The Your Words! project came about through the combined ideas of three of our models, Liberty Sanders, Ryan Groves, and Charlotte Brown. The three of them have been modelling with 12 to 18 for several years now between them, and during that time have experienced more than their fair share of negative words. They were given the chance to take part in a free shoot, a chance to do something different. All they had to do was come up with an interesting idea. When the three of them came up with the same idea we just had to do it.
Inspired by the famous Little Mix photo, our models set about the message they wanted to say. Ultimately it came down to the fact that once words have been said, they cannot be unsaid. Even if the offender apologises the hurt is still there.
The Little Mix photo was one of many ideas that inspired the "Your Words!" photo shoot.
Although the project was put together fairly quickly it wasn't one that was undertaken lightly. We have over 30 models within the agency and everyone was asked if they would like to take part. We had a specific date in mind, which meant that a few couldn't attend anyway, and a few felt that it was perhaps too raw a subject for them. None of our models were put under any pressure to take part, it was entirely voluntary. The models ages ranged from Erin, who is 18, right down to young Sophie, who is just 9. Once a model had expressed a desire to be involved their parents also had to give express permission, which every single one of them did whole heartedly. In fact the response we got from the parents was as enthusiastic as it was from the models.
"I'm happy for Liberty to do this shoot. She’s been called many things unfortunately and I'm happy for her to use any word she is happy with. I think this is such a good idea and will hopefully send a very powerful message out."
The models were asked to come up with ten negative words that they had been called. For many reducing the list to ten was probably the hardest part of the project. Even though the words we eventually used are still quite hard hitting they did in many cases only represent the tip of the iceberg. Some of the words they could have used would really make you wonder about humanity as a whole.
The next thing to consider was the actual photo. Studio space was limited so very quickly it was decided to create a composite image that would be assembled in to a larger final edit. That made things easier, but despite that the models wanted a uniform look to the shot. To help achieve this the girls decided on a black boob tube and dance shorts as their outfit, with the boys opting for black shorts. Poses were kept simple and relevant to the mood of the shoot with the models expressing as well as they can just how they feel when exposed to the nasty words.
On the day the models arrived at allotted times and were painted up by the other models. It was very much a hands on event and everyone got involved as you can see in the video. Despite the seriousness of the message the models had a great deal of fun during the shoot, often joking about some of the crazy words that they have been called, and how ridiculous they are with some models having been called both fat and anorexic, when in reality they are neither.
As for the slogan, "Your Words! Don't like them? Don't say them!". We think it speaks for itself really. Although for the shoot the models painted the words on themselves, in reality it's been the haters who have actually painted on these words, and for what reason? Is being nasty to someone to the point where you make them give up their dreams in any way rewarding? It's beyond us that's for sure.