Getting Real: My Experience Modelling with Type 1 Diabetes

By Evelyn Riddell

When I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (T1D) at age 12, I knew nothing about the disease. How could I, when there was rarely any mention of it in the media?

Last spring, Aerie hosted an open competition looking for women to appear in the store’s campaign – #AerieREAL. I entered by filming a 30-second video of myself explaining why I wear Aerie bras, and what the #AerieREAL message means to me.

Staying true to Aerie’s slogan – “Don’t change you, change your bra!”, its creative team prioritizes the comfort and safety of their models. In fact, there was never any staging; every time that I would put on a new outfit I placed my pump where it felt natural. While working at my most recent photo shoot, I experienced a low blood sugar on set for the first time. The Aerie team was incredibly helpful and eager to learn how to assist me in any way as needed.

Since the campaign launch, I have received a flood of support from the T1D community. That is how I knew this campaign was not only about me but about all those individuals living with T1D who see themselves reflected in me. I never expected to make so many personal connections with strangers who bravely shared their stories. I have received pictures of girls wearing their Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM) proudly with their prom dress, and others from parents of children wearing their devices visibly for the first time with a huge smile to match. 

I would like to thank the T1D community for its support and its overwhelming acceptance. Similarly, I am appreciative of the media outlets that covered this story, and I hope it encourages more companies to embrace Aerie’s body-positive message. I look forward to the future and to more opportunities to represent the T1D community on a national scale.

Until then, I will continue to advocate, educate, raise awareness, and support individuals living with T1D.

Instagram – @evie_ann

Twitter – @evie_ann_

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