Megan Rapinoe leads an all-star cast of trailblazers in Abercrombie & Fitch’s inclusive new ‘Face Your Fierce’ campaign, which is a far cry from the racy ads that used to be associated with the brand.
The 34-year-old U.S. women’s soccer star is one of the 24 members of the retailer’s ‘Fierce Family,’ which includes Paralympian Scout Bassett, Los Angeles Lakers star Kyle Kuzma, freestyle skier Gus Kenworthy, and transgender model Leyna Bloom.
The accomplished athletes, performers, activists, and entrepreneurs featured in the campaign each exude an inner strength that personifies the brand’s six different Fierce fragrances, which were relaunched in 2019.
Throughout the year, the campaign spokesmodels will share their experiences of body positivity, self-empowerment, determination, LGBTQ+ equality, gender equality, overcoming obstacles, according to Abercrombie & Fitch.
One of Rapinoe’s portraits shows her donning a white T-shirt, ripped white jeans, and loafers as she poses on a rock in front of the ocean.
Her arms are stretched out and she wears a big smile on her face, recreating her celebratory pose during the Women’s World Cup last summer.
In another shot, she models a black and white blouse tucked into dark, high-waisted jeans with rips at the knees as she gazes at the camera.
The soccer hero told People she was excited to be asked to join the campaign.
‘I jumped at it right away. I mean, what a cool opportunity to be part of a big brand and a big national campaign with the lineup that they have. My high school self is like, “Oh my God, this is insane.”
‘It’s cool also to be able to get out of the sports world. I always jump at the opportunities to do something different and challenge myself and sort of get myself in a different realm. So this is exciting for me.
‘We didn’t even have an Abercrombie store in my town [growing up]— we had to go to a mall in a bigger town. It totally brings me back to my younger days.’
She also sees the campaign as a step to spread visibility of herself and her fellow US soccer stars, which she hopes will inspired kids.
‘We want kids to be able to look at us and not only see us on the soccer field. We want to say, “You can do whatever you want.” You can be doing Abercrombie & Fitch and you can be doing soccer and you can be involved politically and you can do whatever it is that you want to do.’
For the campaign, Rapino also struck a pose with Paralympian Basset, male plus-size model Michael Robert McCauley, Los Angeles Rams safety Taylor Rapp, and NFL veteran Ryan Russell, who came out as bisexual last year.
In the shot, he group wears ripped denim as they stand on the beach together in the black and white photo.
Basset, 31, has on shorts as she proudly reveals her prosthetic leg. The Paralympic runner and long jumper lost her leg in a chemical fire as a baby, but went on to become the fastest American of her classification ever to run the 100 meters.
Another black and white photo shows her modeling a denim jacket over a wrap dress as she laughs for the camera.
Meanwhile, Olympic skiier Kenworthy poses in a black and white campaign ad wearing sporting a leather jacket and giving a smoldering gaze as he holds a dog over his shoulders.
In addition to being a freestyle skier, the multi-hyphenate is a gay-rights advocate and an actor, most recently appearing in American Horror Story: 1984.
And NBA star Kuzma has proven that Abercrombie & Fitch isn’t entirely done with shirtless ads. The NBA star was photographed wearing nothing but athletic shorts while holding a basketball against his hip.
But in a rare move — possibly a first — for A&F, Kuzma’s tattoos are on full display.
The campaign images are a far cry from what Abercrombie has turned out in the past, and most of the faces featured belong to people who bring fresh diversity to the brand — and are used to breaking down barriers.
Model Laith Ashley, who is transgender, previously posed for Barneys, Calvin Klein, British GQ, Vogue France, Out Magazine, Elle UK, and Gypsy Sport.
New York fly fishing guide Maddie Brenneman is a rare female in the male-dominated fly fishing world.
The community activist group The Compton Cowboys, who met as childhood friends, use horseback riding to bring a positive influence to inner-city youth — and are dispelling the notion that African Americans can’t be cowboys.
Model Naomi Shimada wears a UK size 14-16, but has been outspoken against the idea of ‘plus size,’ and has worked with brands like H&M, Moncler, and Nike.
Houston Ballet soloist Harper Watters, a gay person of color, breaks stereotypes in his field, and participated in a campaign with the Houston Health Department to spread awareness about HIV/AIDS.
Comedian Andy Lalwani, another queer person of color, spreads acceptance on his YouTube channel, and professional rugby player Keegan Hirst was the second British professional player to come out as gay, back in 2015.
There’s also Nathalie Love, who founded the female led performing arts collective We the Women
The campaign also includes influencer and self-love advocate Halle Hathaway, professional big wave surfer Jojo Roper, dancer Adrien Dantou, artist Fernando Casablancas, model Georgia Fowler, and journalist Sabina Socol.
After years of facing backlash for its oversexualized ads featuring scantily clad models who were almost exclusively white, the company is working to prove its dedication to diversity by embracing cast members of all shapes, sizes, and ethnicities.
When Abercrombie & Fitch relaunched its famous fragrances in 2019, it explored the notion of what it means to be fierce.
‘Last year’s Fierce relaunch saw great success, and we are thrilled to share the 2020 edition of the campaign through this dynamic cast,’ said Kristin Scott, president of global brands at Abercrombie & Fitch Co., in a press release.
‘Our goal is to inspire our customers to feel confident, be comfortable and face their Fierce. Face Your Fierce speaks to our values of authenticity, self-love, perseverance, and ultimately, the countless expressions of Fierceness our customers embody.’
‘We’re moving towards a world of belonging, rather than fitting in,’ Joanna Ewing, Abercrombie & Fitch’s head of creative, told the New York Post.