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This Generation's Calendar Girls Are Shaking Up Society's Standards on Beauty, and Rightfully So

This Generation's Calendar Girls Are Shaking Up Society's Standards on Beauty, and Rightfully So
IMAGE White Castle
There's definitely an importance to highlighting real bodies through these calendars, and White Castle is doing it right with its latest models.

You've seen them boarded up on the walls of barbershops, sari-sari stores, and anywhere where consumers of liquor roam. For the longest time, alcohol brands have been producing calendars to market their line-up of products. Gracing these glossies are the entertainment scene's most sought-after vixens, typically clad in the sultriest ensembles.

Certain personalities immediately come to mind when we think of a "calendar girl." From socialites like Georgina Wilson to beauty queens like Pia Wurtzbach, posing for these campaigns is getting the validation that you've got one of the fiercest figures in the biz, perverted minds and voyeurs be damned.

Pia Wurtzbach for Ginebra San Miguel, 2019
PHOTO BY Ginebra San Miguel
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Over the years, several starlets have transformed into femme fatales with the click of a camera. These ladies definitely have all the right to show off their bodies in whatever way they please, and if it helps garner sales for a partner brand, then all the better right?

Though, with each bottle sold does come a telling truth: These girls all sort of look alike. The clamor they receive is definitely well-deserved, but over time, it's turning out to be like there's only one specific "look" that sells. A trim waist, a conventionally attractive visage, fair and blemish-free skinwhat have you. It's no secret that show business has perpetuated a singular image of perfection and desirability, and it'll take quite the rupture to switch things up.

Chie Filomeno for Ginebra San Miguel, 2021
PHOTO BY Ginebra San Miguel
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Yassi Pressman for Ginebra San Miguel, 2022
PHOTO BY Ginebra San Miguel

And then Sassa Gurl appears on the 2022 spread for whiskey label White Castle. The TikTok star, who proudly identifies as a transwoman, jokingly recalls how she simply sent in an application when the brand released sign-ups. "Bakit hindi nagca-calendar girl ang mga bakla, eh kami yung laging gumagastos sa inuman!" she exclaims in a TikTok video

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PHOTO BY White Castle

As the campaign made waves all over social media, several members of the LGBTQIA+ community celebrated finally seeing someone like them in a space that was usually reserved for the conventional. Sassa attributes this milestone to those who fought for the representation and visibility she now revels in.

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"Ito lang yung isa sa na-open na doors. Sobrang thankful ako sa mga nauna sa akin, kasi dahil sa paglaban nila, nagawa ko ‘to at napapakita na paunti-unti nakaka-contribute ako sa community para mas lalong magkaroon ng acceptance, at hindi na lang tayo basta tino-tolerate," says the internet sensation in our June 2022 cover story.

PHOTO BY White Castle
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With such a tough act to follow, White Castle pushed the envelope into a new direction and tapped Ria Atayde to star in their 2022 calendar. The actress has expressed that she feels like she "sticks out like a sore thumb" among her peers who are less curvy, but there's certainly no questioning how stunning she looked in her official photos.

PHOTO BY White Castle
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Rocking the most flattering swimwear, the actress was living proof that being a calendar girl is not a one-size-fits-all. Yes, she bears a couple more pounds than her colleagues, but honestly, who's counting? She did once tell Preview that, "Times are changing. At this point, everybody's all about embracing their curves [and] flaws." She looks damn good, and she's certainly living up to the legacy of her fellow vixens. 

PHOTO BY White Castle
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While posing in a bikini in order to advertise liquor might not be every actress' dream job, there's virtue behind flaunting every nook and cranny of your body, especially if they don't necessarily adhere to what society perceives as "pretty", "hot", or "sexy." These standards are what dictates who gets assigned to front a project like a calendar. When brands see what the masses are attracted to, their natural next step is to book someone who ticks off that checklist. Whether we want to admit it or not, people like Sassa and Ria don't make the cut according to that list.

It's for that very reason that getting them to front such a campaign back-to-back is viewed as monumental, and in some ways, as a risk. Going the "unexpected" route might be detrimental to White Castle's marketing efforts, but just the very fact that we're talking about it proves it hasn't. That list of standards is now futile. We're now immersed in a discussion of what makes a calendar girl in the first place, and it looks like were inching towards a conclusion that she can look like anything. In a world where representation of real bodies on real people matter, this is a risk that's definitely paying off.

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PHOTO BY White Castle

There have been several conversations about beauty standards, and efforts have definitely been made to counter them. Sassa and Ria modelling for the whiskey brand is only one of them. At the end of the day, the only standard that should matter is if someone is able to captivate consumers enough that they've no choice but to purchase a bottle or two. It's a task anyone with enough starpower can pull off, nevermind how they look.

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