Dutch National Ballet’s newest soloist Michalea DePrince is now the face of Jockey. In this inspirational and uplifting new spot, DePrince not only shares her origin story but illustrates just how to turn a “flaw” into a signature. There are so many things that are refreshing about this ad, starting with the way it is shot. It is not sleek and glossy rather like most spokesmodel ads, it is natural in lighting and feel. Michaela is not overly styled, she is not a glossy, buffed and shined, photoshopped version of herself rather she looks like… her and she is beautiful. The overall pared down aesthetic brings us closer to her, makes her accessible, and that is hard to find in celebrity spokespeople. DePrince is warm and relatable like the girl next door, although as she shares her story you realize she is anything but.
As Deprince is seen pirouetting in her underpinnings she recounts her origin story, from war orphan to international ballerina. Though she has told her story many times (in a book, Ted Talks, talk shows etc.) she does not feel scripted, actually she is quite a matter of fact. Her candor and authenticity create an intimacy that draws you in. You want to stand back in awe, and give her a hug at the same time. She also evokes dichotomy in her two images as well, her dancing body is strong, her movements fluid and graceful drawing calligraphy with her limbs. In her still shots she is delicate, petite and girlish, belying the strength she possessed to survive her early years and later to thrive. There is gentle maturity and in her voice a soft strength with no edges. Captured in this commercial is the beautiful contradictions of the human condition at it’s best, Deprince is at once all things: vulnerable, powerful, fragile, direct, insightful, strong, mature, passionate, eloquent.
Another refreshing aspect of the spot is that fact that in it DePrince and her body are not sexualized, (admittedly not an easy feat when a woman with a well sculpted body is dancing around in her skivvies). The camera’s gaze is carefully and respectfully choreographed, it roams her limbs but does not linger too long, there are no crotch shots as she developpeés and jetés nor is there any under booty cleavage, her Jockey’s fit perfectly. Not is it is not afraid of capturing her her vitilago, it gets close (but not uncomfortably so), it observes not objectifies her. Jockey has taken a page out of the Dove Real Beauty campaign, it not trying to seduce you, but inspire you, let you know that you are enough, we don’t need a lot of makeup or fancy lighting, just a girl and her story. Here the brand takes a back seat to this message. They have put Michaela DePrince in all her melanin strong brownness center stage. It is Jockey/Michaela literally stripped down and it works. You can safely encourage children to watch it and not worry that they are seeing something that might be selling more then underwear.
The message is clear, she is selling the idea that you can do anything, be anything, if you have a dream and hope using her own story of empirical evidence.
“My parents gave me hope, my family gave me hope, dance gave me hope. You just can’t have life without hope”
She gives us insight into how she has not only built her self up but has accomplished her dream of becoming a world class ballerina:
“Every time single time something good happens I believe in myself just a little bit more”
DePrice wants to make in impact on others to encourage them, give them hope, the hope that helped her survive. She wants to make them believe in themselves:
“Love yourself for who you are, Love your flaws, and enjoy Being unique, enjoy being different”
And she does it all in JOCKEY.
Congratulations Michaela and Kudos to you JOCKEY