Even during a week hiatus, the stars of ABC Family’s Pretty Little Liars make sure to keep us intrigued. This time around, Ashley Benson posed topless under a denim jacket in a photo she uploaded to Instagram Wednesday, which I'm assuming is the latest addition to Benson's Find Your California editorial spread. The image gives off a strong '70s vibe. Think Rihanna meets hippie culture, with a Polaroid camera filter. Groovy.
Southern California native Nico Guilis launched Find Your California in early November 2014 in order to highlight female empowerment. Having established herself as a makeup artist prior to graduating from art school, Guilis used her cosmetic artistry and photography skills to develop unique editorial features focused on inspiring females.
“We feature a girl a week and then a beauty story a week, so that you cannot only be inspired by somebody, but you can also learn something cool to do with your hair or makeup,” Guilis tells Harper’s Bazaar . “We also supply a platform for girls on a part of the site called "Share the Stoke," where you might meet an artist from Alabama who is 15 and unknown and needs help going to college — and she'd appear next to someone like Poppy Delevingne, who's story is launching in November. I think that way it gives people a kind of even playing field… that we support women no matter what.”
Judging from the website's overall theme, Benson definitely embodies the Find Your California image. There is nothing more empowering than a woman who does what she wants, when she wants, and Benson has been known to live life according to her own rules. Guilis has dedicated her focus on women who take pride in themselves, and I strongly believe that Benson knows and owns exactly who she is.
During an interview with Cosmopolitan , the conversation took a turn, inquiring about the Pretty Little Liar's wardrobe. "If I had gone to high school," she says, "I would have rolled out of bed and showed up in sweats. I mean, I want to work with Woody Allen; that's one of my goals. And every film he does, the wardrobe is so simple, no makeup or hair, and that's what I love in a movie — a natural human being, not dressed to the nines, false lashes, all done up."
When I first came across Benson's shots for Guilis, I was a bit surprised by her willingness to be photographed topless since she had previously stated that she wasn't super interested in posing nude. However, the photography is so tastefully done. Benson has a line drawn when it comes to nudity and would not hesitate to put her foot down if she feels said line is being crossed.
"I never want to do nudity that's gratuitous," she tells Cosmo. "Girls look so much better in lingerie or a tee shirt and leave the rest up to the imagination."
By acknowledging women who are mentally and emotionally strong, who put themselves out there and own their natural beauty, mind and soul, Guilis continues to inspire us through her editorials. Guilis has brought women empowerment to the surface, and by highlighting actresses like Ashley Benson alongside the every day woman just trying to get by, will only bring us closer together as a unit and strengthen our movement as real women who thrive.
Images: itsashbenzo/Instagram(4), findyourcalifornia/Instagram(2)