Aerie's "real" messaging and role models are back with new faces for 2020. The list includes activist women with a swath of interests, including science, music, writing, film, sports and the environment. Last year role models included: actress Lana Condor, writer Beanie Feldstein, actress/writer Hari Nef, actress Ali Stroker, sustainability activist Manuela Barón, Smile On Me founder Dre Thomas, DJ Tiff McFierce and scientist Keiana Cavé.
The lingerie brand launched the AerieREAL platform six years ago with a commitment to body positivity, a move to attract and empower female shoppers fed up with common messaging from fashion brands excluding people of all shapes and sizes. In 2014, the brand promised to stop airbrushing models with the #AerieREAL pledge. Then in 2016, it debuted its first role model Iskra Lawrence as the face of its brand platform around body positivity and inclusivity. Two years later, Aerie doubled down on this messaging with a new bra shopping experience aimed at creating a more supportive environment for women in its stores.
The approach appears to be working in a tough retail environment. Aerie has boosted American Eagle's performance in recent months, with the brand opening new stores and reporting healthy growth. Last month, American Eagle's comparable sales rose 2% as those from its Aerie line increased 20%, its 20th straight quarter of double-digit sales growth.

While Aerie has made body positivity and female empowerment a core piece of its messaging strategy, Unilever's Dove was one of the earliest marketers to give a similar platform to celebrating women of all sizes in 2004. Since then, a flurry of other brands have gone this route to honor the beauty in typical women and appeal to consumers looking for positive messaging.