Four New Zealand women have been chosen to front international beauty company Dove's latest ads, which features "real" women rather than the air-brushed supermodels more usually associated with cosmetics campaigns.
The "real women" campaign was launched internationally by Dove in 2004, and this is the first time New Zealand women have featured.
They shot hair commercials, which launch on TV tonight and will also be in magazines and on billboards.
Auckland mother of one Renee Haiu, 33, said it was daunting to find herself being compared to the touched-up women on TV.
"The process has made me think heaps about how I view myself and how I view women.
"I'm really stoked to be representing your natural Kiwi woman.
"That's what I am, but because I'm surrounded by these touched-up images, I can't help but go, ‘oh my gosh, I look terrible' when actually I don't, I just look normal."
Another featured Kiwi is mother of three Anna Paterson, 33, from Auckland, who found it a challenge to be "real" in front of the camera.
"I laugh at my own jokes, I find myself quite funny, so that's fine, that's what they liked about me, that's what they kept saying for me to do.
"For the first [audition] I was just apologising the whole time like ‘I promise I do look better, I do have more to offer'.
"They just made us feel really special, like they were so honoured that I was going to be behind the brand."
Both women were thrilled to be pampered and driven around in "hot-as cars", even taking home monogrammed robes.
Curly-haired Haiu said she straightened her hair every chance she got, and found it funny to end up being on a campaign for hair products.
Haiu said part of the fun of filming was the funny stories they told in front of the camera, recalling how her hair was set on fire as a child and how a perm went wrong. "The perm was worse than my curls!"
For both women the experience changed their views of their bodies and they were glad to show women what is real.
"They didn't take posey shots, they took real shots. That was nice that they were like ‘we think you look gorgeous'," Paterson said.
For Paterson it wasn't just about the hair: taking her makeup off and being confident in front of the camera helped to change her everyday perspective on beauty.
"I guess I grew up in a house where my mum wore makeup just to go to the dairy, you never left the house without your lipstick, now I am a product of that.
"There are a few days where I haven't really thought about putting on my makeup, I got used to people seeing me without makeup and no one freaked out, no one died!"
Jodi Smith, a registered school nurse, is also in the campaign, along with mother of two Brooke Straka, who has her own clothing label - Brooke Tyson.
- Sunday Star Times
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