visibility on the Victoria’s Secret runway.
“Every year I see VS promote their show as featuring the ‘most beautiful women in the world,'” Dove said in a statement. “During my career path I’ve experienced firsthand what people deem as beautiful. It’s not me. It’s not most people. It’s limited and small. It needs to change. I’ve been told I’d make a great parts model. Designers and advertisers like the idea of my breasts, waistline, long legs and long neck. But have literally made gagging noises at my facial features.”
Dove recently made waves in the fashion world, having walked in the largest queer fashion show during New York Fashion week, as well as Queer Fashion Week in Oakland, California. She hopes that this photo campaign will pressure Victoria’s Secret — as well as the world at large — to question the way we think about sexiness and femininity.
“The face of beauty literally needs to change,” Dove continued. “Which means the way we think of beauty needs to as well. That starts with us. Individually. Not hiding ourselves and standing up to say ‘I exist. That alone is beautiful.'”
Other models have challenged the Victoria’s Secret Fashion show in the past, including transgender model Carmen Carrera. She eventually became the subject of a viral Internet petition calling on the trans beauty to be a part of the annual show.
Check out other photos from Dove’s campaign below.
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