Days ago, Kim Kardashian West announced that she’d renamed her shapewear label from the controversial Kimono to Skims. The change was met with much excitement and admiration for taking action in the face of criticism for her original brand name. Today, she’s made another admirable and inspiring effort, by featuring 64-year-old Alice Marie Johnson as her first official model for the newly re-positioned Skims. As you may recall, Johnson was sentenced to a life-plus-25-year sentence without the possibility of parole for a first-time, nonviolent drug offense. After learning of her heartbreaking story, West began to look into Johnson’s case and, with a team of lawyers, went to the White House to persuade the president to pardon her. He did, and Johnson was freed from prison on June 6, 2018. Since then, West has been studying to become a lawyer herself, dedicating herself to learning about criminal justice reform.
In the short Skims clip that West shared to her Instagram Stories this afternoon, Johnson is captured discussing her story and giving praise to the celebrity who gave her a new life. “My name is Alice Marie Johnson; I’m from Memphis, Tennessee; I’m wearing the sculpting bodysuit,” she says confidently. As she starts to talk about West, Johnson says that while she was in prison, she “didn’t even know who Kim Kardashian was.” She added, “she went to war for me… to fight for my freedom; that’s why I call her my war angel because nothing stood between her and my freedom.” Johnson’s story is a powerful one, and it’s a message that West clearly wants to continue to promote, even through a conversation about shape wear. Skims was first positioned as an inclusive “solution wear” line, and West’s choice to put Johnson front and center in her first video campaign is a testament to this initial inspiration. Plus, Johnson appears to genuinely love her sculpting bodysuit.