Target's new swimwear campaign features model with rare skin condition

Jeyza Gary had never booked a big campaign before landing the 2020 Target swimwear campaign.
Target said they intentionally book models that reflect their customers. "We want our guests to see themselves reflected in our campaign," Courtney Foster, a Target spokesperson, said.
Target said they intentionally book models that reflect their customers. "We want our guests to see themselves reflected in our campaign," Courtney Foster, a Target spokesperson, said.Courtesy of Target

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/ Source: TODAY
By Samantha Kubota

Target’s 2020 swim campaign features Jeyza Gary, who has a rare skin condition called ichthyosis.

In the stunning California sunlight, Gary posed in a yellow bikini among about a dozen other women of all body types for the campaign.

Model Jeyza Gary rocks a yellow bikini for Target's 2020 swimwear campaign. She has a rare skin condition called ichthyosis.Courtesy of Target

It was her first booked campaign, she told TODAY, and it couldn’t have gone better.

“It was super chill,” she said. “I didn’t feel intimidated at all, everyone was so accommodating and nice.”

But Gary, 21, doesn’t seem like she would be easily intimidated.

Despite the genetic condition that makes her skin scaly, Gary said she has always believed in self-love.

“Obviously, I have limitations but I’m not the kind of person who highlights things I can’t do," she said. "I just work around them."

The 21-year-old has been modeling for about two years and signed with a New York agency last May. She decided to become a model after one of her classmates wrote in her high school yearbook that she should go for it.

“The timing couldn’t have been better,” she laughed. “Now here we are!”

Gary explained that she’s aware of the example she’s setting for people with non-traditional looks, and she’s hoping that will help change the landscape of the modeling world.

“I think that’s why it’s so important to push past some of the things that make me uncomfortable because I do know that I’m the first one to do this,” she said.

The other women in the Target swim campaign are of all shapes and sizes — something Target representative Courtney Foster said was by design.

“We are looking to ensure the models we partner with are truly representative of our guests,” Foster told TODAY. “We want our guests to see themselves reflected in our campaign.”

She said they have done a similar campaign with their swimwear for years and never retouch the pictures.

“This year, the campaign slogan is ‘being you always fits’ and that’s what you will see on the campaign,” she explained. “It’s how we really use (that) lens to think about confidence and self-expression.”

Gary echoed those sentiments, adding she thought it was “beautiful” to see.

“What better way to market to regular people than to have models that look like regular people?” she asked. “You want to see real bodies, real skin because that’s what’s out here.”