This is how you change things one video at a time.
In September 2016 I made a short video about the negative effects of excessive advertising and photoshopping in fashion and beauty magazines. It went viral and was watched by 65+ million people around the planet. If you haven't seen it yet the link is below.
Two months later I was given the cover of Cosmo UK. This is the first time in the history of Cosmopolitan UK where a plus size model is being featured on the cover of their magazine. I think it is the first time because I went back 10 years and checked every cover they had and there was nothing like that (maybe except Rebel Wilson but that's a different category)
Now, it could be a coincidence. But the reason I don't think it is a coincidence is this: three weeks after uploading the video I was sent a screenshot of a message written by one of the key decision makers at Cosmopolitan who was defending the quality of the content of the magazine after seeing my video. I don't want to tell you the name of the person because I wasn't targeting Cosmo, it just happened to be a magazine I reviewed. It could have been any magazine.
The video made rounds in the fashion world and was talked about and I know this because I had thousands of messages and comments from models, photographers, editors, writers, basically all the people who make up the industry. And then there was this message. I think the chances are pretty big that Cosmo had to react.
But even if it was not my video, this move on Cosmopolitan's side is a great example of how a half-century-old magazine has to listen to what women say.
If I understand this correctly they have a combined monthly readership of about 2 million people and a circulation of about 400 000 here in the UK. I am not sure. Nevertheless! 16 mln views vs 2 million readers - I think you have to make some pretty drastic changes in the way you portray women if you want to stay in business. And the video is still being viewed - yesterday it had a total of 30 000 views on youtube and facebook. 30 000 views a day!
Why am I telling you this. You have the power to change the world around you. If anyone tells you you don't - you do.
I made my video using a 10 year old camera and a shoelace. And according to facebook the video reached 44 mln people. It made people realize how women are being portrayed in magazines. And I am not even a woman! What do I know about women's issues? All I care about is the truth and the ads in magazines just happened to be something that I didn't agree with and wanted to make everyone aware of.
You can change things. We live in a world where you can reach millions by speaking up about things that are wrong. Even if my video was not the precursor to Ashley being shown on the cover it was a part of a new wave of social media disapproval to what media and fashion industry really does to women around the world. And it is not a new problem - here is an edition of Cosmo issued a few months before my birth 36 years ago and it is the same story. Sex, you're not good enough, blah blah.
Now my video was supposed to be just an eye-opener about magazine ads but what I found out after it went viral was truly shocking. I know I overuse this word but this time I can say I was shocked by how abusive this industry is. The video has something close to 160 000 comments, I read maybe 2000, it is physically impossible to read more. But reading them was like opening Pandora's box.
If you want to know the truth about the fashion industry and what I found out, let me know and I will make another vlog about this.
For now just remember this - you might think your small voice can't be heard - that is not true. You can reach millions and initiate change in the world. It is all about telling the truth and addressing important issues. Go for it.
Also these magazines exist only because they have readers. They will have to change their content if the readers tell them to. They can get away with only that much abuse before people stop buying the magazine. They have to be flexible and they have to adjust. And they have to listen to your voice. You can help millions of women by simply speaking up. Say something and connect with others and they will have to listen to you.