There is some celebrating going on over here. A lot of “Can you believe it” conversations happening over and over again. It is funny how sometimes you are so close to something that you can not even see it. This past week Changing the Face of Beauty hit 100 companies committed to changing the look of their advertising. Committed to using at least one model with a disability in 2015. Sounds easy doesn’t it? It wasn’t. There was nothing easy about gathering these 100 companies.
We started out with the weak number of 15. I thought to myself when my husband said 50 that 15 was a great start for 2015. Perfect, #15in2015 flowed nicely and lets get real here, I knew I would be lucky if I get close to that number. With the help of my friend Heather Rodriguez I threw the hashtag and a video out there and waited to see what would happen. I sat back and watched it slowly gain just a little momentum. A couple weeks went by and I was for sure I had failed. How did I define failure? Well at the time it was throwing out a video and an idea that I wasn’t 100% sure would peek peoples interest. In my mind that was a failure. I was embarrassed, tears were shed (not joking, lots of them) and I felt bad I had lifted hopes of families with the thought that others would catch on and really help us make a change in the advertising industry. I wasn’t giving up but I wasn’t quite she what the next step was.
The funny thing is, every time there is a dream for Changing the Face of Beauty, an answer always follows that dream. A friend once told me it was brilliant the way all the events are timed and I looked at her and assured her that I had no hand in it. There was someone else orchestrating all those events from above . “This campaign is anointed” another friend said over and over. I believe that now. The organization is right, it is asking for something that should already be and its asking for the right reasons. It all goes back to karma. If you are well intended, and doing something for the right reasons things just work themselves out.
This past December that happened once again. Heather Bradley, the mom of Izzy, now known as the Target model who stole the countries heart, contacted me and asked if she and her organization, Down Syndrome Diagnosis Network could help bring more attention to the need for change within the advertising industry. They were the fire that #15in2015 campaign needed to get off the ground. It takes one person with an idea but to make that idea work you need another person who believes in your idea and another after that. Now we sit here scrolling through 102 companies globally who believe and have committed because they want to be part of this change.
So now, whats next, you might ask. I am searching for the same answers. I plan to continue to do what I am good at. Talk about the importance of inclusion in our every day imagery and to continue to support the participating companies as they create imagery that will change the world. They are working to recreate the real world and for that I am eternally grateful.
Where are we going from here? Good question. We are working on 2016 and we are super excited! We are putting together packages to present to these awesome companies and looking forward to working with them side by side. We hope to really impact the messages they send out through advertising and investigate ways we can help increase opportunities in the work force for people living with disabilities. This is all exciting and there will be more to come I promise.
The thought of working with 100 companies passionate about seeing all their customers was a dream and it is now a reality. It is a really big deal. Something that took many hours and resources to achieve but we did it and I am confident we will take this show on the road. There are so many amazing people wrapped up in this campaign from companies, new contacts, moms and dads, and people who just care. These last couple of years have been life changing for us all. The opportunity to connect with people we would otherwise never connect with. I believe there is a whole lot of opportunity here to really change the future not only for my kids but yours too.
So you want to help? You really want to help? WE NEED YOUR HELP. We need you to be present when you are shopping. We need you to make conscious decisions when looking for retailers. What is important to you? Is it the future of your loved one or friend that happens to have a disability? If that is true do you want that future to be bright? Think about supporting companies that are encouraging your families and if you feel encouraged write a note and say thank you. Thank you is really all we are asking for.
Can we count on you?
I hope you are as excited as I am! We really are Changing the Face of Beauty.