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It’s as certain as sand between your toes: Every summer, a slew of catchy, lighthearted love songs dominate the airwaves. But Colbie Caillat’s 2014 entry, “Try,” isn’t the traditional boy-meets-girl bubblegum track—it’s a love letter to natural beauty with a powerful, body-positive message.
In Caillat’s music video, released in late July, the singer slowly strips off her makeup and hair extensions while singing lyrics like “Take your make-up off/Let your hair down/Take a breath.” Women of diverse ages and races join her, starting out with “perfect” hair and makeup and transforming, by the song’s close, into their natural, bare-faced selves complete with untamed hair, wrinkles, and glowing smiles.
The video struck a chord and it’s been viewed almost 20 million times. In interviews, Caillat said she was nervous to stand in front of her crew without an ounce of makeup, but that she was inspired by the women who joined her. “They were so beautiful and comfortable, standing there with a smile as they were singing with no makeup on,” she told the Los Angeles Times. “They weren’t hiding in their own skin, they were just like, ‘Yeah, this is me.'”
Perhaps she also took a few deep breaths, since Caillat has championed mindfulness in the past. In the below segment for “Sesame Street,” Caillat and rapper Common teach Elmo and his friends to “belly breathe” in times of stress.
It’s a refreshing message to hear from a pop singer: Breathe, find your center, and stay true to yourself—no matter your size, age, or the color of your fur.
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