Lingerie company defends using genderfluid Drag Race queen Violet Chakchi for campaign
Lingerie brand Playful Promises has explained using genderfluid RuPaul’s Drag Race queen Violet Chachki in a new advertising campaign.
Chachki is featured in a major lingerie campaign, and she is believed to be the first drag queen to ever do so.
In partnership with Bettie Page Lingerie, Violet Chachki has launched a line by London-based brand Playful Promises.
And while the response has generally been positive, some have criticised the brand for using Chachki in the major campaign.
But rather than accept the criticism, the brand has hit back, explaining on Twitter to a disgruntled minority of followers why it made the decision to feature Chachki.
“Things you need to know about why we chose Violet Chachki to model our new range of Bettie Page Lingerie,” Playful Promises wrote this week.
“1. Violet is gender fluid. We did not choose ‘a man.’ We chose a gender-fluid person that is not represented in the media, and certainly not in the lingerie industry.”
“We also chose to use a non-binary model because the vintage/pinup community has certain issues with gender (also racism, but that’s another thread),” the company added.
“Often, there’s an implication that women who had less agency and freedom are ‘better’ than women now,” Promises continued.
“A non-binary model raises questions about how we view pinups of the past, and how we talk about images of women today.”
“So many lingerie campaigns are created with the male gaze in mind. Less so than 20-30 years ago, but it’s still there,” Promises adds.
“What does using a nonbinary model who is not a cis woman, shot by a woman, wearing lingerie created by women, say to you about the male gaze?”
Ending with: “Finally, were extremely proud of this campaign, we’re extremely happy with the feedback…Violet looks stunning always and… her style is so closely aligned with everything Bettie that it’s a match made in heaven.”
Speaking to the Hollywood Reporter, Chachki said: “I think the most impactful thing any gender non-conforming person can have is visibility”.
“She was a huge inspiration for my drag character. I often tell people that when I started drag, I was basically just cosplaying as Bettie Page.
“This campaign is really a full circle moment for me!”
Including the likes of corsets and strapped bustiers, the retro-inspired collection is favoured by Chachki because of its “hyper-femininity”.
“I think barefaced, minimal makeup happens mostly on editorial shoots,” Chachki said to Refinery 29.
“I’ve taken a swing at minimal makeup here and there, but I think a lot of what drag celebrates is the opposite of that. We have a lot of cisgendered female fans and I think the inauthenticity and the hyper-femininity is part of why it’s so celebrated.”
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“That’s exactly what a project like this does. Visibility and just simply taking up space in media lead to questions, which lead to conversation, which lead to progressive thought and change.”
“We try to keep our brands as diverse as possible, working with women of different ethnicities, shapes, sizes and ages, so it seemed a logical step to also explore gender,” says Playful Promises founder Emma Parker to US Weekly.
The range, which is priced from $26-$98, is available at bettiepagelingerie.com.
Images: ANNA SWICZENIUK/PLAYFUL PROMISES