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100 Nude Women Stole the Spotlight from Donald Trump and the RNC

100 Nude Women Stole the Spotlight from Donald Trump and the RNC

Participants in Sunday’s naked protest aimed to shine a light on women’s issues before the Republican National Convention.

It’s hard to steal the spotlight from controversial Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, but on Sunday morning, the day before the Republican National Convention began in Cleveland, 100 nude women armed only with large circular mirrors did just that. The demonstration took place on an empty lot on the Cuyahoga River, where the women aimed their mirrors at the Quicken Loans Arena.

Artist Spencer Tunick photographed the event, telling participants, "This is for you and this is for our future. We will shine your light and power onto the RNC. We're going to shine the light of women into this arena." The protest—part of Tunick’s art installation and documentary "Everything She Says Means Everything"—garnered the interest of 1,800 potential participants who responded to Tunick’s casting call in May. The final group of participants had a range of racial backgrounds, sizes, and ages, as well as reasons for protesting.

Participant Harmony Moon told Esquire, "I'm here because I'm a trans woman and we're not supposed to like our bodies and I don't like that. It's going to be great! I'm very antsy; it's like Christmas morning."

As a Republican, Cathy Scott had a very different reason for attending. "Donald Trump has said so many outrageous, hateful, inflammatory things. He underestimated his female, Republican vote," says Scott. "I feel like he shot himself in the foot a little bit. I don't think he knows there's a black, single, 35-year-old mom, like me, who is listening to what he's saying. I don't think he knows I'm in his political party—and that's unfortunate."

Participants were expected to bring a cover in case police showed up at the protest; public nudity is illegal in Ohio. Tunick is no stranger to run-ins with the police. The artist has been arrested five times while attempting to work outdoors. Some participants were worried about more than arrests.

"I told my husband this morning, 'I hope I don't get killed by protestors,'" Darlene English, 42, told Esquire at the protest. "It was definitely a concern but I felt like this was a very important statement to make, especially with my kids. I've got a 7-year-old daughter, a 4-year-old boy and a 9-year-old boy and I wanted them to know that there are times when it's important for them to stand up. I have the belief that [the GOP] is very anti-women, so I wanted to stand up and make a statement that it is unacceptable in 2016."

The protest was peaceful, and a row of police officers, firefighters, paramedics, and photographers lined up on the road to watch. When Tunick finished photographing the protest, protesters took photos of each other, which they posted on social media. Kim Leonard, who says she, "doesn’t have a political standpoint in this election," shared her photo on Twitter with the simple message: "Love your body. Love yourself".



To find out more about “Everything She Says Means Everything” or read more statements from the participants, visit Tunick’s website

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