RLK member promotes positive self-image through body art

Together, junior Anna Tailleur and senior Carly Anzalone created a project combining body art and photography to promote a healthy self-image as a part of Royal Lady Knights’ Body Positivity week. Tailleur is the artist behind the project, while Anzalone is the photographer. (Sarah Hashmi/Staff Photographer)

Communication major junior Anna Tailleur has started a project with psychology major senior Carly Anzalone called “Grow Through What You Go Through.” The goal is to empower themselves and other people through body art and photography.

Both Tailleur and Anzalone are members of Royal Lady Knights, a service and social sorority that hosts a “RLK Positive Body Image Campaign” every year. Throughout this week, the sorority presents different events focused on encouraging people to value their bodies more.

Tailleur created this project not only for RLK’s Body Positivity week, but also to bring together her passion for body positivity and art.

“This started over break when [my friend and I] were painting flowers on our breasts,” Tailleur said. “We put them online, it wasn’t sexual at all; there were flowers on them. It was taken down, and I was livid about that. I’ve seen some really explicit things on Instagram and my flower boobs weren’t one of them.”

Tailleur started body painting with her best friend from home over break, and decided to continue this project with RLK’s body positivity week.

“I didn’t want it to be sexual,” Tailleur said. “I didn’t want to be taking photos that are explicit. Obviously your boobs are out so someone is going to think that is sexual, but it doesn’t have to be. That’s why I’ve been painting flowers, things that are meaningful to them.” 

Many of Tailleur’s fellow members of RLK have participated in her project, coming with ideas of what art they would like on their bodies. 

Different women have asked to have flowers, abstract designs and meaningful objects to be painted on them. Tailleur has received an immense amount of support from her sorority, but has also made an extra effort to include a more diverse group in her project.

“I wanted to invite people who aren’t in RLK to join in, too,” Tailleur said. “While I feel like RLK is very diverse in terms of body shape and racial backgrounds, I feel like having a positive body artwork with a bunch of sorority girls posing with their boobs out, that’s a statement, but it’s not as inclusive as I want it to be.” 

For Tailleur personally, her struggles with her body and sharing her art publicly pushed her to spearhead this project.

“I’ve just recently gotten into sharing my poetry online, which is a very interesting experience,” Tailleur said. “It’s super personal, and that’s kind of the reason why I started doing it. I’m really inspired by people who feel comfortable sharing those things with others.” 

Tailleur combines body positivity with art in an effort to bring art to Geneseo’s campus while also uplifting her friends.

“If we can put art on our body, that’s a positive thing, no matter what you look like,” Tailleur said. “People look at their bodies in a different way when there is a painting on it. This experience is about the experience of the art itself rather than the art itself.” 

In the future, Tailleur would like to continue not only with this project outside of RLK’s Body Positivity week, but also after leaving Geneseo.

“This is something that is super important to me, and I feel like I’ve gotten nothing but positive things from it,” Tailleur said.