At the NEDA Annual Gala on May 16th, 2018 at the Pierre Hotel in New York City, Becca McCharen Tran of CHROMAT accepted the NEDA Inspires Seal of Approval Award. Her remarks that evening were powerful and we’d like to share them with you here…
Thank you so much Emme for your kind words. I’m so honored to be here with the other honorees Bruce and Mike.
I couldn’t have done this alone and I’m so lucky to have some of the Chromat team with me tonight- our Casting Director Gilleon Smith, Press Director Johnny Pizzolato with Reade Norman, Creative Design Director Ben Ritter, photographer Anastasia Garcia, models and all around inspirations Denise Bidot and Lauren Chan, Gary and Jaclyn at JAG and especially my wife Christine McCharen-Tran.
Through our work in the fashion industry, we are committed to celebrating #ChromatBABES of all shapes and sizes, ethnicities, ages and ability levels across the gender spectrum. We are fighting everyday for inclusivity on the runway, in the design studio and beyond. It’s time to explode our historically narrow view of beauty.
The most important message I hope to share through Chromat’s runway shows and campaigns is one of acceptance and the celebration of individuality. It sounds so simple, but it’s a daily act of defiance to be yourself when so much of what we see on our screens is about conforming to unachievable beauty standards.
This is a very full-circle moment for me. When I was 15, I was obsessed with fashion. I poured over Vogue Magazine and the Delia’s catalogue equally. To be fashionable was to be skinny with long, shiny hair. That’s what I saw as the ideal and it was reinforced everywhere I looked. And still is.
I wanted to be like the models, so I stopped eating. And if I did eat, it would be in massive quantities, late at night, alone. That would lead to me hating myself, and I’d finish my nights crying on the bathroom floor. It was a dark time in my life- my eating disorder consumed me. It was all I could think about- counting calories and waking up early to run several miles before putting my hair in hot rollers and doing a full face of makeup before school every single day.
My mom- thank god for her- committed me to a psych ward for teen girls and my life changed forever. It took me years to fully release the grip that food had over my life- but when it did, it was euphoric. I realized how much time I had to think about other things. To think about what I wanted to do with my life- what I was passionate about.
I hope that one day teenage girls (and boys and non-binary teens) growing up don’t feel that same pressure. I hope that our work at Chromat contributes to the fashion industry’s opening up to celebrate many different identities. And I hope that when people see Chromat, it reinforces the message that there are many different versions of beautiful and that every body is worthy of love, acceptance and empowering swimwear.
I am living proof of the impact that you can make after recovery from an eating disorder and I am humbled to be here tonight with each of you who are working in your own ways to help others do the same. Each one of us has the power to make a difference. Thank you for honoring our work tonight.
Becca McCharen-Tran is the founder and creative director of the architectural womenswear line CHROMAT. NEDA honored her in 2018 with the NEDA Inspires Seal of Approval Award for her work advocating for representation and diversity on the runway and designing to empower peopleof all sizes, ages, and across the gender spectrum through perfectly fit garments for every body.