Baldwin students model for Aerie’s celebration of Global Week of Inclusion photo shoot


Image via Aerie website

Baldwin students Kaitlyn Anderson, fourth from the left, and Daijah Massie, second from the right, modeled for Aerie's celebration of the Special Olympics Global Week of Inclusion.

Cassie Snyder, Features Editor

Modeling for a big company such as Aerie or American Eagle is only a dream for most young women, but for two Baldwin students it became a reality.

This past summer Special Olympics athletes and Baldwin students Daijah Massie and Kaitlyn Anderson participated in a modeling photo shoot for Pittsburgh-based Aerie to celebrate Special Olympics Global Week of Inclusion.

Aerie reached out to Special Olympics PA to find models for the shoot. Special Olympics then contacted Baldwin Special Olympics Club co-sponsor Eric Jancoski to seek interested students from Baldwin.

Anderson and Massie went down to American Eagle’s corporate office on the South Side for the shoot and met with several other area Special Olympics athletes and two models from Aerie’s “Real Role Models” campaign, Ali Raisman and Iskra. 

This was the first modeling experience for both Anderson and Massie. Anderson expressed her enjoyment and excitement about the shoot and modeling experience.

“I really enjoyed the whole process and it was something I would do again,” Anderson said. “I did it to show others to be bold and get themselves out there.” 

Jankoski agreed that the shoot was a great experience.

“I think it really helped bring them out of their shell even more and was a huge boost of confidence to participate in an initiative like this,” Jankoski said. “It was a memorable experience I’m sure they’ll never forget.” 

The girls were not only excited about modeling itself but also that they got to keep the clothes they were photographed in. They modeled several outfits, such as leggings, jackets, t-shirts, and sweaters. 

“The coolest thing about this whole endeavour was the fact that the pictures taken at the shoot were included on their website with real clothing items, so the girls were truly modeling the clothes, not just participating in a photo shoot,” Janoski said. 

The Aerie role model program includes women with diverse abilities, ages, body shapes and backgrounds as their models. This idea of diversity and inclusion has gone beyond Aerie is is part of a national movement in the fashion industry.

“This was another extension on their part to be more inclusive and showcase individuals with disabilities,” Jankowksi said. “It’s a big topic, as other retailers like Target have been focusing more on ways to better serve individuals with disabilities.” 

The pictures from the shoot were posted on Aerie’s websites and social media accounts over the summer.