‘Love the Skin You’re In’ promotes positive body image

Erika Crowell

The Office of Health Promotion sponsored the sixth annual “Love the Skin You’re In” fashion show featuring student, staff and faculty models in order to promote positive and healthy body images on Feb. 22.

The show, hosted by the Tri-Delta sorority, Athletics and the Clay Center, corresponded with the National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, which helps to prevent eating disorders and body image issues and increase access to treatment.

Faculty, students and sororities and fraternities donning their letters were in attendance. 

Upon entering, facts were projected for the audience to see, such as “Today models weigh 23 percent less than regular women, rather than models 20 years ago who weighed 8 percent less than normal women.” 

Another fact was that “42 percent of first to third graders want to be skinnier.”

The fashion show was divided into different themes, each with a distinct message for the audience. Vendors such as Banana Republic, Joseph A. Bank, South Moon Under, Fr3sh and the University of Pennsylvania African Studies Center participated by donating clothing to be modeled. 

The first segment, “Different is Beautiful,” reinforced the notion that individuality and self-expression creates confidence and beauty. 

Another segment, entitled “Be You,” stressed the importance of taking pride in one’s roots. 

Styles ranged from comfort wear to business attire, formal wear and athletic wear and clothing inspired by Wildcat spirit. 

Each student, staff and faculty member was not a stereotypical runway model, but was chosen to represent his or her unique beauty that adds to the diversity on campus. 

“The show was uplifting and remained upbeat and attention- grabbing throughout its duration,” freshman Anna Riverso said. 

The Villanova dance team, Villanova Sirens, Villanova Whiskey Company and The Haveners performed to support the cause during different segments of the show. 

“This event was a clear demonstration to our student body that beauty and confidence happen not when we compare ourselves to unrealistic stereotypes, but when we live from within, following our goals and dreams with a sense of purpose,” said Assistant Director of Health Promotion Kathryn Quinlan-Poet. “Someone with a healthy body image has a clear perception of their body and understands that someone’s physical appearance says very little about one’s value as a person.” 

In addition, a handful of Villanova female athletes gave their input on what the show meant to them. 

They spoke about “big and muscular” appearances and how they learned to love their “tough physiques” and see themselves as beautiful. 

Quinlan-Poet summed up the overall message of each segment, including “Be You,” “Love Your Body,” “Know Your Passions,” “Be Confident,” “Love Your Unique Beauty” and “Different is Beautiful,” saying that each contributed to promoting healthy body images.  

“I hope students left the program with the understanding that we all come in different shapes, sizes and colors and we should encourage each other in promoting body respect and appreciation,” she said. “The Villanova community was able to witness real students, staff and faculty showing us that they are comfortable and confident in their own skin.”