Honey & Dirt – Celebrating body-positivity with Paloma Elsesser

27.02.2018 | Text Sarah Weinknecht | Photo Lily Cummings | Camera Robin Asselmeyer | Regie Aldona Kwiatkowski

Paloma Elsesser leaning against a Mercedes-AMG GLC 43 4MATIC
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A visual poem exploring the dialectic forces of female strength and vulnerability as sources of personal growth and finding one’s own path.

Set in the spectacular volcanic landscape of the Canary Islands, She’s Mercedes’s latest short, “Honey & Dirt”, splices nature’s raw power and beauty with an active quest to become the best possible version of yourself – a version filled with purpose, confidence and true self-love.

Black beaches, red peaks and jagged volcanic structures serve as a symbolic backdrop and counterpart to a striking performance. A performance filled with life by one of the faces – and bodies – of the moment: Paloma Elsesser.

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From academia to fashion: Paloma Elsesser finds her own path to success.

When she came to New York, Paloma Elsesser wasn’t keen to enter the fashion circuit or shoot glossy campaigns for the likes of Pat McGrath, Rihanna and Eckhaus Latta: Originally, the literature and psychology student had planned to pursue an academic career. Yet it didn’t take long for the Californian’s energy, wit and beauty to catch the eye of some of the industry’s most influential women and for her to become the face of today’s zeitgeist. Now, she uses her standing (and popular Instagram account) to promote diversity, body positivity and self-love, making her the perfect protagonist for the film’s message.

Joining influential, internationally successful peers like Adwoa Aboah, Sara Ziff or India Menuez, Paloma is part of a new wave of models who are no silent ornaments, but active voices campaigning for a fundamental change of our perception of beauty and womanhood. At the same time, Paloma also highlights the risks of the recent trend to include more diverse types in media campaigns. “I don’t want this shift to be commodified as a trend”, she says. “I want it to be a reality.”

An ode to womanhood that leaves behind the notion of perfection.

Powerful and soft, strong and vulnerable: “Honey & Dirt” is an ode to womanhood’s many different facets. The film is all about stepping away from our ubiquitous chase for perfection – a chase that can feel like a female duty and birthright – to celebrate each and everyone’s unique potential and path in life.



Slow camera pans explore the surface of Lanzarote’s volcanic landscapes while our protagonist steers her lava-red Mercedes-Benz through the rugged terrain. The viewer gets immersed in the otherworldly feel of this place, a place that feels moon-like and deserted, yet also brimming with unbridled energy just waiting to be unleashed. Moving in synch with the natural elements around her, Paloma’s dance performance offers a powerful hint of this untamed energy. A white owl, representing Paloma’s pure instincts, heralds the film’s climax. A look in the mirror, an encounter and embrace, releases an unknown power reflected in all elements – the crashing waves of the Atlantic Ocean, the coasting car, Paloma’s untamed movements.

This juxtaposition of raw nature and the movements and shapes of the female body turns the film into a proud statement and celebration of the choices we make beyond the chase for perfection. And, through that, of finding our own path in life.

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Kraftstoffverbrauch kombiniert CO₂-Emissionen kombiniert Stromverbrauch im kombinierten Testzyklus

Product may vary after press date on 27.02.2018.

1 Die angegebenen Werte wurden nach dem vorgeschriebenen Messverfahren ermittelt. Es handelt sich um die „NEFZ-CO₂-Werte“ i. S. v. Art. 2 Nr. 1 Durchführungsverordnung (EU) 2017/1153. Die Kraftstoffverbrauchswerte wurden auf Basis dieser Werte errechnet. Der Stromverbrauch wurde auf der Grundlage der VO 692/2008/EG ermittelt. Weitere Informationen zum offiziellen Kraftstoffverbrauch und den offiziellen spezifischen CO₂-Emissionen neuer Personenkraftwagen können dem „Leitfaden über den Kraftstoffverbrauch, die CO₂-Emissionen und den Stromverbrauch aller neuen Personenkraftwagenmodelle“ entnommen werden, der an allen Verkaufsstellen und bei der Deutschen Automobil Treuhand GmbH unter www.dat.de unentgeltlich erhältlich ist.