Braces, that awkward teenage rite of passage, are also a stylish accessory.
A new Lane Bryant ad featuring poet and spoken word artist Ashlee Haze flashing her shiny braces is part of a campaign called #ThisBody. The body-positive effort was created in 2016 and has featured celebs such as model Ashley Graham and actresses Gabourey Sidibe and Danielle Brooks. The aim is to showcase the female body in its diverse form and to promote the launch of a new line — Prabal Gurung x Lane Bryant — from the plus-size retailer.
“I had never thought of my braces as an asset before,” Haze, 28, tells Yahoo Beauty. “I had reservations about it, but wearing them speaks to the non-perfect experience of being a woman.”
Heather McGarry, senior marketing manager at Lane Bryant, tells Yahoo Beauty, “It was funny — we did not even think about [Haze’s braces], but she asked if she needed them removed before the shoot. We said no, and we fell in love with them when we saw her.”
Haze is only the latest figure to rock a mouthful of metal. Halima Aden, a Muslim model who recently walked in Kanye West’s Yeezy Season 5 show, has worn braces for the past six years. “It’s been a bumpy relationship,” she recently told The Cut, saying, “they’re a part of who I am.”
Aden added, “Besides, I know it’s something a lot of girls are insecure about. I know I was when I was in high school. You hear comments like ‘Brace Face’ or ‘Train Tracks.’ It can make you insecure about your teeth. So I thought, ‘What a great way to show people I’m not perfect.’ My teeth aren’t perfect. But I’m still modeling.”
CR Fashion Book also booked Aden for its February 2017 cover as its second cover model with braces following Kitty Hayes, who in 2015 showcased her turquoise-banded braces. And that same year, male models who walked in Hood By Air’s fall/winter show wore dentures with braces. While Gwen Stefani is a trailblazer for the look, telling Harper’s Bazaar in 2012 about getting braces, “I always told myself when I got rich, that’s the first thing I’d do,” plenty of celebs have followed suit either by choice or necessity, including Faith Hill, Tom Cruise, Faye Dunaway, and Katy Perry.
Haze gets her braces removed in April, but admits they’ve become somewhat of an accessory, saying “A lot of people have told me I pull them off well.” We couldn’t agree more.
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