Addison Rae shot her American Eagle #AExME Back to School campaign from her bedroom

By Jodi Guglielmi
July 21, 2020 02:19 PM
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Addison Rae

Addison Easterling wants to encourage her 51 million TikTok followers to embrace their "most authentic selves" and her new campaign with American Eagle is helping her do just that.

The TikTok star (aka Addison Rae) is the new face of American Eagle's #AExME Back to School '20 ads, which features the brand's first-ever virtually-produced shoot (due to the coronavirus pandemic).

"For me, being a part of the #AExME BTS '20 Campaign is about sharing how I express myself," the dancer tells PEOPLE. "AE gave me, and the other six real kids, complete creative control — we even styled and photographed ourselves in our own bedrooms."

Easterling, who says she's been wearing American Eagle jeans "for as long as I can remember" and modeled AE's new Dream and AirFlex+ Athletic denim styles in the campaign, opens up to PEOPLE about why the partnership was a natural fit.

After experiencing her fair share of trolls and body-shamers as her popularity began to rise on social media, Easterling wants to use her platform to help instill confidence in others — something American Eagle is all about.

"AE's commitment to celebrating inclusivity is one of the reasons I decided to partner with the brand," she says. "I've built my platform on being my real self, and I recognize that I can have a huge impact. I'm committed to using my voice to continue to champion for others to love their real, most authentic selves."

Addison Rae

"I want to bring attention to the fact that it’s not OK and never right to judge someone else’s body," she adds. "All bodies are beautiful and no one should make anyone feel badly for theirs."

Of course, it helps to have mentors — like her close friend Kourtney Kardashian — reminding her to tune out the hate and focus on the positive.

"One of my friends, Kourtney Kardashian, has told me to appreciate and look at the bigger picture and to not get so caught up in the micro," she says. "Just enjoy what you have and don’t let things get to you too much because there’s so much else to be happy about."

While catching up with the star, we asked her a few other burning questions — check out her current obsessions, TikTok tips and more, below.

What has been your biggest "pinch me" moment so far?

AR: Having a billboard in N.Y.C. for both American Eagle and my new Spotify podcast, Mama Knows Best.

Longtime celebrity crush?

AR: Ryan Gosling

Biggest celeb to slide into your DMS?

AR: Usually I’m the one who does the sliding ;)

Current Netflix Obsession?

AR: Ozark

Favorite TikTok accounts to follow?

AR: My Mom (@sherinicolee), my Dad (@montyjlopez) & my brother, Enzo (@enzoeli)

Top tip for new TikTok users looking to go viral?

AR: Think outside of the box and do something new and creative.