Video's bold message to women: Stop apologizing for the way you look on Zoom

Personal care brand Billie released a new, thought-provoking video.
Billie is known for their thought-provoking video campaigns about body image.
Billie is known for their thought-provoking video campaigns about body image.Billie
/ Source: TODAY

Do you ever find yourself apologizing for the way you look on video calls? With many of us relaxing our beauty routines while following stay-at-home orders or working from home, it can be tempting to feel like you have to explain why your roots are showing or why you suddenly stopped wearing makeup.

But what if we all just stopped apologizing for looking like ourselves? That's the question personal care brand Billie poses in a new short film called "Are we doing video?"

Shot entirely on Zoom, the video follows a series of women who critique their own appearance while chatting with friends. "I can't even look at myself, like, that was painful," one woman says, while another says, "Sorry, that's my bad side."

During the minute-long video, women apologize for everything from gray hairs and under-eye bags to flaky lips and out-of-control hair. One woman even jokes: "Seriously, the phone won't unlock with my face."

But then, everyone quickly changes their tune and decides to embrace their perceived flaws. A few sashay their way into the frame, rather than cower into the corner, and one woman with gray roots sees a true silver lining, saying, "Look at all this wisdom."

Georgina Gooley, co-founder of Billie, said her team was inspired to create the film after they began working from home and caught themselves apologizing often for their appearance.

"Studies find that women apologize more than men because we have a lower threshold for what constitutes 'offensive behavior.' While it shouldn't be the case, it seems not looking ‘put-together’ warrants more of an apology from women, than it does from men. We’re all guilty of apologizing for how we look every now and then but we're hoping to actively change that mentality," she told TODAY Style.

Working from home means a lot of us are spending less time getting ready and Gooley said Zoom has become somewhat of an accidental mirror: "We catch ourselves using the video to fix our hair or tame our eyebrows. Since we’re literally coming face-to-face with ourselves, sometimes for hours on end, we have more opportunity to criticize how we look and we’re a little more inclined to excuse our appearance than we were before."

The brand, which recently expanded their product line to include clean body and skin care, will also be donating $100,000 to local food banks across America as part of the ad campaign.

Filming the video has definitely left an impact on the Billie team, and Gooley hopes it influences others, too: "We've found ourselves turning on our camera without as much hesitation, embracing feeling like an occasional mess and spending less time explaining why we haven't showered. To us, this film will be a success if women start to catch themselves before instinctively apologizing for the way they look."