"There's no wrong way to have a body"

Campaign partners Delaney Friesen (Cachet Clothing Co.), Hayley Friesen (Organic Tan/Pembina Valley), Lorrie Wooster (Organic Tan/Pembina Valley), Shayna Wall (Fringe Salon), Helen Wall (Fringe Salon), Salina Wall (Salina Marie Photography). (SALINA MARIE PHOTOGRAPHY)

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Earlier this fall, Delaney Friesen and Hayley Friesen began to realize that the women they served in their businesses needed a boost of confidence.

Delaney works at Cachet Clothing Co. in Altona, and Hayley at Organic Tan/ Pembina Valley, and the two friends were noticing how their customers were continually making apologies for their bodies.

“They come in for spray tans, and act so self-conscious about every aspect of their body,” Hayley says. “And the stock photos and images we were using in our ads and social media pages were not realistic images of bodies. We needed images of women who were more comparable to our actual clientele.”

Delaney added that trying on clothes is also a struggle for many of her clients, who often act embarrassed about their size and shape.

So the two women decided to start a campaign to give women an opportunity to celebrate their bodies and the stories that brought them to where they are today.

Thus, the #EveryBody campaign was born. They partnered with Fringe Salon and Salina Marie Photography to provide a group of women with a chance to celebrate who they are.

Their model call on their social media pages read: “It’s about time we started to use our fingers and toes to list all the things we love about ourselves rather than using them to count our flaws. After all, there’s no wrong way to have a body. And your body is an unfolding story that is uniquely yours. Everyone has a story about themselves inside their own head… but all too often the stories that we play in our head aren’t positive, even though the wrinkles, scars, stretch marks, and curves that remain are signs of pure strength, selflessness, bravery and honour. We need to recognize that every body is beautiful. Even our own.”

They were looking for women of all sizes, colours, ages, and stages of life who had a story to tell and were willing to share this story through their campaign.

Delaney says the response was overwhelming.

“We were getting selfies and stories from nearly 50 women. It was extremely difficult to narrow it down to the six that we needed. In the end, we chose the ones that displayed the most forward thinking, and really wanted to reflect a positive image of who they are.”

The finalists came from Steinbach, Altona, Winkler and Morden.

Getting spray tans, getting their hair and makeup done, and posing for photo shoots was certainly a part of it, but the stories each woman shared about their personal life journey was a big aspect of the campaign.

Hayley says, “As we read the things they shared, we had an even bigger realization of how much women need to hear that it’s okay not to be the “perfect” person that is projected in the media. It takes a long time to change that mindset, but we want to be part of the change that says that everyone is beautiful, and just because you may not be where you want to be in your journey, that’s okay. You can love yourself right now, just the way you are.”

The process was complete by the end of October, and the results were even more amazing than they expected. As the stories and photos were shared on their social media pages, each of the businesses involved were inundated with incredibly positive feedback.

“This campaign was clearly needed,” Delaney says. “We are so thrilled with the result. I could see the confidence grow in each of these women. None of them knew each other, but through the process, they were able relate on a much deeper level. This person that you knew nothing about, you can see them now in a different way, and appreciate their story, and through that, see the beauty in your own story.”

Delaney and Hayley hope to run another campaign in the New Year, and encourage women to watch their social media pages for updates.

“It’s really time for us and other women to be the voice for someone else. What one person is self-conscious about, the next person may be dying to have. We’re all our own worst critic, and we need to be kinder, less judgemental, and learn to find happiness in our stories and in our bodies.”

Models Steph Klassen, Christine Doerksen, Trace Geworsky, Ashley Kostyniuk, Kym Wohlgemut, and Amber Guenther. (SALINA MARIE PHOTOGRAPHY)