Joan Smalls in Smart and Sexy Campaign

Once Victoria’s Secret eliminated its swimwear division last year, Ariela Balk saw an opportunity to ramp things up for Smart and Sexy, her cup-sized swimwear brand.

“There aren’t a lot of people doing affordable cup-sized swimwear and I felt there was a void,” said Balk, who introduced the brand 10 years ago. “I felt like it’s time for us to do some advertising around the brand and really push it.”

Balk tapped Joan Smalls to appear in the campaign, which was styled by Carlyne Cerf de Dudzeele and shot by Chris Colls in Port Antonio, Jamaica. The ad, which appeared in Glamour’s May issue and will also be printed in Cosmopolitan’s June issue, focused on nude styles.

“Joan is muscular. She’s powerful and she’s smart,” Balk said. “It was important for us to find someone who was smart and sexy and a role model.”

The Smart and Sexy collection is priced from $14 to $27. Tops range from 32A to 38DDD and bottoms run from small to XXL. The line is sold in Wal-Mart, on Amazon and on Smart and Sexy’s dedicated e-commerce site.

“With Victoria’s Secret, they are presenting a man’s version of sexy, and we are very committed to depicting women how they see themselves and powerful and not objectified,” Balk said.

In addition to running Smart and Sexy, Balk is the president and chief executive officer of Ariela and Associates, which is a privately held global manufacturer of intimate apparel, sleepwear and swimwear for brands including Fruit of the Loom and Bestform. She previously held the intimate apparel license for Badgley Mischka. Balk, who is a part of the “Women Owned” initiative at Wal-Mart, launched the business 20 years ago.

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