New Book Sharing Personal Stories Of Homeless People Aims To Humanize Them + Challenge Our Perceptions

Cover of Jordana Guimaraes’ book ‘It Can Be You’

If you haven’t yet heard of The NYLON Project and the new book “It Can Be You”, it’s time to get familiar. The NYLON Project aims to create awareness and provide support to the homeless population in a very unique and creative way.

The NYLON Project is a campaign to humanize the homeless via fashion and art founded by Jordana Guimaráes, in partnership with Susan Rockefeller, an award-winning documentary film-maker, artist and conservationist. Jordana is a serial entrepreneur, a PR expert 15+ years of experience working with companies like Porsche Design, Nina Ricci and Lanvin, to name a few.

As part of this project, Jordana successfully raised $10k via GoFundMe to go out in Manhattan and feed the homeless and understand the stories of how they ended up living on the street. This project led to the book “It Can Be You”, which was written to encourage the world to become more compassionate and understand the reasons behind homelessness, rather than judge. The way the book portrays that message, is through the stories of 45 fashion influencers from all over the world who share a story of the most challenging & difficult time in their lives, and how they’ve overcome those obstacles to be where they are today in their lives.

The book is a transparent look into how the stories of fashion influencers and homeless individuals, when placed side by side, have so many common struggles. But more importantly and tellingly, it also shows the circumstances that separate the two individuals, hence the title “It Can Be You”.

The motivation behind this unique pairing and storytelling avenue is to show readers that the circumstances we live in have the power to uplift us or just as easily sink us. Jordana has partnered with HELP USA, a national leader in the fight against homelessness for people of all backgrounds.

“Jordana’s moving book gives a voice to the homeless and their struggles to survive on the streets,” said Tom Hameline, President & CEO of HELP USA.

“Her work with The NYLON Project has raised awareness of the serious homelessness problem we have in this country and what all of us can do to help those in need of shelter and other basic needs,” he added.

In addition to building new homes and operating various programs and residences, HELP USA also provides extensive job training, youth enrichment and trauma counseling. Since its founding nearly 35 years ago, the non-profit organization has helped more than 750,000 men, women and children build better lives and succeed for themselves and their families.

The seeds for this project were sown when Jordana was a small child living in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, having witnessed the stark differences in lifestyle between the rich and the poor. Growing up in a household where she was fortunate to have everything, it bothered her from the time she was a child, how next door to her home, there were so many that had nothing.

“It was always something that bothered me and that I wanted to be a part of the solution from a young age,” she says.

When Jordana grew up and got into the fashion industry, she saw how much influence fashion influencers and notable names had over the general public. Jordana saw that when she told people about the compassion she had for the homeless, there was a lot of stigma surrounding homelessness. She then decided that using the voices of fashion influencers to get the general public to start to pay attention to the cause would enable her message to go a longer way.

some of the fashion influencers featured in Jordana Guimaraes’ book ‘It Can Be You’

Ever since that period in her life, she made it her mission to give back, and in 2016 started the Nylon Project. Today, in 2020, there is amplified focus on the homeless population and how COVID-19 is disproportionately impacting them. It is also bringing to light how we allocate resources, and that a pandemic, or any serious situation, could potentially send anyone on the path to homelessness.

“It’s important to take away the negative stigma and get the real stories of the “why” behind homelessness. Once people start to understand that the issues behind homelessness are the same struggles we all face, except with a circumstance had by one and not the other that makes the difference of the one that winds up on the street and the one that doesn’t, is when they’ll be want to help more and empathize more,” says Jordana.

The cover artwork for this book was done by Jason Naylor, an award-winning artist, designer and creative director. Jason also features as one of the ambassadors in this book.

Influencers such as Camille Newbern (@thelasurvivalguide), Carolina Lindo (@imnotsorrydarling), Christine Kong (@dailykongfidence), Eric Bigger (@ericbigger), Jasmine Tosh Stewart (@jasmine_tosh), Khoudia Diop (@melaniin.goddess) and Madeline Stuart (@madelinesmodelling_), among others, have lent their support for this cause by sharing their inspirational stories.  

You can check out the book by visiting The Nylon Project website.

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