Self image is probably the number one thing women struggle with the most. We judge ourselves based on how we look compared to our families, our friends, people we work with, and even strangers we meet. It certainly doesn't stop there with the addition of social media to the world. We now have access to women around the globe that we compare ourselves to and it goes beyond how we look. We compare our life experiences, our fashion sense, our parenting skills, and even how our feeds look!
It came to my attention recently that even the most seemingly confident women are dealing with their own self image issues. Myself included! This project was born out of a random night spent with friends. I was listening to all of us talk about the many different things that were wrong with us. We were all simply joking, but I knew deep down that these were actual things we all felt deeply about ourselves and were covering with a joke between friends. I kept thinking to myself that if we changed what we said about ourselves, or turned those things we perceived as negative into positive, we could accomplish so much more!
This entire movement is super close to my heart and I am wildly passionate about it. I wish I could find the right words to explain why, but that isn't what is important here. What is important are the women in these photos, the women who applied to be a part of this, and every single woman in the world that feels less than. We are all so fucking beautiful, but it goes much deeper than that. We are smart, funny, courageous, brave, determined, ambitious, etc. We need to stop looking at all the things other women seem to have that we do not because we are missing the positive in our own lives when we do that. We talk about our own self image in such a negative way that the conversation is almost uncomfortable. We receive a compliment and our immediate response isn't a polite "thank you", but self deprecation and discomfort. Own your personal beauty brand! That is who YOU are and that is certainly enough!
So, what is the thing women have said to me the most about their self image you ask?! GREAT QUESTION. It was their body! EVERY woman that I have spoken with has an issue with how their body is shaped. They think they are too big, too small, not enough boob, too much boob, fat ankles, chicken legs, and so on and so forth. None of these things are negatives and it certainly isn't kind to turn them into negatives. You are exactly as you were made to be. You are perfect. It is all about confidence! It is my mission to get women to feel comfortable in their own skin and to get the conversation started about REAL beauty.
Lets get to talking about this shoot! I wanted this photoshoot to be the one that kicks this entire movement off because it was important for me to show how similar we all are despite how we look on the outside. I wanted to bring together 12-15 women who all struggled with their own body issues to build them up and show them that they are absolute perfection. I wanted to use these women as role models because they took a chance not only on me, but on themselves by even applying in the first place. I could not be more excited, or more overjoyed, with the way the entire day turned out.
I picked the location of the shoot without even realizing that there was another event happening that morning. I pulled in and immediately I was confused because there were cars everywhere! It was a college campus on a Sunday morning at 7am. Why were there so many people there?! PLOT TWIST. The Bay Bridge Run was that morning and they were using the college as a transportation location. There were cops and volunteers all throughout directing traffic and telling people where they could park. That made things a little difficult because where all the girls and I needed to be was not where they were telling people to park. However, being who I am as a person, I simply ignored the direction and kept driving past all of them. (whoops) All of the other girls were not so lucky...
Everyone ended up parking all over the place and we were all definitely late. My early morning private shoot was also no longer very private. There were people staring at us and walking through the photos. On top of that whole inconvenience, which we overcame so gracefully, it was seriously freezing. Does anyone else remember last year when it was still like 70 degrees in November?! That was not the case this year. It was maybe 40 degrees and we were all in thin shirts. (so sorry ladies!!)
Let me brag on these ladies!! I could not have asked for a better group. We had some last minute cancellations, ladies jumping in to save the day, a wild parking inconvenience, and some seriously cold weather and all of these ladies handled everything with such grace and poise. They listened to all of the bossiness that Chanel and I exuded. They took those photos, without coats, in the cold with such positive attitudes. I woke up that morning feeling excited and nervous. I had already felt like I was asking too much of everyone, but they never once made me feel like I was insane or making crazy demands. They showed up with excitement in their eyes and smiles on their faces. I would have never guessed that most of them were just meeting for the first time based off of the way they interacted with one another and the kindness they displayed towards each other. That was my first time meeting over half of them and I honestly felt like I had known them all forever. I left that shoot feeling so inspired by all of their courage and kindness. I am forever grateful to these ladies for taking a chance on a girl they had never met and being vulnerable with complete strangers.
Lastly, the beyond talented girl behind the camera, Chanel! Who is the owner of Chanel Photography. She is the most wonderful human being on the planet. She took on my crazy idea and became my partner. She took all of these photos for free and she did it with a giant smile on her face. I couldn't ask for a better friend, or partner in this journey. She genuinely touches the lives of everyone she meets with her generosity and her photos. If you haven't had a chance to book a session with her (or join her lipsense team) you should do all of that!
Here are my bad bitches