Football fever is back and this time it’s taking the form of the most exciting Women’s World Cup to date. The audiences – both in the stadiums and behind the screen – are bigger than ever and there’s an air that women’s football is finally getting the attention it deserves. This atmosphere was only furthered by Nike’s announcement earlier this year that, for the first time ever, it was going to produce 28 kits (one home and one away for all 14 federations it supports) specifically for women. Gone are the days of buying an England shirt that doesn’t even fit you and paying extra to get “CARNEY” printed on the back!
This Fan Girl is an online platform that represents female football fans through content and community. Its founder, Amy Drucquer recalls the reveal: “It was such a commitment to the women’s game – you couldn’t help but be moved by the show!” To celebrate the launch of the jerseys, Nike reached out to This Fan Girl, and the result is a series of portraits featuring real female football fans, shot by Jackson Bowley, and with makeup by Athena Paginton.
The series, which includes 15 women from 14 different nations, is an extension of the work that This Fan Girl does to bolster female representation within the sport. “We started as a photography series, capturing the faces of female fans from across the country, but over the last few years we’ve developed our community through meet-ups (we’ve had them in London, Manchester and New York) and sharing stories and opinions from female fans,” Amy explains. “Football can be such a male-dominated industry – it’s important to have a more balanced viewpoint.”
Each portrait features a different fan wearing the jersey of their country, with makeup reflecting either their national identity or personality in some form. While some are more literal, for example, a maple leaf over the eyes of the Canadian fan, Amy explains “with others, like Chile, we spoke to the individual women about what they were comfortable with, and how far they wanted to push the look. For France, as they’re the host nation, we had to show a little more love and went for a full out glitter look.”
Jackson recalls: “Amy approached me with the brief and explained the general mood and creative to me. It sounded like such an exciting and important project and I was super happy to be involved with it. A lot of my work looks at character and using makeup to create these characters, so it felt like such a perfect commission to be involved with.” Setting a brief that detailed how he needed to “capture the true essence of what it means to be a female football fan” in a series of “brave, confident, fearless but also highly relatable” portraits, Jackson understood the need to depict an “authentic female football fan” that challenged the “dated, traditional notions of women within football.”
The result is a series which celebrates the diversity of the female football fan, but also the unity that the sport creates between them. Young or old, from East or West, the images, while beautifully composed and technically apt, ultimately resonate thanks to the joy they express.
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