This week, WWE.com posted a gallery of photographs featuring women’s wrestlers from Raw, SmackDown, and NXT.
That’s not unusual. While the days of swimsuit galleries are in the past, the site still runs a weekly “Best of Instagram” feature every week, at least half of which are usually posts from the ladies. Those, like pretty much every time we see the Superstars, are filtered and depict the wrestlers in make-up. While it’s not their intent, that contributes to image-driven self-esteem issues among fans.
It’s something this gallery, “Raw Beauty: WWE’s first-ever no makeup photo shoot” is designed to counteract.
Mixed in among the shots of Sasha Banks, Bianca Belair, Dana Brooke, Carmella, Charlotte Flair, Rhea Ripley, Ruby Riott, and Io Shirai by photographer Sophy Holland are quotes about what the experience was like. My personal favorite is from the badass Belair...
In a perfect world, these kind of gestures wouldn’t be necessary. If your self-esteem is such that you don’t need them, or you haven’t felt the kind of societal pressure Bianca and the others describe - that’s great!
But there are plenty of folks for whom seeing their favorites presented without embellishment is meaningful. Ripley’s been retweeting messages and pictures from people who’ve been touched or inspired by the gallery on her timeline, if you want to see the impact.
So we’re offering up a virtual “This Is Awesome” chant to WWE, Holland and her eight brave subjects.
Check out the entire gallery of pictures and quotes here. And thanks to Cagesider extraordinaire JBL’s Other Boy for pointing us to this video where Bianca, Carmella, Dana, Io, Rhea, and Ruby were interviewed after their shoot: