Step into the vibrant realm of STEFDIES, where diversity reigns, and everyone is invited to share in a reprieve from the daily grind. Take a moment to recline, get cozy, and immerse yourself in reflection, escapism, and laughter.
STEFDIES is a captivating photographic performance art series that unfolds a life story while celebrating the splendor of natural landscapes and human-made wonders. Through the lens of an anti-selfie perspective, each image playfully critiques society’s fixation on perfection and the relentless pursuit of flawless, Instagram-worthy photos.
Every snapshot encapsulates a spontaneous moment, mirroring the unpredictable nature of life—reminding us that, like existence itself, we only get one shot.
The Anti-Selfie Movement
Stephanie Leigh pioneered the Anti-Selfie movement with STEFDIES. This series serves as a response to the pressures of social media, selfie culture, and consumerism. The character of STEF emerged as a positive outlet, transforming Leigh’s personal experiences of sexism, racism, and classism into a shared source of laughter and travel excitement.
In an era saturated with meticulously edited images, STEFDIES intentionally presents unfiltered depictions of the female form, challenging the narrow standards perpetuated by mainstream media. The aim is to broaden the spectrum of images on social platforms and normalize the portrayal of real, imperfect bodies.
STEFDIES is a celebration of life, prompting us to look beyond the quest for the perfect picture and cherish our time on Earth. By embracing the universality of death, the series encourages us to live authentically, free from the shackles of others’ opinions and expectations.
Role Model Initiative
In a landscape dominated by trends of perfection and status, Stephanie Leigh strives to be a genuine voice celebrating imperfection. STEFDIES aims to be the role model she wished she had growing up, inspiring young individuals to embrace their authenticity and create content that goes beyond societal norms.
Mental Health Oasis
Laughter, as they say, is the best medicine. STEFDIES provides a light-hearted escape from the endless stream of flawless images that permeate social media, fostering a sense of ‘enoughness.’ By poking fun at the absurdity of STEF ‘dying’ amidst goats, the series encourages self-reflection and acceptance of our unique differences.
Environmental Impact Exploration
STEFDIES embodies the tangible impact of human existence on Earth, prompting viewers to question their ecological footprint. By diverting attention from the subject’s face to the surrounding beauty—whether natural or man-made—the series invites contemplation on our relationship with the planet.
About the Creator
The creator behind Stefdies is a versatile individual, embodying roles as a performance artist, actor, director, avid traveler, dedicated mother, and committed eco-warrior.
For her undergraduate studies, she pursued Theatre Studies and Japanese Studies at The State University of New York, culminating in an exceptional graduation with departmental honors. Notably, she received a prestigious EUREKA Genius Grant during this academic pursuit. Continuing her academic journey, she attained a Master of Fine Arts in Performance Studies from The Theatre Conservatory of Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University.
Her collaborative endeavors in performance art extend to partnerships with acclaimed artists such as Taro Akiba, Dr. Theresa KiJa Kim, Kestutis Nakas, and Tim Miller. With a global footprint, she has graced the stages of renowned theaters, including Steppenwolf Theater, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Victory Gardens Theater, Chicago Children’s Theatre, and The Court Theatre. Beyond her stage presence, she boasts accolades as an award-winning screen actor and seasoned director.
Influenced by luminaries such as Yoko Ono, Pee-Wee Herman, Jim Henson, and Mr. Rogers, she draws inspiration from these figures who have left an indelible mark on the creative landscape.
The purpose of this series is to establish an inclusive and secure environment where everyone can actively participate and embrace the present moment. You are valued just as you are; there’s no requirement to fit a particular size or conform to an elusive idea of perfection to capture a STEFDIES photo! Expensive equipment is unnecessary; the STEFDIES images are taken with an iPhone, without elaborate lighting, permits, or a makeup artist. This is a wholesome community where individuals of any age, gender, sexuality, religion, race, or nationality can fully be present, laugh, and create. By embracing vulnerability and presenting your authentic self, you become invincible. Let’s reclaim our space and assert autonomy over how we perceive ourselves. Reject the social pressures placed upon you. Challenge the standards imposed. Let’s proudly be our authentic selves and make a lasting impact.
“No matter how many times she ‘dies’ I just can’t stop laughing. I think it’s the commitment to the face down sprawl. Just awesome.”
“This is why the internet is the best invention of our time.”
“Performance Art! Dedication!”
“Every picture, every video makes me laugh until I can’t breathe.”
“This was awesome! It also proves how wrapped up us human beings are in our own little world and not paying attention to our surroundings. WAKE UP PEOPLE!”
“Literally the funniest Instagram feed ever!!”
“Thanks for always making me laugh!”
“Yesterday I introduced my 6yr old to your pics and today, at a family dinner, he had a little giggle then lay flat on his face”