Podcast Ep. 8, STYLELIKEU'S ELISA GOODKIND, REDEFINING BEAUTY
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EPISODE 8 FEATURES ELISA GOODKIND
Elisa Goodkind wants us to take back our power from magazines, advertising and the money-driven global fashion business, so that getting dressed each day becomes an act of self-love.
With their platform StyleLikeU New Yorkers Elisa and her daughter Lily Mandelbaum are breaking down the fake stereotypes about what’s beautiful, and what’s supposedly not.
They’ve published a new booked called True Style is What's Underneath: The Self-Acceptance Revolution. They take their message on the road, holding open castings and talks around the world. And they make intimate documentary-style video portraits that “explore how style is not about trends, money or presenting a façade of photoshopped perfection”.
No wonder these videos have gone viral – with over 35 MILLION views. What comes across more than anything when you watch them is how we are all the same in our difference.
In this Episode we talk about how the fashion industry has changed, and how and why the world that Elisa fell in love with as a stylist working for Condé Nast in the 1980s has disappeared. A time she describes as more collaborative and LESS MEAN.
We unpack contemporary media’s diversity problem and body image issues, and their ramifications. “I realised that the magazine covers I was styling were helping to destroy my daughter’s self-esteem,” Elisa says in her own video. Lily hated her body growing up, as she puts it, “in a culture oversaturated with images of waif-y girls”.
What’s the solution? A TOTAL RETHINK! It’s about time, right?
They began eight years ago delving into people's wardrobes, starting with their friends, the cool women around them and rippling outwards to those they met on this journey. The CLOSET VIDEOS , with the likes of Tavi Gevison, Soko, and Scout Willis, evolved into the next phase: What's Underneath - an ongoing series of riveting video interviews in which the subjects gradually disrobe as they tell their stories.
They are ALL AMAZING. As Lily says on the podcast, it's very impossible to pick favourites. But I wanted to shout out to JACKIE O'SHAUGNESSY, the incredible model in her sixties who's been working a lot with Tome , the label we meet in Episode 4 of this podcast. In her video (above), she tells this crazy story about dating a man in LA who didn’t want to go out with her in public because... she was too old. (I KNOW, Right?!!!) Just one example of HUNDREDS of incredible STYLE LIKE U stories.
On the podcast, Elisa mentions this video (above) with the model MELANIE GAYDOS, in which she talks about difference– she’s been on the cover of i-D magazine, has a cleft palate and she’s bald – style and the meaning of true beauty. Melanie opens about what it’s like to be judged on appearance, and she says, “We’re all mirrors for each other, and I think a lot of people tend to project their issues onto me.” Word.
We also talk about StyleLikeU's recent collab with ALLURE. It's called Dispelling Beauty Myths. Here are the beautiful videos we mention on the pod. Tissues at the ready for Megan Hobson's incredible tale of strength (below).
LINKS TO MAKE YOU THINK...
Here's the New York Times story Elisa mentions. Writer Ruth La Furla notes that Elisa and Lily's new book "underscores an inclusiveness in tune with the fall 2017 runway shows in New York that, however fitfully, showcased models of varying races, ethnicities, gender preferences and, in particular, size. No fewer than 26 plus-size models strode the catwalks in February. Yet a similar inclusiveness was not reflected in the fashion advertising campaigns shot during that period....In only two prominent instances was a model over 50 selected for a major campaign, both with the 73-year-old Lauren Hutton."
"PEOPLE ARE SCARED, YOU TALK ABOUT FASHION AND THEY THINK 'SHALLOW' AND THEY THINK 'SCARY'" - ELISA GOODKIND
MIRANDA priestly IS WRONG! We all have our own style. even if we don't know all about that particular shade of cerulean blue...
True Style is What's Underneath is a fab read - a new kind of style book with the inspiring and empowering message that “true style is self-acceptance,” profiling stylish influencers and celebrities who defy the cookie-cutter looks of today’s fashion magazines. Check it out here.
First published in 1990 The Beauty Myth, How Images of Beauty Are Used Against Women by NAOMI WOLF is still essential reading. Buy it here.
"A culture fixated on female thinness is not an obsession about female beauty, but an obsession about female obedience. Dieting is the most potent political sedative in women’s history; a quietly mad population is a tractable one." - Naomi wolf
LAURIE PENNIE is a wonderful writer.
You should zip through her dashing, elegant book on feminist politics, Unspeakable Things, Sex Lies and Revolution. But her messages will linger for a long time: that women are more than sex objects, that the old gender stereotypes as divisive and disappointing, that equality is everyone's right. The chapters on are obviously relevant to this conversation around self-acceptance and embracing difference, but it's all riveting stuff. Enjoy!
Also, you must, you must, you must read How To Be A Woman by CAITLIN MORAN. Unbeatable. Or it would be if it were a competition, which it's not. The revolution is coming, kids and it's about sharing and caring and not being a hyper-competitive dickhead. Just saying.
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Until next time,