Left, by @francesweger. Right, by Emily Alexander.
Still in high school but already making waves in the art world, Ohio photographer Frances Weger captures the ethereal mystery of small town youth. We talked to the 15-year-old artist about her ability to capture young adulthood on camera, her inspiration and her experience being raised Period Proud. Then we collaborated with her on a shoot in her hometown, and it was pretty special.
We talk body hair, curves and rolls, PMS and periods with the young Seattle-based photographer Ashley Armitage — and trust us, she’s not afraid to show any of it. The artist uses a dreamy aesthetic mixed with an ‘80s nostalgia to portray the modern woman from the comfort of her own bedroom. We teamed up with the talented photographer for LENA’s second birthday and our Freedom of Summer photoshoot.
Whether it's an intimate portrait of a stranger or an obstructed nude of herself, San Francisco-based photographer Emily Alexander is obsessed with bringing beauty and emotion from the unexpected. We leaned in and took an up-close and personal look at her stunning photographs — talking inspiration, collecting Snapchats, and how, without a mother growing up, it was art that helped her forge her own path into womanhood.
Artists, activists and feminist powerhouses Mayan Toledano and Julia Baylis have been annihilating taboos since they met at art school in NYC, building the successful creative collective/fashion brand, Me & You. Using a cast of unique models, LENA collaborated with Mayan and Julia to show what real periods look like, using real women, while (really) on their period. Sneak a peek at our period proud photoshoot that embraces what it means to be the real you.
Burritos in the bath, floating in a public pool, or a heating pad and a terrible action movie. What’s your menstruation ritual? We ask people around the world how they comfort, soothe, and empower themselves during their periods. Then we teamed up with Emily Alexander and stylist Tate Ako for our five-part series, Monthly Behaviour. See part 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 here.
CONVERSATION AND COMMUNITY
Photos by @being_awake
In the last year, we’ve been feeling chatty — from discussing our favourite RUMP (reusable menstrual products) Youtube channels to harnessing your sense of confidence at any age. We also garnered some golden advice from Bree Farmer on what teens can expect from their first periods. As 2017 came to an end, LENA Loves rounded up what empowered, inspired, and delighted us over the course of the year.
We also welcomed the first LENA baby! Our founder Vili Petrova gave birth to Sibyl on June 22, 2017. Sibyl was born at home after what Vili describes as a super challenging but life-changing 12-hour active labour. “I really wanted to wear, prominent, somewhat exaggerated earrings during labour, to feel like a queen,” Vili says, “but never found just the right ones — still looking.” She keeps a record of all Sibyl’s pet names — 54 and counting. As for Sibyl, she is a curious, joyful, adventurous and tough babe! “She adores people and trees — and smiles when she encounters either. When she was a bit younger, she sang every time she saw a tree.” Our kind of gal.
Empowerment is at the heart of LENA as a brand, and thus, so is activism. In Doula, Cameroon only 50% of adolescent girls attend primary school and only 32% go on to enroll in a secondary school. Each one misses an average of four school days per month due to the lack of menstrual care and the shame associated with periods. The Community Development Network (CDM), a youth-lead NGO in Cameroon has made it their mission to empower girls by offering them sustainable menstrual products and education. For us, this was the perfect partnership – two organizations joining forces to combat menstrual taboo and empowering girls to handle their periods in healthy and safe ways. In 2016, while CDM provided the field training and education, LENA donated 500 LENA Cups for the girls.
That was just the beginning. In the last year, we’ve worked with organizations across the world to get sustainable menstrual products into the hands of the people who need them most. We’ve donated thousands of cups and supplies to such organizations as Jane Goodall’s Roots and Shoots foundation in Tanzania and the Akamba Children's Education Fund, whose outreach efforts are directed toward one of the world’s largest slums – Mathare North, just outside Nairobi, Kenya. We also work with universities across the world, donating cups everywhere from Dankook University in South Korea, to Lynn University in Florida, to Caracas Teaching Hospital in Venezuela.
And to all our readers and users, thanks for an amazing year with LENA! Stay tuned for lots of exciting news from us soon.