‘Viva La Vulva’, Indeed!

This three minute video is as hilarious as it is empowering. Enjoy your womanhood a little extra today.

 

This hilarious and (by today’s standards) provocative viral ad campaign has pushed boundaries in the category of depicting femininity in all of its glory. The three-minute video shows off the sumptuous embodiment of female genitalia in natural and admittedly funny ways. At the end of the day, it’s all about de-mystifying the essence of what’s going on “down there” and embracing its unique brand of magic. Don’t take our word for it:

We spoke with Alia Wilhelm, the Director’s Assistant on the project about her experience and the idea behind this wonderfully whimsical concept from feminine hygiene brand, Libresse.

How did this project come to be? How did it develop from the original idea to the masterpiece it is today? Lol
I wasn’t involved in the beginning stages of the project, so I can’t speak on behalf of the director, Kim Gehrig. By the time I joined the team, they had already come up with a whole heap of beautiful ideas about the many different kinds of vulvas we could include in the video. After that, it became about casting, wardrobe and art direction, and about finding illustrators and objects that would tell the story.

Can you briefly explain the concept in your own words?
The project is “punny” in the sense that it involves lip-syncing vulvas. If you stop and think about that play on words, it’s immediately funny. There are singing vulva puppets, singing camel toes, oysters that quiver and shake in beat to the song, a very vaginal fortune cookie, a series of hand-drawn vulvas, origami vulvas and lots of really amazing women. The ad was shot and edited almost as if it was a music video, with quick cuts and these beautiful animated vulvas moving in time to the song. But behind all of its amazing art direction and lovable humour, the ad also has a very humane and ultimately serious message behind it.

What was your role within the production?
I was the Director’s Assistant on this project, so I helped gather all of Kim’s ideas into one place. We had a huge document where we broke each part of the video down into separate scenes, and each scene had storyboards, image references, casting photos and costume ideas in it. The document we had – the “Bible” – got bigger and bigger the closer we got to production. I helped with finding illustrators and I also contributed my own illustrated vulvas, so I spent a significant amount of time drawing and worked with the VFX team to figure out how to animate my work.

Yesss, there is so much going on in the video and it all works perfectly. Was it a smooth collaboration altogether? I’m guessing there was plenty of female energy going on.
I think we struck a beautiful balance, both in terms of pace of the video and in terms of the energy we had on set. Everyone involved was so into the project. It had a really sweet, lighthearted tone to it, but we all supported its serious message, too. Both Kim and Lee, the producer, were really adamant that all of the contributing illustrators should get paid well and also get credited for their work. That’s quite rare in the commercial world, but it was important that the way the ad was created was in line with its ethos. We wanted everyone to feel valued and proud to have been a part of the project.

What is the core message of the video – it is technically an ad, so beyond just “buy our product”?
It is an ad, but personally I don’t think it feels like one, even at the very end when you catch a glimpse of the products. I think the message behind the video is to embrace not just your vulva and the way it looks, but also to embrace who you are. It’s important for it be funny and sassy and sweet at times, because at the end of the day what it’s saying is that this is part of you but it also doesn’t define you. Let’s have fun and be proud of who we are without overstating the importance of the physical. We are all different down there and there is no such thing as the “perfect vulva,” contrary to what is shown in porn, which a lot of women are affected by. So this project was about celebrating what you do have, instead of feeling shy or ashamed of it. It’s not good or bad, it just is.

How would you describe the experience as a whole?
For me personally, it was an incredible learning experience. Just to see the whole team working so hard and then to see all of those hours translate into this beautiful video was really valuable. I loved seeing how all of the different departments worked together, working to bring Kim’s vision to life. We had some really eye-opening casting sessions, which eventually led Kim to include those really candid interviews with real women at the end of the video. That was probably my favourite part of the experience, because it really showed that there was value in what we were doing – there were so many women, of all ages and backgrounds, who talked about the struggles they had with accepting themselves. It’s just part of the human condition, I guess!

Thanks, Alia, and shoutout to Libresse for the love!