“Love yourself no matter what size or shape you are.” — That’s the message from ‘Walking Dead’ actress Ann Mahoney. “The pressure of social media and photo-shopped images of what is perceived to be the ‘perfect body’ is just that, a perception,” says Mahoney. Ann Mahoney is an American actress who portrayed Olivia in AMC‘s The Walking Dead. Now the ‘Bad Moms’ actress is joining forces with Gwynnie Bee to show women how you can look chic, stylish and fashionable whatever size you are.
“The majority of women are size 14+, and they are historically under-served. We saw an opportunity to improve these women’s experience with shopping and finding clothing,” says Christine Hunsicker, Founder & CEO of Gwynnie Bee. Gwynnie Bee: How It Works :is an online women’s clothing subscription service for sizes 10-32 where you can rent your wardrobe with free shipping and unlimited exchanges.
“I battled for years with my weight, especially growing up in the world of ballet and dance. Being cast as Olivia in the “Walking Dead” made me realize that if I had looked any other way, I probably wouldn’t have gotten the role”, says Mahoney.
According to the American Psychological Association, the obsession with being super thin is on the decline. More and more people, especially young women are focusing on healthy lifestyles and less stress.
“Everyone has a different genetic makeup, what works for one person may not work for another when it comes to living a healthy lifestyle,” adds Mahoney.
Society is changing gradually to embrace all sizes. This year’s Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue cover girl; Ashley Graham is a size 16. Magazines and fashion houses are moving away from when only super-thin models wore bikinis. Many magazines have also stopped using Photoshop to create the perfect women.
“From a young age, women are taught to look to celebrities as role models. We make it personal,” says Mala L. Matacin, Ph.D., an associate professor of psychology at the University of Hartford. “We start to look up to them, and it’s not totally a good thing.”
According to The American Society for testing and material (ASTM) the ready-to-wear sizing system that existed before the ‘40s was first developed for menswear. Bust sizes for women were not accurate and sizing in general is not keeping up with the ever-changing lives of women in America.
In 1958, a size eight would fit someone with a 31 inches bust, a waist of 23.5 inches and a hip girth of 32.5 inches.
In ASTM’s 2008 standards, a size eight had increased by five to six inches in each of those three measurements, making it about a size 14 or 16 in 1958.
“Working with Ann is great! I love her message. I have four daughters and it’s a constant struggle showing them that perfection doesn’t exist. I want them to grow up being confident in themselves. Ann is both successful and a good role model for young women,” says Photographer Cynthia Kehoe.
“I want young girls to look at me and see a successful actress, wife, and mother and not the size label on my dress. Shopping for clothes can be depressing, sizes seem to be different in each store. I always think that one size fits all means– it doesn’t fit anyone.” Says Mahoney.