Every Body celebrates inclusivity and the representation of human beings in every shape and form.
With one epic Instagram pic, a group of Florida sorority sisters has gone viral. The Florida A&M chapter of Delta Sigma Theta’s class of 2007 had a reunion holiday in Costa Rica. While there, this girls’ trip became the most inspiring of the year, thanks to their #MelaninIllustrated swimsuit snap that shows how every shade of skin is beautiful.
Sorority sister Jane Doneghy spoke with Glamour and explained how the now-famous snap happened. The class of 2007 sisters plan a reunion every five years, and for this, their 10th anniversary, they wanted to plan an epic snap to rival the ones they have done over the years. So they coordinated with each other to pose in nude-toned swimsuits that would complement their wide range of skin colors.
“It took a lot of planning,” she said. Why? Because of all the varying skin tones and sizes of each of the sisters, the women had to search every possible swimwear company. “[It] took four months of rigorous planning,” Doneghy, an art director, said.
“We had a group chat where we would share swimsuits to help each other out. Kenneth Cole came up in our chat twice. Some people got their suits at Missguided and Forever21 and one or two from Hot Miami Styles and Topshop. I spent time reaching out to brands directly, and one in particular has a lot of nudes, but not a lot of brown nudes. They had a lot of pale to pink swimsuits in what they consider “nude,” but that’s not African American nude, so we did have a lot of difficulty there. It took a lot of planning.”
Once the suits were sorted, the sisters got down to figuring out how they wanted to pose in their photo. “The media has a way of telling us what beauty should be,” Doneghy said. “We say beauty is being confident.”
The sisters enlisted the help of LA Rams cheerleader Sharida Washington to help stage the snap. “We didn’t want to do the typical on-the-sand beach photo because beauty to us is about bringing your personal best to the table,” Doneghy explained.
Facing the camera head on, with heads held high, the women look unstoppable, and they hope the snap inspires others. As Doneghy says, “Knowing that you are good enough — especially our African American sisters who may sometimes feel overlooked and underrepresented — that is beautiful in itself.”
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