Rubens Rebels 2018

‘In a society that profits from your self-doubt, loving yourself has become an act of rebellion’

Here at Art & Soul Tribe we are gathering together all of the Rebels who are proud of their ‘flaws’, who aren’t afraid to celebrate their bodies, show off their stretch marks, small boobs, big bums, barrel chests and tummies, be confident with their shape, whatever that may be – short, tall, slim, curvy, scarred, inked, we want to show off the beauty that makes us human – our diversity.

As part of our mission to tackle bullying and hate crime & raise self-esteem and confidence across the country, we are starting with a little self-love and hope to spread our message of positivity far and wide.

We are so incredibly proud of this year’s amazing models, Nick Gregory, Inch (Peadar Caragher), Mishy Mc, Ian ‘Beany’ North’, Ruthy Red, Emma Vickers and Essy van der Vlies.

Thanks to the vision and photography skills of Liverpool’s Bri Mansy we have been able to create these beautiful images and will be looking to grow in numbers for 2019 and beyond.

Model Essy talks openly in her blog about being terrified as a 44 year old mother of 2 children showing up for the shoot full of apprehension about being judged as ‘not being good enough’ or ‘normal’ - already suffering with low self esteem herself she was expecting to be laughed at but nothing could be further from the truth. As Emma and Ruthy confirmed when we interviewed them afterwards, the project was liberating and empowering, with nothing to hide behind, not even hair & makeup, let alone clothes, it was a combination of terror and power at showing the real you, being totally vulnerable and opening yourself up to ridicule and judgement. In actual fact the opposite happened.

The vibe was so supportive and positive that fears soon evaporated and were replaced with a sense of power and purpose. For Mishy who was completely new at our latest shoot, her biggest motivator was to show that even as a grandmother, you shouldn’t be made to feel that your time is over and you can’t celebrate your body or feel beautiful and glamorous.

These ladies are amazing role models for women and girls everywhere at a time where there seems to be a severe lack due to the increasing popularity of ‘reality’ TV (which couldn’t be further removed from ‘reality’ if you ask us!)

What about the boys? Our amazing brave guys who bare all and take a stand to support and acknowledge all of the men out there with crippling self esteem and self doubt, who can’t talk about how they feel for fear of being ridiculed and told to ‘man up’. What about all of the guys out there with eating disorders or those self harming or unable to face public situations for fear that they don’t measure up to societies version of ‘normal’, ‘attractive’ or ‘manly’.

Nick spoke to us after the boys first shoot last year about never being able to take his tshirt off at the beach due to worries about his size -this is the guy who sat on the sofa with Piers Morgan shortly after and flew the flag for all of the men out there who don’t fit the socially constructed mould and helped the nation to realise that it’s just as hard to be Ken as it is to be Barbie.

Alongside Ian, the boys travelled the length of the country last year for TV and Radio interviews, with Ian appearing on Granada Reports with myself, something that he was incredibly nervous about but knew that he could make all the difference to someone else out there suffering.

Inch had come all the way down from Birmingham and met everyone for the first time, an act of absolute bravery as he knew he would be able to make a difference to all of the guys out there who are subject to remarks about being too skinny, something that seems to be perfectly acceptable as it’s only ‘fat shaming’ that’s a problem right?!

The simple act of stepping outside of your comfort zone and taking a stand to make a change is not only liberating and empowering for the individual, but as these guys will tell you, the ripple effect can have an impact across society and create an electric vibe of positivity for everyone that is infectious in all of the right ways and works to undo a lot of the negativity that has been pushed out into society over recent years. We believe that the fashion & beauty industry has a lot to answer for and however we can, we aim to challenge and change things that will make a fundamental difference to peoples lives, and create a more positive environment for future generations.

The images will be used as part of Art & Soul Tribe’s campaign to support their charity, the Social Education Foundation, to engage our youth via school and community workshops to teach the next generation that the ‘one size fits all’ image of beauty that they are bombarded with is not only unrealistic and unattainable but damaging and dangerous.

Our long term aim is to combine their well renowned public fashion & entertainment show with their deeper social message of diversity, tolerance, positivity and support to create lasting social change around a number of issues including bullying, metal health, body positivity, LGBTQ and social deprivation.

Watch this space as the journey continues ……

(see full video here)

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