Normally I don't write a whole lot when I post a sneak peek, but today I want to make an exception. Firstly, what I'm going to explain has nothing to do with the beautiful Miss A below, she's just a gorgeous gal who deserves a great sneak peek, and I also have had a lot on my mind recently and wanted to share it with you, so both of those things are going to happen together here in the post. You may be a past client of mine, a current client of mine, or someone considering doing a boudoir session, and I want to explain to you all why a boudoir session is so dear to my heart, why boudoir is what I have dedicated my life to, and what that means for you. So hold on, I may get emotional here!
Some of you may not know why I began this boudoir business, let me give you some insight as to where my life was 3 years ago. I was married (and for clients I had back then, now I'm divorced just FYI), to not a very nice guy. I had zero self esteem, I was lonely, I was sad, I was overweight, the list could go on. I felt smaller than a speck of dust, and I couldn't even look people in the eye because I was so ashamed of my life, and the choices I had made in my past.
When I was younger I got pregnant by the man I eventually married, and I knew in my heart that I was too young and irresponsible to become a mom, so I decided to terminate the pregnancy (which is a political way of saying I had an abortion. It's still hard to admit that to this day, and I am surprised I am doing it now, but it's relevant to where I'm going with this.) I understand this is a touchy subject, but if I can just add that if this disagrees with your religious/political/personal beliefs, please know I am not here to discuss whether this was morally correct or not. After I made this choice I can honestly say I felt like a murderer. I am 100% pro-choice, I believe every woman has the right to decide what's right for her in her life, and I believe I made the right choice for my life, but it was the hardest, most difficult thing I ever had to do, and I completely stopped loving myself. My personality changed completely and I lost friendships with people I had once been close to, because I couldn't even maintain a conversation with anyone. I drank, a lot.
The man I was with (the would-be father of this baby) asked me to marry him a few short months later, and because I didn't love myself I believed no one else would love me either, I said yes for fear I would be alone forever because of what I had done. My self-loathing and hatred continued into my marriage, and my ex-husbands way of building me up just to tear me back down again was exhausting. I felt like I was on an endless roller coaster and I couldn't get off.
I couldn't tell anyone what was happening in my life, because I knew it was wrong, but I was so terrified that I would be alone forever and so I let it continue. The year I was married was the longest year of my life, and it destroyed my self-esteem. I can still clearly remember the day I sat down with my best friend Mel and finally told her what was really going on in my life. We were in front of a video rental store and we talked for over an hour. I remember telling her something that my ex said or did, and asking her if that was normal, or if it was crazy. Every single answer from her was, "No that's not normal, that's crazy." In that time period my ex-husband called me 7 times, texted me endlessly, and even Facebook messaged me asking where I was and what was taking so long.
In my life I was allowed no alone time, I even felt guilty for being alone in our home because he would accuse me of having an affair on him (which I have never done, and will never do, to anyone!). Thankfully that conversation changed my entire life. To make a very long story short, I left him the next day.
A few months before this all happened I started a small little boudoir business. The pressure from my ex-husband to quit my full-time job that I absolutely loved was immense. I worked with mostly males, and he believed they were all trying to sleep with me, or that I was trying to sleep with them (again, none of which is true!), and he would come with me to work and watch over my shoulder as I worked. He would ask who I was emailing, how I knew them, if I had ever met them (as I worked for an international company) and if I had ever done anything with them. It got to the point that I ended up quitting my job of 3 years in the middle of the week because I couldn't handle it anymore. Oh, and I forgot to mention he was also unemployed at the time, so now I had to figure out how to support both of us, work with only women, and work from home because he didn't want me leaving the house. And so a boudoir business was formed.
When I first began the business I had no idea what I was doing, I will be completely honest. But true to my nature, I decided to jump right in. I shot four boudoir sessions in one day, and quickly learned what worked and what didn't. From the time I began my business, to the time I left my husband, was three months. In those first three months something was happening to me, and although I didn't see it then, I see it now, I was giving women hope about themselves, about their self-esteem, I was making them feel good about who they were and in return, I was also starting to feel good about who I was. A few years before that I went to college to become a counsellor, and my boudoir business began to become my therapists couch. I was finally making the impact on people's lives that I had wanted to make my entire life. I was hearing stories from women of all walks of life, who had been through things I could relate to, and things I could not even imagine. I was making a difference.
Women were seeing themselves in a completely new light because of the photographs I had taken of them, and I knew that this was exactly what I was meant to do. Women were celebrating their beauty, celebrating marrying the loves of their lives, celebrating leaving the loser that hurt them, celebrating being exactly who they were. My business began to thrive, and I loved every single minute of it. "Okay, well that's great and all but why are you writing this then Katie?" is something you might be asking yourself, and that's the part that I want to get to now. Why is this important, why does this matter? Why am I writing about this now, at this point in time? Well, let me tell you why...
In the past two years that I have photographed boudoir, it has become extremely dear to my heart. I know how it can change your life, I see it every single day. I know how it can build your self-esteem up if someone or something has torn it down. I know how it can make you love yourself again after hating yourself for so long. I know how it can make you feel beautiful, if you've never felt beautiful before. I see how it transforms each of my client's lives. When you walk into my studio you may feel afraid, most of my former clients can attest to that, but when you walk out after your session you are like a brand new person. There is a glow around each and every one of my clients, an awe and an appreciation for what they just did, a new found courage they didn't have just an hour before that. I can literally see the transformation. I feel so fortunate every single time I get to witness this.
With that being said, I also have to mention that I have a duty as a business owner to market my business and make sure it continues to thrive. I will explain what this has to do with the last paragraph in a minute here so stay with me. So I market this business in a number of ways, but one way I want to address today is through trade shows. Now normally I love trade shows, I absolutely love meeting new people, I love talking to them about what I do, and I love booking a new client. The thrill and excitement that they express about booking a session really fires me up! It renews my passion for my job every single time! But the last trade show I did really brought me down. So many women that I spoke with told me the following things:
"You'd never catch me dead doing something like that."
"It's not my thing."
"I would never look good doing that."
"I don't look good in lingerie."
(And the one that astounded me the most) "My husband/boyfriend/fiance would not want pictures of me like that."
WHAT? Wait...WHAT? Your husband or fiancé or boyfriend would not want beautiful photographs of you like that? Come on! Now, this really bothered me a lot, as you can see, and so I asked about 20 men at the tradeshow if they would like photos like this of their wives/girlfriends, and you'll never believe what they said. "OF COURSE I WOULD. HELLO. DUH." Although they didn't internet shout it like I just did, they blushed a little and said it bashfully, but they said it and that's what matters. But what really astounds me is the negative perception of boudoir.
I asked my friend Suzelle about why she felt she would never do a session, and she said because boudoir is so risqué. Okay, I can understand that, but then I probed a bit deeper, and I came to find out that she didn't think she would ever look good doing a boudoir session. Okay, so let's talk a little bit about that because that's the response I get from all the women who initially laugh when I ask them if they've ever thought about doing a boudoir session.
Firstly, can I just say that if you've ever walked into La Senza or any other lingerie store, looked at the women in the posters and thought to yourself, "Man, I wish I could look like those models in this lingerie" then you've thought about doing a boudoir session. This idea is not so far-fetched. As women we all want to feel beautiful. Now I am not saying we all want to look the same, and adhere to society's idea of beauty, I am saying we all want to feel beautiful, whatever that means for each of us, individually.
Personally for me I feel beautiful when my hair is cooperating, and the wind is cooperating, my outfit matches, I feel coordinated, and my make-up looks just right. I would love for someone to take a great photo of me on a day when I feel great, so I could remember it in the future and feel good about myself on days when my hair is sticking straight up, it's windier than heck outside, it's laundry day and I am a hot mess in sweat pants and my boyfriends t-shirt. But continuing on...
I want to change your perception of what boudoir is. I want you (I am speaking to all the women of the world right now, even though I may not be necessarily reaching all of you, this message is for every woman) to realize that boudoir is not porn (I don't get this question often, but just clearing it up right now anyways), it is a life changing experience. When you walk by a boudoir booth and you laugh, to me you are laughing at the women you see in my tradeshow, and it breaks my heart. You are laughing at their courage, at their strength, and you are laughing off your own courage and strength. When you don't believe you can do a boudoir session because you don't believe you are good enough, or beautiful enough, or anything enough, it absolutely kills me inside.
YOU ARE GOOD ENOUGH. YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL ENOUGH. YOU ARE CURVY ENOUGH. YOU ARE THIN ENOUGH. YOU ARE PERFECT. And you owe it to yourself to prove that, to know that inside and out, to be confident of that, and to have some incredibly great photos that you'll love forever to remember that!
But if you don't feel that way, I just want you to know, after having read a bit about where I come from, what I've been through, that I know what it feels like, and that it doesn't always have to be that way. What if a boudoir session changes your whole life? What if it allows you to leave that jerky guy you're with and allow yourself to be with someone who loves you for you? What if it allows you to stop telling your husband that he's wrong when he says you're beautiful? What if it gives you the confidence you need to get that promotion at work? What if it enables you to explain to your daughter what loving yourself really means? What if it helps you to explain to your son how to value his girlfriend, or his wife? What if it breaks all the negative things anyone has ever said to you, and replaces that thinking with positivity? What if?
What if this opportunity is sitting right in front of you, right now, and you have hesitated to take it? I dare you to do it. I dare you to show me, and you, and anyone else you want to share it with, how amazing you actually are. If you don't believe you will look good doing it, the only way I can prove to you that you're wrong (because, sorry, you are) is by doing a boudoir session with you, and showing you first hand. I personally guarantee that you will love your photos, and if you don't you can walk away, no harm, no foul. This is what it means to be fearless. But if you never take the opportunity, you'll never know.
If you would like more information or to book a session please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, I am more than happy to answer any and all of your questions.
And on another note, hair & make-up of the lovely (and very confident and beautiful!) Miss A was done by the equally lovely (because I think that's my favourite adjective) Katt Panic Make-up Aristry.