The Gift Of Self Love
Janie Ruddell and I met less than a year ago. She was my barista at the coffee shop I go to quite often. We would talk about the projects we were each working on. She worked on films and production and I work in the fashion industry. Both us of clearly the creative types. We bonded over our similar feelings on body positivity and love for photo shoots. Clearly, we had to figure out a way to collaborate. Janie had talked about wanting to do a Pin Up shoot months ago, but it finally came to fruition in the middle of January when Janie proposed to do a Valentine's Day, Vintage Pin Up, Velour, Body Positive campaign. I was immediately up for it, and so The Gift Of Self Love Campaign began!
"The Gift of Self Love Campaign is truly about being kind to yourself. Valentine's Day is so full of pressure. Pressure to be loved, pressure to be sexy, pressure to have someone shower you in gifts, and it's too much. Not everyone has someone to show them love, and those who do not are pushed to the side on this day. This campaigns goal is to destroy that notion. The most important, and hardest, kind of love, is the kind you give yourself. To me, pinup style has always embodied confidence, style and sexiness. I wanted people of all colors, sizes and backgrounds to thrown on some pretty dresses and makeup and love themselves. My dream is to make as many people feel as beautiful as possible. With the help of this campaign, and the support of people believing in us and sharing, we can really make that happen." - Janie Ruddell, CEO of Cherrie Pie Productions.
This campaign would be the launch of Janie's production company Cherrie Pie Productions which was the perfect potion for her vision to officially form.
Our first meeting was on MLK Day, and from then we worked almost every day for four weeks straight to be able to launch The Gift Of Self Love on Valentine's Day. Though we had a short amount of time, we were determined to not only get it done, but get it done well.
We selected 20 incredible cis, non-binary, femme and trans models ranging from sizes 00 to 28 to be a part of #TheGiftOfSelfLove. I have personally never seen a more inclusive feminine based campaign before, and am proud to be able to have worked on putting this group of people together. Inclusivity should be mandatory in most/all things.
Next, we were beyond lucky enough to get three amazing sponsors: Lady Voluptuous, Pinup Girl Clothing and Doodad and Fandango. Each brand provided us with essentials to really make our campaign truly come alive.
John Carlo is an immensely talented fashion photographer and was willing to go in a different direction than he normally works to help us achieve our vision.
DMA Media created this beautiful behind the scenes video of the day of the shoot. It shows just how much love and care went into this project.
Valentine's Day is hard for a lot of people including myself, even though it is a day allegedly meant for love. With The Gift Of Self Love, we wanted to make sure everyone knew that true love begins with loving ourselves. To feel beautiful is empowering and should be meant for EVERYONE, no matter your size, race, religion, background... Self love is a gift.. shower yourself with it!
Each model truly showed and represented what the mission of this campaign was about. Love and empowerment.
Since the campaign has launched we have already done TWO giveaways and have more coming to continue sharing the message of #TheGiftOfSelfLove.
It was an honor to work on this project and I am so proud of what as come of it all. I have personally gotten so much out of all of this emotionally, I can hardly express it all. It has given me motivation to continue doing this work, and determination to push even further. Plus, I got an beautiful new friend out of it of whom I admire and adore so much. Janie has been such an inspiration to me and such an incredible person to work with. I can't wait to see what else we will create together. I know this is just the beginning for not only The Gift of Self Love campaign, but Janie's production company Cherrie Pie Productions as well.
All of this was possible due to the hard work and passion of women supporting each other. If that doesn't show what the world needs more of, I don't know what does.
Slideshow Photos by Eric Cortes
Credits for The Gift Of Self Love campaign: Producers: Janie Ruddell and Faith Costa PA to Producers: Brielle Sherman Photography: John C. Dionisio PA to Photographer: Sophia Marie Hair: Farah Monroe MUA: Kristen Ashworth, Zanther Moran, and Webb Kath Set Coordinator: Anthony Scanish Film Crew: A Ceasar Pizarro, DMA Media LLC Location: Danielle Riggio Armano