Almost a year ago, Retrofit Republic’s Community Heroes Lookbook landed on my radar.
I drooled over this lookbook at my desk, and almost died of happiness that they used real people in their fashion spreads. No wait, I take that back. I loved that they not only used real people in their fashion spreads, they wholeheartedly incorporated them and allowed fashion to ride on the wave of their stories.
That very day, the wheels in my head started to turn. I remember calling Lynn, so excitedly, and told her that I wanted to see something like that for Thick Dumpling Skin. I wanted us to highlight Asian American bodies and show off the beauty that carry us through thick and thin. They say that a picture speaks a thousand words, and how appropriate that we would use the very vehicle that has hurt us before, to change how we see ourselves?
Back then, I hadn’t met Jenny or Julia, yet, but I knew right away that we would become best friends. So, I embarked on a master plan to
stalk meet them.
Words cannot describe how proud I feel.
Every page is a manifesto, a declaration, and a stand that our bodies are OURS. No one has the right to tell you how it should look, bottom line.
There are so many people to thank! I have to start with our photographer Albert Law and post-production supporter/lookbook designer Lawrence Guzman, fierce models Mary Trieu, Tasi Alabastro, Terry Park, Laury Thammovong, Gabrielle Patacsil, Manish Vaidya, Adam Crayne, make-up artists Julie Dy and Sarah Maeann, hair stylist Renee Aminyar, production assistant Alvina Kwong, behind the scenes photographer Rob Lew, filmmaker Paul Encinas for The Real Bodies Manifesto Part I, and Pigment Cosmetics Studios for letting us use their space.
Of course, I can’t forget about Lynn for her unrelenting support. She even FaceTimed with us during the photoshoot to say hi to everyone!
Most importantly, so much love to Jenny and Julia for having the same vision as me.
Without all of the people, The Real Bodies Manifesto could not have happened.
So here it is! Love it? Hate it? I am anxiously waiting to hear what you think.
P.S. Stay tuned for up, close, and personal profiles of our models!