This past Saturday was my TWENTIETH (20th!) year high school reunion. And, spoiler alert: everyone looked essentially the same, or even better than they did in high school. Sure, many of us (ahem) have a bit more weight to us, but I think an extra few pounds keeps adults looking youthful and heathly. We all certainly had some deeper wrinkles, but along with the crows feet we also all now have a certain wisdom in our eyes, better eyebrows (I’m still mad at Kate Moss for the 90s over-plucking phenomenon), and, most importantly, a hell of a lot more CONFIDENCE than we had in high school.
Throughout the reunion a slideshow of old photos played in the background and a while watching it, a flood of memories came rushing back to me. I was a dancer back in high school and there were several photos from old performances. When the photo below flashed on, I suddenly had total recall, distinctly remembering the moment it was being taken (I'm the one standing second from the right) and thinking to myself: "I have the worst body of all the girls here."
Think about how troubling that thought is for a minute. I was 16, 110 pounds soaking wet, and now I look at that girl in the photo and think, damn, I was pretty cute! It breaks my heart to think how much time was wasted negatively comparing myself to other women, how I couldn’t see myself clearly and how I certainly didn’t value myself the way I should have. Another friend at the reunion, who is also in this pic, must have been feeling something similar. Upon seeing the photo she sighed, “I was so tiny… my 11 year old daughter fits into my old costumes now.” I wish I could go back and tell our teenaged selves to appreciate their looks - that they needn’t diet or measure or over-tweeze — that they are beautiful just as they are, and that *one day* they will be able to see that.
Fast forward to adulthood, and a world of camera phones and social media (SO GRATEFUL those didn’t exist when I was in high school!!) I think we've all been in that situation where someone whips out their phone, and we run and hide because you didn’t wear makeup that day/you have a zit/you didn’t get a good night sleep the night before… whatever was making you feel less than photogenic that day. Or - horror of horrors! - being on the beach when your husband pulls out his phone to take a pic after lunch and you hide behind your 2 year old for fear that your belly is popped out. Yes, I’m guilty of this even still, despite my big talk about self-acceptance. One of the most difficult things about accepting yourself is that you have to actively work on it - even when you are tired and bloated and broken out — loving yourself takes work! But know that years for now, when your kids look back on those old vacation photos, the won’t be thinking, “wow, mom must have had a few too many tacos that day.” They’ll look at the photo and remember the feeling of being close to you, or how much fun they were having, and I guarantee you they will marvel at how beautiful their mom is. YOU will likely look back on those photos and those exact same things! By hiding from photo ops, you are depriving your kids and yourself of these special memories… and the same goes for your boudoir photos.
So many women tell me they’re waiting to book their boudoir shoot until they lose 10 pounds/get their six pack back/change their physique in whatever way. But ladies: there is no need to wait for an arbitrary body goal to give yourself permission to appreciate your beauty. Our bodies are ALWAYS changing - we all have years that we are more fit or less fit, pregnant, post-pardum, and we're constantly getting older. And.... who says a boudoir shoot is only a one time thing? Why not capture yourself NOW and then ALSO a few years for now. I doubt you will regret it. EVERY stage of our lives is special and worth memorializing. An extra few pounds does not change that.
I say we should embrace ourselves as we are, and embrace the feelings that come with having your portrait taken in a raw & real way. As a boudoir photographer it’s my job not only to make you look good (which you will) but also to FEEL your best. When you see yourself through my lens, you will feel as beautiful as you look, which can help you believe in your beauty too. I want you to look back at your photos and remember how incredible you felt that day. These are the feelings that give you LIFE -- to go after what you want in life, to get out of bad relationships, to apply for new jobs, to travel, to let yourself fall in love … when you feel good about yourself the possibilities of what you can accomplish are endless. This is more than a photoshoot — it’s a life experience i think you will carry with you for years to come.
20 years out of high school, having been through my own struggles with body image, I can now come from a place of gratitude, love for my life, and love of the woman I am today. And I want the same for you. I want you to walk away for your Brooklyn Boudoir Experience feeling confidant, empowered and in love with who you are. I want you to feel proud every time you open your boudoir album or see your portraits hanging on the wall. Life is too short for you to waste time feeling like anything less than your own perfect YOU.
Ready to make it happen? Let's chat!