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AerieMAN model didn't know the campaign was an April Fools' joke

2016-04-09
Last month American Eagle Outfitters unveiled what we thought was their new campaign, AerieMAN which promoted healthy male body image. The campaign featured four models as they spoke about that made them confident. However, a week after unveiling the campaign, American Eagle Outfitters released a statement explaining that the campaign was in fact an early April Fools' joke. The press release stated that "The brand reveals today that its #AerieMAN campaign, featuring a mix of quirky characters of different sizes and personalities sharing "real life" stories in their skivvies, was all in good fun to parody the #AerieReal campaign by Aerie, a leader in positive marketing." However they did promise to stop retouching their male models starting from Holiday 2016. Now, in an interview with Buzzfeed, one of the AerieMAN models, Kelvin Davis, speaks about the campaign and how he had no idea it was a joke.

I can't speak on the behalf of American Eagle. But I can speak on my behalf. I want to be clear, my involvement and stance for body positivity is 100% real. There is no joke about that what so ever. Of course the bubble bath, butt selfies and yoga were meant for comical relief of a newly and sensitive topic. I was a model in the campaign and every word I said was real and came from my heart! Body image is something I have and still struggle with to this day. As a man I try to open that dialogue through my blog and social media! People have been listening and the response is amazing!! Trust me when I say that even though the #AerieMAN collection itsself is not real, everything else was! Every word I said was heart felt from a place that so many of us can relate to. I look forward to what the future holds for me........this movement has changed my life in so many ways! I was beyond excited to be seen on GMA this morning. I guess for now I can deal with being called the "the brotha in the tub with a hat on blowing bubbles!" Lastly, does anyone know anyone, management or an agency that would be interested in representing me?!

A photo posted by Kelvin | Notoriously Dapper (@notoriouslydapper) on

"I have had people in the body positive community upset with me about this whole thing," he told Buzzfeed. "My part and contribution to the project was 100% authentic and real." He explains how everything he said in the video was real and unscripted. "We were asked questions about male body image and those were our responsibilities. Everything I said was heartfelt from a place we can all relate." He continued, saying that he "had nothing to do with the way it was marketed. My stance and advocation for body positivity has never been a joke. What I represent is 100% authentic." He ended the interview by saying that "I represented male body positivity before the #AerieMAN campaign. I represent male body positivity after the #AerieMAN campaign. Simple as that."