The beauty brand's new campaign encourages you to fight the knee-jerk reaction to scrutinize your appearance during video calls.

By Faith Brar
May 18, 2020
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Beauty brand Billie is notorious for challenging outdated beauty standards and normalizing body hair. In fact, Billie was the first brand to ever show actual body hair in a women's shaving ad. (The brand also helped women embrace their facial hair for Movember.)

Now, as stay-at-home recommendations continue during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Billie has launched a new campaign focusing on the undue pressures many people feel to look a certain way while working from home. After all, when you spend a ton of time doing remote video calls, you're also spending a lot of time looking at yourself—and, as many people can attest, needlessly apologizing for what you look like during those calls.

Dubbed "Are We Doing Video?", Billie's new ad campaign features a montage of people criticizing their appearance during real Zoom calls. "I look ugly in HD," one woman is heard saying. "I looked in the mirror [and] I screamed," adds another. Several more are heard remarking on other so-called "flaws," including under-eye bags, unwashed hair, flaky lips, gray roots, grown-in eyebrows—the list goes on. (Related: What Happened When Our Beauty Editor Gave Up Makeup for Three Weeks)

"You name it, we've apologized for it," reads the campaign video's Instagram caption. "But when we say sorry for that stuff, aren't we really just apologizing for looking like… ourselves?"

Georgina Gooley, CEO of Billie, says the campaign was inspired by her team's own experience while working from home.

"As our team began to work remotely, we realized that we were all constantly apologizing for the way we looked during video calls. Our first instinct upon seeing our faces was to say sorry," Gooley tells Shape. "There's no doubt that there has been a huge shift in the way women are getting ready in the morning right now, and we kept finding ourselves apologizing for just looking like our natural selves."

"The campaign has definitely left an impact on us here at Billie," she adds. "We've recognized the onus we all carry to meet certain expectations for how we should look and we're finding ourselves starting to log onto video calls a lot more freely and without hesitation these days." (Related: Women Are Still Judged By Their Weight In the Workplace)

The campaign launch follows Billie's $100,000 donation to local food banks across America that are serving the immediate needs of people affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

The brand's biggest goal, however, is to encourage people to ditch the sorries and shrug off the pressure to look like anything but themselves, shares Gooley. (Related: How to Use Positive Self-Talk Every Day)

"While we know that it's going to take more than just a film for women to feel a complete sense of freedom around the way we look, we hope that this film starts to open up thoughts and conversations around the unreasonable expectations placed on women," she explains. "It's something that needs to be talked about in order to be overcome."

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