We've all been there. I'm too old, I'm too fat, I'm too skinny, I'm too pale, I need to lose the baby weight, I have too many wrinkles, maybe when I was in my 20's, I'm a grandmother!!! We all have one excuse or another why we CAN'T possibly take photos that may show a little skin, or may get up a little close and show some...or hell, even all of our wrinkles and fine lines and eeek....freckles & pimples! We're just not ready to have that done today...our hair looks terrible, we have too many greys, we need a trim, our ends are split, a hen has nested in there for the winter. Or maybe we ran out of our eyeliner and have been too busy making lunches, driving the carpool and the kids to sports and to get the groceries, then to the doctor's to go and get some more. Maybe our joints hurt, maybe our knees are bad and we'd rather wait until that goes away a little, or maybe we're just too old to even be thinking about it. Maybe we need a tan...a diet....a fountain of youth....or better yet, a whole other person to go in and do it instead of us.
What happens when that time that you MEANT to do something for yourself comes and goes and you never even realize it. What happens when you blink and now you're in your 40's instead of your 20's, or your 80's instead of your 40's? Where did that time go???? Why didn't someone remind us to take a minute to ourselves and do something that was going to give us something AMAZING to look back on when those years go by! I'll tell you why, because we always think there's time. We always think we're going to get to that point where we feel better about ourselves....and it almost never happens. Personally, I've been trying to lose weight for years.....YEARS. I went down 60lbs, then up 50, then down 10 then up 10, then down 25, then up 10. I think at this point, it's best to just ACCEPT WHO I AM and make the BEST of my life and STOP...TRYING....TO...BE...SOMETHING....I'M...NOT!!!!
I got news for you all....this goes for all of you men as well. STOP IT. You may be old, you may have wrinkles and crows feet and gorgeous silver hair. Does that make you any less AMAZING than you were 40 years ago? Hell no. You may be a large girl....does that mean you're any less KICK ASS than you were 25lbs ago?? OH HAY-ELL NAW!!!!
My point in bringing this all to your attention is that, as a Boutique Boudoir Studio owner, I. HEAR. IT. ALL. I have heard every single reason there is under the sun why women DON'T want to have their photos taken, all the excuses come pouring out when they are complimented.
How many times have you looked at your mother, grandmother, sister, aunt, niece, friend or daughter.....told them how amazingly beautiful they were - and you REALLY mean it - and they look at you like you're crazy!!??!! They'll say something like "omg, get your eyes checked" or "ugh...I can't do anything with this head of hair" or "blahhh, I'm totally not wearing any makeup" or "oh lord, you're being silly, look at all these gray hairs!" - You wanted to just slap the compliment right into them didn't you??? You can't POSSIBLY see why they feel that way about themselves!!!! RIGHT??? But then....you turn around and say the same exact thing when someone throws you the same compliment! Did it ever even cross your minds at just how BEAUTIFUL the world around you sees you????
Well, it crossed my mind. It crosses my mind every single day, with every woman that I come across. I just want to shout out at the top of my lungs as I'm walking down the street "HERE......TAKE MY CARD.....YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL AND I WANT TO IMMORTALIZE YOU AS YOU ARE RIGHT NOW" But, I don't, cause people would probably think I'm off my rocker.
A few months ago, I held a model call for a project that I wanted to put together for all of you. I wanted to hear from different women all over, different sizes, different ages, different ethnicities - - - different excuses. I wanted to pluck some of these ladies out, who may not have contacted me on their own, and show them just what I see, what you see, and what the world sees when they look at them. By the way...who says you HAVE to wear lingerie? Or be naked? Or wear something skimpy? I sure didn't. If you're not comfortable in wearing something revealing, then why would you? This is a time for you to feel BEAUTIFUL, and if that means wearing a t-shirt and jeans....GO FOR IT....you'll ROCK that outfit!!!
I was lucky enough to work with a BUNCH of AMAZINGLY GORGEOUS women. This is their short, but wonderful journey with me.
I asked all of these ladies some very important questions, such as their main fears for doing this type of photo shoot. Some of the answers I received? Afraid of looking akward, not looking good in photos, worried about still looking bigger, worried about not looking age appropriate, worried about cancer scars, I really hate my profile and the shape of my face, I just don't photograph well and more. These fears are exactly what I was referring to earlier. I was likely given the same exact fears and worries that you have yourself. I have heard just about all of them....and they were each addressed individually :)
Can you tell just by looking at these amazing women who thought they weren't good enough? Pretty enough? Thin enough? Young enough? Tan enough? Secure enough? The only reason I can, is because I spoke with each of them. I learned about each and every one of these beautiful ladies and their fears...and I was there helping them from the beginning. If you know any of these ladies, you can ask them how they felt during their session....I did. I asked each of them to let me know a little bit about how they felt and this is what they said : "Amazing and comfortable", "Awesome, Beautiful & Confident", "It was a ton of fun!", "Comfortable and confident", "It was like I was in the room with a friend", "I couldn't stop laughing, thank you so much", "I actually felt beautiful, it was awesome". That insecurity...that doubt....those fears..... vanished.
It was her and I....giggling it up, being silly, two girls playing dress-up, talking about boys and gossiping in the schoolyard. There was no giant movie production with people everywhere and 14 lights and lenses pointed at her, with her face up on 6 different monitors on every wall. Ok, I'm exaggerating...that's not what a real photoshoot is like (well, not with me anyhow) but, that's the feeling a lot of people have when they think about being "put on the spot"!! Like the world is watching and peering in on them, judging them, staring at every flaw they think they have....and it's just not like that...at all.
By the time each of these ladies came back to view their photos, they had taken some time to reflect on their session, the fun time they had, the fears they had going in to it...some of them had fears return, not sure what to expect when looking at their photos. They felt great during the session, and then that doubt crept back in, "well, that was a lot of fun, but you're still gonna look terrible/fat/old/ugly/scarred/too thin when you see the photos"....not all of them said this to me. As a matter of fact, only a few of these women actually hinted at that, but, I could see these thoughts going through their heads when they sat there talking to me afterward, the way they held their breath, or the way they held their expressions. Body language gives away so much about what a person is thinking and feeling.
Then....I showed them their photos.....and it was like watching a flower open up to take in the sun....these women VISIBLY bloomed in front of me. I get emotional just thinking about some of the reactions I witnessed. The joy, shock, tears and PRIDE that I saw in their faces is what made it all worth it. They felt it...just like I felt it. Some cried (I always keep tissues in the room....ON IT!), some laughed, some were in disbelief and some were just smiling the entire time. Ooohs and aaaahs and wows filled the room. It was everything I had hoped for...I exceeded their expectations....not about me....but about themselves!
It's no secret that I am on a mission to change the way women perceive themselves. I'd be lying if I said that providing this experience, this confidence-boost to women isn't satisfying for myself...because it is. But, I'm not ashamed to say that I take GREAT, GREAT pleasure in seeing women look at themselves with their heads held high and just amazed at how beautiful they are. I'm not a big name like Dove and have the unlimited funds that they do to create such a wonderful, viral video and hire a police sketch artist to do all that for me....but, my heart is in the same place. My goals are the same. I may only be able to reach one or 5 or 10 women at a time when they talk to their friends about what I was able to help them feel and see, but that's pretty damn good if you ask me. Some of my clients have turned into AMAZING friends, some remain amazing clients, a lot have sent their friends to see me as well. I would love the opportunity to work with each and every one of you. I challenge you....all of you....to try and come to me with a reason, an excuse...something that I haven't heard before. Let's conquer it together, because we can, YOU CAN.