If you’ve taken a peek at actress Storm Reid’s Instagram feed in the past few days, you’ve probably caught a glimpse of her basking in the Grecian sun, flicking it up in some of the chicest swimwear imaginable. For the eye-catching looks, we have Reid herself to thank, who just released a line of must-have swimsuits with brand Pacsun in celebration of her 18th birthday.
“I like to be different and I don’t like to follow what other people are doing,” the star tells ESSENCE. “So I thought, ‘Hmm, what is something that I can put out in the world that will catch people’s eyes?’ I of course do everything from a space of authenticity and passion and I’ve just always loved swimsuits.” Reid says that she has her older sister to thank for the swimwear obsession. “When I was little, she started buying me swimsuits every year and it just morphed into this huge collection. Every year I’m buying tons of swimsuits, so why not create my own?”
However, Reid was well aware and well prepared for how monotonous the category can get. That said, she and the Pacsun team spent lots of time creating a collection that would stand out from the rest. “We wanted to make each piece different and make the collection as a whole inclusive for all women, for all body types and for all people,” she says. “We also worked on making the colors feel rich but accessible. We were always talking about this idea of “massclusivity,” where you want to feel a little bit exclusive, but you also want it to feel accessible at the same time and you want to appeal to the masses.” The ArashiBlu Collection, named after a brand created with Reid’s mother in 2019, is all about being okay with being different. “It’s just really about trying to find or trying to define what beauty is without restriction,” she says. “It’s also about being yourself and having collaboration and community mix together to combat this idea of being perfect. I want people to put on these bathing suits and yes, feel beautiful, but also know that that they don’t have to be perfect, that I actually want them to be perfectly imperfect. “
And with each style named after someone special in Reid’s life, her favorite look in the collection is the one dedicated to the most important person: herself. “Oh man, I’m biased,” she says. “I just love the silhouette of my bathing suit. I think it’s just super dope and embodies the essence of who I am.”
But to truly understand swimwear is to understand the complex relationship that women have with their bodies. Reid’s hope is that the collection can aid in supporting healthy interactions. “Thankfully I have a pretty good relationship with my body and I know that I was created in a beautiful image—we all were,” she says. It’s just about embracing that. I’ve created a great relationship with my body with being so young because I am very active, I like to be outside, I like to work out. All of that has helped with my self image and how I view myself. But like I said, we are perfectly imperfect and there’s just things that we have to accept and embrace.”
The collection, as well as the milestone birthday, isn’t one that Reid takes lightly. “I’m just very excited that I can vote,” she says. “I think I’m still trying to come to terms with turning 18. I felt like 17 was such a beautiful year for me because I was able to do a lot. I was able to work and I was able to learn myself, which I feel like I needed. Seventeen is a holding pattern where you’re not 16 anymore, like you’re not a fresh teenager. You’re almost on the cusp of adulthood—so you’re kind of confused.” Reid says she’s still in that space of trying to figure it out and trying to come to terms with being a legal adult. “That’s blowing my mind,” she says. “But I just hope I can continue to just do the things that I’m doing and be of service and continue to make my dreams come true. And in the midst of that, try to help others do the same thing.”
When asked to reflect on what she thinks 13-year-old Storm would think of the current her, the star become especially reflective. “God, that makes me emotional,” she says. I’ve been an emotional wreck—but I hope she would think she’s very cool and that she’s doing really cool things in the world and she’s not selfish even though she’s doing things that make her happy and is trying to make her dreams come true. So I hope she would be proud of me.”
Shop the entire ArashiBlu Pacsun collection, available in XS-XL here.