Special Olympics and lifestyle brand Aerie have announced their new partnership that will expand Aerie’s #AerieREAL campaign to include models with intellectual disabilities! To celebrate people of all abilities and build on this inclusive campaign, Aerie recruited six Special Olympics Pennsylvania athletes to participate in a photoshoot for their new active wear line alongside Chelsea Werner, a model and former Special Olympics Northern California athlete, Olympic gold medalist Aly Raisman (#AerieREAL Woman Ambassador), and model Iskra Lawrence. Photos from this inclusive photo shoot will be used to promote the #AerieREAL campaign across Aerie’s digital platforms as well as an in-store marketing campaign with point-of-sale consumer donations running from 8-31 July 2019.
Hear from Chelsea, Aly, and Iskra about what inclusion and togetherness means to them in their joint interview on NBC’s TODAY Show here! See some of the great behind the scenes footage from the photo shoot here!
Meet the newest faces of the #AerieREAL campaign!
Kaitlyn is a rising senior at Baldwin High School who competes in Unified bocce, basketball, and athletics with Special Olympics Pennsylvania. Off the court, she contributes her leadership skills as a member of the Special Olympics Club Executive Board, an active participant in the high school choir, and an employee at her school coffee shop. This school year she will also serve on the board of Baldwin High School’s new Best Buddies chapter. Kaitlyn has volunteered at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh South and currently works at her local Goodwill retail store. Outside of school, Kaitlyn plays baseball for the Miracle League and embraces her artistic side through theater arts, ballet and modern dance classes!
Jessica is 26 years old and has been with Special Olympics Pennsylvania for 17 years! She enjoys long distance walking, bowling and bocce, but bocce is definitely her favorite because she is part of a Special Olympics Unified Sports® with her mom Pam. She is also an avid animal lover and enjoys fostering Great Pyrenees dogs. Jessica shares her enthusiasm for Special Olympics as a Global Messenger for Special Olympics Pennsylvania, representing the athlete voice at national conferences and advocating on behalf of people with intellectual disabilities on Capitol Hill. When Jessica is not working her job at Mitchell’s Fish Market, she is enjoying time with family and friends. She is always interested in looking her best and putting her most fashionable foot forward, earning her the nickname Princess!
Though Dee struggled to walk most of her life, through perseverance and determination, she has trained her muscles to allow her to walk with a gait trainer. She finished her first kid’s marathon two years ago, marking the first time she walked by herself for a full mile! Dee brought that same ferocity of spirit to her training as a swimmer with Special Olympics Pennsylvania. Today, she also competes on McKeesport High School’s swim team and varsity cheer team thanks to the courage and confidence she developed as a Special Olympics athlete. Dee has a passion for childcare and continues to pursue vocational training in hopes of one day becoming a childcare professional.
At age 14, Daijah took part in Special Olympics Pennsylvania’s Summer Games at Baldwin High School; and, as they say after that, the rest is history! Since joining Special Olympics, she has competed on the Interscholastic Unified Sports bocce team at Baldwin High School and Special Olympics Pennsylvania’s Baldwin Basketball team at the University of Pittsburgh. Most recently, she found her groove with bowling; but luckily, her ball did not find that same groove! Daijah is also an accomplished artist who took first place in the “Art the Universal Language Contest” in 2014 and received an award for her accomplishment by the governor of Pennsylvania!
Emily is a social butterfly who enjoys making new friends through sport. Though you can find her competing in swimming, athletics or basketball with her high school peers and Special Olympics Pennsylvania athletes, you can also find her on the sidelines firing up the crowd and cheering on her peers as a member of a special needs competitive cheer squad. Emily is an avid animal lover who enjoys cooking and making chocolate in her spare time.
Hannah Jane Petrucelli is a recent graduate of Fox Chapel High School. Her sunny and sweet disposition endears her to everyone and she is known as a wonderful cheerleader for her fellow classmates! And, although she didn’t play bocce, she especially enjoyed attending Special Olympics bocce competitions as a spectator. This past spring, Hannah had the opportunity to participate in the Special Olympics Pennsylvania’s Unified athletics program. Her time spent practicing really unlocked her passion for running; and now she frequently sprints between destinations even on simple daily outings! Even though Hannah has recently found a passion for running, it will never take the place of her favorite pastime – shopping! This fashionista loves to hit the mall and shop with her sister Tess.