Jari Jones is a fat, black, trans woman; and she is changing how the society sees beauty.
The transgender model, actress and activist shares her celebration of self-expression by popping a bottle of champagne in front of her billboard for Calvin Klein’s 2020 Pride Campaign, #ProudInMyCalvins. Alongside with eight other models like artist Gia Woods, 13 Reasons Why actor Tommy Dorfman, Brazilian singer and drag queen Pabllo Vittar and trans activist Chella Man, Jones collaborated with the American photographer Ryan Mcginley to showcase the full spectrum of the LGBTQ+ identities in the fashion brand’s Pride campaign.
She initially tweeted on June 19 in her Twitter account, “Today, on #JUNETEENTH2020 a Fat Black Trans Woman Looks over NEW YORK !!!” at the heat of the protests for the #BlackLivesMatter movement, along with demands for anti-racism and inclusivity among fashion and other industries. Then, she excitedly shared her accomplishment over Instagram, saying:
“There are moments that I heard about, that help you forget when the world told you ‘Never.’ There are these moments I heard about about that help you heal when the society has tried to beat you down, over and over again. There are these very real moments that I heard about that help you feel affirmed even when you don’t see yourself. I’ve been searching my whole life for those moments, I got tired of looking for those moments. So I decided to create them. Not for me but for the next dreamer, outcast, queer, trans, disabled, fat, beautiful black, piece of starlight waiting for their moment to shine.”
Jari Jones continues to break the stereotypes of beauty standards and the inequality in gender and race. With sheer joy and pride, she wrote “I present this image, myself and all that my body stands for to my community and chosen family, in hope that they see themselves more clearly than ever and further realize that they are worthy of celebration, of compassion, of love and gratitude.”
Calvin Klein stated that each of the models for the Pride campaign were chosen for their powerful yet relatable stories. The brand also expressed how proud they are to partner with Jones and share her story. “We are in awe of your courage and grace – you are an inspiration to so many,” Calvin Klein wrote in an Instagram comment on one of Jones’ posts. Ryan Mcginley said that “the theme of the campaign is taking pride in everything that makes you unique. Using a cast and crew that spans the full LGBTQ+ spectrum, we wanted to make sure that the entire community feels represented, included and celebrated.”
In a Youtube video of the fashion brand, Jones shares how she supports other younger members of the LGBTQ community. “I’m a mom to a whole bunch of queer youth. Some of these kids have come to New York City without a dime in their pocket and just a big dream. But, you know, they have things against them — they’re of color, they’re queer, they’re trans, and I’m just there to be their support.”
The model-activist is not just making history but is also molding a future where being an LGBTQ member, being black, nor being fat is not just tolerated but accepted. “It has been such an honor and pleasure to sit in my most authentic self and present imagery of a body that far to often has been demonized, harassed , made to feel ugly and unworthy and even killed,” expressing her perspective on the shared experience of the LGBTQ+ community.
Our present generation is structured in a way where being fair-skinned, skinny, gouge-eyed, tall and flaunting jawbone is the standard of beauty; where being part of the LGBTQ+ community makes someone less of a person that one would rather be closeted than to be categorized as such; where being black, Asian, or being part of any indigenous groups is an adjective that appeals for equality. Jari Jones is a concept that goes against all these inhumane standards. She is a representation of beauty that isn’t fair-skinned nor skinny, a representation that being non-binary is never something to be hidden, and a representation of color that never needs to fight for rights just to be equally looked at by the rest of the world.
Jari Jones is a fat, black, trans woman; and she is changing how we see beauty.