Just six months ago, fashion influencer and curve model Remi Bader wrote out her goals and compiled a list of companies she wanted to work with. Aerie, one of the first brands to champion the same body positive movement Bader promotes on her social media channels, was at the top of her list.
The influencer has since amassed a following of over 1 million users on TikTok and 115,000 on Instagram by posting realistic clothing hauls and getting candid about her mental health on both good days and bad. And now, she's partnering with her dream brand to launch the next chapter of #AerieREAL.
For the new campaign, Bader — along with actresses Keke Palmer, Lana Condor, Ava Michelle and Skai Jackson, Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman, TikTok star Sienna Gomez and other influencers including Lauren Chan and Manon Matthews, journalist Danae Mercer, model and CEO Taylor Cassidy — will challenge social media algorithms that often perpetuate unrealistic beauty standards by posting authentic and realistic content on TikTok and Instagram.
Bader tells PEOPLE exclusively that Aerie "aligns with everything" she's doing with her own brand, joking, "It's almost weird how much sense this partnership makes."
"I'm very against being that influencer that's just showing the good parts of yourself. I want to show everything," she says. "I think that's what this campaign and Aerie stands for as well."
As part of the challenge, the brand encourages people to create original content on both TikTok and Instagram using the #AerieREAL, tagging @aerie on TikTok and using custom sound titled #AerieReal by Sienna Mae Gomez for Aerie. For every post, the brand will donate $1 (up to $100K) to The National Eating Disorders Association.
The model applauds Aerie for embracing the raw and unfiltered nature of TikTok by hiring some of its biggest stars for this campaign, explaining that "a lot of brands are afraid to jump into TikTok" because it's still a new platform.
"Nothing against Instagram, but I think that TikTok is what made people start being okay and feeling more confident to be their true selves," Bader says. "That is the kind of stuff we need on social media. We don't want to see the other BS anymore. We want to see the real stuff with the real creators. And I think [Aerie] taking a leap and doing this first is just amazing."
Bader's TikTok account really took off when she started trying on her purchases from popular brands including Zara, Aritzia and Revolve in front of the camera. Instead of letting ill-fitting or unflattering clothes make her feel insecure, the influencer has found a way to laugh off her all-too-relatable fashion dilemmas.
When asked how she found the courage to start sharing an unfiltered version of herself with the world, Bader reflects on the "two types of confidence."
"I feel like there's mental confidence, which I've always had. I care about what people think a lot, but at the end of the day, I'm like, 'I'm going to do this because this is me and this is who I've always been,' and I just stand by that," she says. "Then there's the body confidence side of it, where I truly want to keep pushing that."
"I gained a significant amount of weight this past year and I'm definitely struggling with it. I tell my followers I don't have an extreme amount of body confidence, but this is who I am and I'm going to share with the world who I am," Bader continues. "I'm not going to edit myself and pretend I'm someone else."
"I am who I am and I'm just going to put it out there. I think the reason I keep doing the content I'm doing is because I'm putting out who I am and people are liking it and want to see more."
The overwhelmingly positive response from her fans and followers motivates Bader to continue posting — and hearing how she's inspiring others helps her brush off the occasional negative comment.
"After a few [realistic clothing hauls], I started getting messages from hundreds of people, which is now thousands and thousands of people, writing me novels how I'm changing their life and making them feel more confident about their bodies. Everything that I'm sharing, these people are like, 'Thank you for putting it out there because these are things people never spoke about and it needs to be talked about and be more normalized.'"
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