Danielle Brooks, Gabourey Sidibe and More Dance in Lingerie to Prove 'This Body Is Beautiful'

Photo by PEOPLE
Danielle Brooks, Gabourey Sidibe and more preach body positivity with 'PEOPLE.'

This story originally appeared on PEOPLE.com.

There’s a lot of discussion around the lack of size-inclusive clothing right now, but one company has been consistently knocking out stylish clothes for women sizes 14-28 for years — Lane Bryant. And since they have cute pieces at every size covered, they’re out to tackle a different concern — overcoming body shaming found on social media. The company just teamed up with a slew of famous faces to kick off their fall 2016 campaign, #ThisBody Is Made To Shine.

Actresses Gabourey Sidibe and Danielle Brooks join models Ashley Graham, Candice Huffine and Alessandra Garcia in the spot, and they all strip to their skivvies to show off what’s really beautiful (being who they are!). We caught up with each of the campaign models to talk about the movement (and discovered some fun fashion facts about them too — like what they spent their first big paycheck on!).

First, we chatted with Orange Is the New Black star Danielle Brooks about her inspiring video (above).

Danielle Brooks' Body-Positive Instagram Posts Are Summertime Inspiration For Curvy Girls

PeopleStyle: When you were shooting the video, how did it feel to put a positive spin on the negative comments some people have to say?
Danielle Brooks: Well it’s crazy how your mind works because you can receive hundreds and thousands of all these love posts and all this good affirmation on Instagram or Twitter. And then that one person writes one thing that dims your light but that’s the thing you can’t let it dim your light, because what I’ve realized — it’s really not your problem, it’s theirs. [It’s] whatever they’ve been taught or whatever they’re going through, so for me it’s just knowing that I don’t have to accept what you think I should look like and I do not accept what you think I should look like. I go by my own standards, and I will be the voice of the curves for the women that feel like they can’t stand up for themselves.

What do you hear from fans now?
DB: Beautiful things. I’ve always gotten like, “you’re a queen”‘ or “yes motha.” And “you’re beautiful” and a lot of people are saying that because I am confident, and they are finding themselves to be more confident. Especially when you meet them in person. When I’m at The Color Purple and greeting the fans after the show at the stage door and some girl comes up to you that looks like a reflection of you when you were ten years younger and they’re like, “oh my god Danielle, you’re so beautiful and you make me feel beautiful!” Like that will get you.

You tweeted once when there was a period of time where every curvy girl was getting the same black dress. Can you talk about that?
DB: I am really glad women are speaking out. It think it’s that fear of feeling like ‘oh my gosh maybe I am like tripping.’ Maybe I should change. And it’s like no! These designers are tripping. There’s 67 percent of women that are in this plus-size world that we live in. And that’s over half of the women in the world. So why are we not dressing for [them]? I don’t see why I can’t get to wear Tom Ford or why I can’t wear Gucci or whatever those big name brands are. I don’t understand why I can’t be your It girl.

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When you talk to someone like Christian [Siriano], what does he say to you about that?
DB: He’s doing something. And that’s why I respect him, and I love him so much for saying, “I would dress every type of woman.” And it makes you feel like you’re less than when you’re getting ready for like the Emmy’s or you’re being nominated for a Tony and you only have four options and three of them are in black or blue. It’s really not fun.

So this has happened to you?
DB: This Tony’s season! My options were few. And I looked at a few of my peers that were nominated as well that were being dressed and I saw their rack of choices and how fun and textured they were. Having frills and the bells and whistles with the dresses, and then I am getting black, blue, just like these classic boring dresses. I am ready to fight that fight alongside Leslie [Jones], alongside Dash [Dascha Polanco], alongside Nicolette and Gabby. I am ready to fight that fight with them and say no we are in the picture too. We are just as valuable.

What are you hoping your fans take away from this campaign?
DB: There are brands out there, plus-size brands, that all they want to do is sell their clothes and be done. But Lane Bryant is not like that. We have a voice and we have a platform to really change the way that women look at their bodies , and we want to be a part of that. We want to do everything that we can to help push the needle in this world, especially I think Hollywood’s standards of beauty are messed up and they need to be shifted and change and somebody needs to go in there with a big old boulder and just knock it down. And we’re seeing that in television, we’re seeing that in shows like Orange [Is the New Black]. We’re seeing it in shows like Empire; Shonda Rhimes’ shows. I am just really grateful that I get to be a part of this movement in a big way.

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PeopleStyle: What was most challenging about modeling at the shoot?
Gabourey Sidibe: Well I had been shooting a film all week and the Lane shoot was the day after I wrapped so I was a tad tired but it wasn’t super challenging. As Reese Witherspoon said in Legally Blonde, “What? Like it’s hard.”

Favorite red carpet moment to date?
GB: I like when red carpets are over. I hate red carpets in general. I don’t understand them. Can’t we just go directly into the party or can’t we just sit and watch this movie already? So what I’m wearing a pretty dress? What are we doing?

The last thing you bought online?
GB: I just bought African material on Amazon. I want to make seat covers for my counter stools and also new covers for my couch cushions. ‘Bout to be some straight Martha Stewart sh-t up in here!

Inclusive fashion that celebrates everyone has become a real movement – what does it mean to you to be not only a part of it, but now one of the faces of it?
GB: It’s lovely. I’m very proud to take part in something I’ve fallen victim too. Plenty of times, I haven’t been able to wear certain clothes because they didn’t come in my size. It’s nice to be on the right side of the inclusion conversation.

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Sports Illustrated Swimsuit cover model and body activist Ashley Graham’s last online purchase should probably go on your shopping list ASAP.

What’s the last thing you bought online?
AG: A LuMee phone case because I have to make sure the selfies are on point!

The thing you want to “borrow forever” from the shoot?
AG: The sexy black lace slip dress. I don’t want to just save it for the bedroom, I want to style it and wear it as a full look.

Best fashion tip you’ve gotten from your modeling job?
AG: I’ve learned a lot about fashion through modeling, but you know what they say, mother knows best. She used to tell me, “Your shoes, bags and belt better match before you walk out the door.” I love her, but I don’t necessarily agree with that advice anymore!

It feels like inclusive fashion is becoming a real movement. How does it feel to be a part of that?
AG: It’s really about time that fashion caught up with size diversity and started representing different body types, and I’m proud to be one of the faces for body positivity.

Alessandra Garcia (daughter of Andy Garcia) has a genius getting-ready trick.

What’s the first thing you splurged on with your big modeling paycheck?

AG: Probably my first big purchase was a pair of Chanel platform creepers. But the most I spent was on a personal trainer, I was so clueless in the gym and I really wanted to learn how to use all of those intimating machines without hurting myself.

What’s most exciting about this campaign for you?

AG: Everything! The photographer, the other girls involved, the brand, the message , it’s so hard to choose just one! It’s just amazing to be a part of something that you so strongly agree with and the impact it has had and hope it will continue to have on people.

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Best fashion tip you’ve gotten from your modeling job?

AG: This is more of a trick than a tip but it’s something I do all the time. You put a handkerchief over your face while putting on a shirt so your makeup doesn’t get all over the clothes. And Candice Huffine found the best motivating buy to help her train for her third half marathon.

The last thing you bought online?

CH: Custom Nike’s that say “You Got This.” I want that friendly reminder for my third half marathon coming up in October.

What’s the first thing you splurged on with your big modeling paycheck?
CH: I saved up a lot of them to buy a house.

It feels like inclusive fashion is becoming a real movement ­ your thoughts?

CH: It is 100 percent here to stay! We are lucky to live in a world made up of so many different kinds of people and I am confident in the direction we are going. I really hope that the fashion community will not accept anything that is does not represent everyone. Embracing uniqueness and showcasing the beauty of our differences is what I am all about so the fact that my words and image can impact positive change is a perk of this job I never expected I would have.

The thing you want to “borrow forever” from the shoot?

CH: The sense of pride I take away from doing something I know will be inspire women to feel confident about their bodies. And borrowing the hairstylist forever would be pretty amazing!

Reporting by Alex Apatoff

 

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