#theREALcatwalk: A Flash Mob Runway Show in Times Square to Celebrate All Bodies
Victoria’s Secret ain’t got nothing on this.
On Saturday December 1 the 2019 #theREALcatwalk, the third and largest iteration of the guerilla style, flash mob-like fashion show came to Times Square. More than 200 models from all over the world- from Italy, California, London, Texas and more – walked in lingerie and swimsuits in a symbolic act to celebrate all bodies and highlight the need for diversity and inclusivity in fashion and beyond. All photographs by Holly Grace Jamil. Established four years ago by by model and Next Top Model alum Khrystyana Kazakova, the mission of #theREALcatwalk has since expanded to highlight broader issues: a statement on body acceptance, self love, mental illness awareness, visibility, feminism and diversity. She tells Salty, by creating #theRealcatwalk, “I’m using my platform and privilege to celebrate other people” she told us. This year’s show was organized in less than two weeks, with the support of a growing network of body acceptance activists. Casting was open to the public, and coordinated through social media. This year, Salty came on board as the media sponsor.
“What a dream to be a black, plus sized trans model and open up a show in the middle of Times Square and have the world at you feet” says model Jari Jones, who opened the show. “We are on the brink of real change in this industry.”
She also says “It’s not just about being curvy, it is about being yourself. It doesn’t matter if you are curvy, petite, trans, athletic, over 40, over 50, it is just about knowing you are beautiful.”