Loving Yourself and Your Body
It’s been a journey for Ayla Knight as she learned how to love herself and her body. Like many young Black women, Knight’s body was over-sexualized at a very early age. With a thin body structure and a C-cup bra size, fifth-grader Knight felt there was something wrong with her body.
It wasn’t until Knight entered college that she decided her body was hers, and that she would love it no matter what. Her change of thinking helped Knight live a whole new life; one full of love and appreciation for who she is.
“I see women struggle with the same thing I was struggling with,” she said. “It’s time for people to stop fetishizing us.”
As a mixed-medium artist, Knight is using her art to encourage other women to love their bodies too.
Self Love to Business
Knight created Nude Gang to highlight and empower women’s bodies where she utilizes topography and the female form to create different works, such as wall sculptures and earrings.
“All bodies are beautiful,” she said. “You have to treat us all equally.”
She has an A.A. and B.A. in Fine Arts from Delaware College of Art and Design and Moore College of Art and Design. She’s mastered the art of drawing, painting, and sculpture while in college. She also has experience in digital media including photography, videography, and graphic design.
Dance helped Knight overcome her insecurities. Being surrounded by other women with real bodies gave her the motivation to love hers.
“It makes me want to continue to do more whenever I work with women…and they tell me they feel better about themselves,” said Knight.
Knight creates her works based on real women’s bodies. She does open calls where women can submit a nude photo to be turned into a Nude Gang piece of art. According to Knight, she never releases her work unless she’s given permission and the woman actually likes the piece.
“It’s so rewarding,” said Knight. “I feel very successful.”
She used to send the pieces back to the women for free, but now she charges for her services.
Knight is currently in the process of revamping her website to make it more user-friendly. She admits that she’s still learning what it means to be a business owner, but is excited to see where things will take her.
“I’m an artist first before business owner…It’s not just about being naked on the internet…it’s about making women feel better.”– Ayla Knight
Shop Nude Work
To order Nude Work, click here.
Nyesha Stone founded Carvd N Stone in 2017 to cover positive news while attending the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Stone has a B.A. in Journalism. She has raised over $30,000 to award grants and scholarships. She has also been featured in ESSENCE and worked with the American Black Film Festival.