Fiercely Feminist: Char San Pedro And Her Quest For Women To Be Undivided
Committed, refreshingly optimistic and fiercely feminist. These are some of the qualities that could be used to describe Char San Pedro.
Char is a Toronto-based model, entrepreneur, philanthropist and feminist. While many might recoil at the idea of becoming embroiled in conversations about feminism, Char not only welcomes them, but strives to create spaces for dialogue to occur. Char embraces feminism in all its seemingly confusing, provocative and norm-disrupting beauty.
For her, feminism goes beyond catchy slogans and Instagram-friendly buzzwords. Char wholeheartedly believes that at its core, feminism is “the acknowledgement of equality towards a world that is equal in the social and economic level for everybody.” She actively pursues having these ideals permeate every aspect of her work, especially the work she does with her initiative Good to be Good.
LAYING THE GROUNDWORK
Inspired by her grandmother, Char laid her feminist foundations since her childhood days. Char learned to appreciate the inherent value in every individual, and through this understanding, she cemented her belief that our happiness is inextricably linked to one another in seemingly mystic ways. As such, she firmly believes that when we do good unto others we contribute to our own happiness. Upon this premise, she embarked on her philanthropic and professional journey.
Her grandmother had instilled in her the importance of giving, not as an obligation but as a lifestyle. Char grasped early on in life the long-lasting effects a single contribution can have in transforming individuals, communities and even entire societies. However, once Char moved to the city and entered the nonprofit world, she quickly became disillusioned with the corporatization of larger charities.
With a deep longing to support local causes in a way that truly upheld those childhood ideals, she decided to forge her own path. Good to be Good was born.
GOOD TO BE GOOD FOUNDATION
Good to be Good is an initiative that operates at a grassroots level in Toronto; it’s mandate is “to ignite social change and raise donations that support the long term vitality of [their] partnered shelter organizations and charities.” The impact that Good to be Good has had demonstrates that "small yet mighty acts of kindness," as Char calls them, go a very long way in constructing the alternate future we want to see.
Good to be Good has three primary focus areas: women’s rights, social justice and anti-poverty. Char strives for Good to be Good's work to reflect her deep conviction that in order to achieve true equality, women and other vulnerable groups need to access spaces to be recognized, appreciated, celebrated and heard. Char’s faithful commitment to doing good, and her unwavering feminist stance, inform everything Good to be Good does - something their campaign UNDIVIDED unequivocally displays.
UNDIVIDED is a campaign full of artistry, unabashed optimism and contagious joy, meant to embrace the female form in all its glory. UNDIVIDED celebrates women of all backgrounds, shapes, sizes and colours through the use of art. Art is a ubiquitous and undeniably influential force and, by leveraging this medium, Char aims to shape the way women view each other and how we regard diversity.
The images of UNDIVIDED remind us that each individual is comprised of unique and diverse layers that go beyond what meets the eye, and that it is all worth savouring, celebrating and embracing. As Char puts it, diversity is akin to a quilt, a patchwork of different colours that come together and fit together - it is a not a formulaic endeavour that can be reduced to simple colour quotas.
UNDIVIDED itself is a project that practiced what it preached. Tara Noelle, an experienced photographer in the modelling industry who shared Char's vision, did the shoot. Everyone present the day of the shoot was a woman, and every product used was sourced from socially responsible, female-led brands.
For many years, women have been pitted against each other; they have been in some ways conditioned to see and highlight the differences between one another. UNDIVIDED attempts to challenge this.
A visual project like UNDIVIDED demonstrates that "women can coexist, and if not coexist, thrive together." UNDIVIDED emphasizes the beauty contained both within each individual and in women as a collective. Every image reminds us that despite our differences - and indeed, perhaps precisely because of them - we are stronger together.
Producer: Char San Pedro / Good To Be Good Foundation
Photographer: Tara Noelle,
Design: Pussy Willow Florist
Beauty: Elate cosmetics
Make up and Hair: Kathy Nguyen, Melanie Quigg
Director: Jelena Subotic, 920 Films
Writer: Ana Merino Espinola
Styling/Clothing: Rachel Pally, Native Youth UK, Zingara Collection, Citizens of Humanity, Shop Bop, Figs Underwear
WOMEN: Char San Pedro, Ann Pirvu, Tia Duffy, Nirvana Seepersaud, Shani Feldman, Megan Leonard, Nicole Simone,Zara Hemmings, Desiree Shaka, Colombe Nadeau-O'Shea
BTS Video by: Jelena Subotic