On a summer day, back in the early stages of the pandemic in Alaska, Kira Anderson spotted what she thought was a purple bra at her friend’s house and commented on how pretty she thought it was. Both women broke out into laughter when her friend told her it was a mask, not a bra.
And so became the “Maskini Calendar.”
The woman thought making a bikini calendar out of masks would be a fun project to fill their time during the pandemic and serve as a good reminder of the importance of wearing masks.
“COVID has been so heavy for a lot of people,” she said. “I just wanted to do something that’s fun and interesting and that reminds us that we all have this experience in common and sort of make light of it.”
Since July, Anderson has collaborated with more than a dozen women to bring her vision to life. She recruited friends to model bikinis formed from two masks tied together and she even modeled for one of the calendar pages herself. Each model is also donning a mask over their face, to highlight the importance of wearing a mask, but to also emphasize the strangeness that is the new normal.
The project continued to grow and Anderson said she found more models through other friends and even recruited someone while photographing the calendar.
The calendar was empowering, Anderson said, because it strays from a typical bikini calendar and features women of all sizes and ages.
“It was very participant focused and collaborative,” she said. “And to make light of the pandemic but also making fun of bikini calendars — they’re ridiculous! It’s sort of for women by women, but it’s also for everyone to enjoy.”
The project also served as a way for Anderson to give back. The calendar sales will cover the actual production costs, but anything extra will be donated to help people hurt by the pandemic in the Anchorage area.
The calendars are being sold for $12 online and in store at the Hoarding Marmot in Spenard.
Anderson said her own life has changed drastically because of the pandemic, but she understands how lucky she is that her work as an epidemiologist can be done from her studio apartment.
The calendar project was a fun creative outlet and gave Anderson the opportunity to visit with friends she wasn’t routinely seeing during the pandemic, she said. Many of the models work in health care or epidemiology, also, but Anderson said they all volunteered to participate in the calendar as a fun side project.
Anderson said she can’t wait for the pandemic to end, but until the vaccination is widespread, she will be wearing her mask.
“The more we wear them, the more normal it gets,” she said. “Yeah, they’re a little uncomfortable, but in reality, what harm does it do to wear one?”