Something I pride myself on is shooting and connecting with REAL women. So when I announced my idea of naked but not afraid, I got an overwhelming amount of emails from women with very inspiring stories. I honestly wish I could take every story and bring it to life, because each and every woman deserves that. I am thankful for you all.

As you may already know, the goal of my Naked but NOT AFRAID series is to show the world that beauty isn't a definition, it is a way of truly being free. Beauty is vulnerable and authentic, and more importantly, messy. Beauty is being who you are, the good and the bad. EVERY woman deserves to feel beautiful despite the constant pressure from society to be 'perfect'.

I narrowed it down to 5 women. 5 women with unique stories that gave me the feels, women with stories of how they put their middle finger up to the man and said THIS IS WHO I AM AND I DON'T CARE WHAT YOU THINK. This is their journey to finding confidence again, despite setbacks. These are 5 of the strongest women I know.  These Women are NAKED but not afraid.

After reading a lot of "it would be cool" and "I want to model just because" emails I stumbled upon Megan's email and it quickly caught my attention! I read it and immediately broke down in tears. I was so sad that she felt that way about her skin, I was so sad that society made her feel ashamed over something she couldn't control.  She was the first person that spoke to my heart and I knew her story needed to be shared because of how many women likely feel them same way and their skin. I truly appreciated how candid and vulnerable Megan was with me from the start. When we met for coffee to plan out how we were going to share her strength with the world we instantly clicked. I knew we were going to create something very special.

That being said, this is naked but NOT AFRAID part 2 featuring Megan. A story of how Megan dealt with cystic acne, but overcame her insecurities to pose MAKEUP free, to show the world she is NAKED but not afraid. I hope you feel this, I hope this speaks to you like it speaks to me.

HERE IS MEGAN'S STORY:

"I applied for this model call because it spoke to me. I knew Alexandria would not only take beautiful photos, but my story would be told and could potentially inspire others to not be afraid to be themselves. It seemed so raw and empowering and the final "step" to feeling free. Those who know me know that I rarely go out without makeup, so to do an entire photoshoot without it not only faced my insecurities but it told them to 'f off'. I own my thoughts and I own my confidence."

My journey begins in 2014 when I decided to make skincare my career. I dealt with some teenage acne and had a passion for makeup that I wanted to use to help other people. So, I went to school to become an Esthetician and began working at Sephora as a skincare specialist.

Fast forward about two years and I got off birth-control to let my body do its thing naturally. That’s when things started to change. My face began slowly breaking out. Me, knowing and understanding skin, was doing what I could to manage it and nothing was working due to hormones. It was frustrating…but I was coping.

Finally, I went to a doctor who put me on medication. I finished the prescription, my face had cleared and I was very optimistic. Within a week of finishing it my face broke out in cystic, painful acne, over my entire face. I was mortified, depressed, and feeling like a failure. This is my career. How can I help others feel beautiful and how will they trust me looking like this? I cried every day, could not look in the mirror (tearing up just thinking about it), and was so sad.

People said things; telling me I must have had an allergic reaction to something, kids asking me what was on my face and even asking how I could be happy. People would stare. It was so, so painful. I vividly remember this 8 year old girl coming up to me while I was sitting on a bench... 

She said, "what's on your face?" I replied," Just some boo boos but they will go away." And she looked at me and said," How can you be happy like that?" And I teared up and told her that I try to always be happy and then her dad came up and grabbed her hand and guided her away. And then I burst into tears.

The day before a women that owned a little restaurant I loved, saw me and commented "oh my, you must have had an allergic reaction." And I turned to my friend who looked mortified, tried to force a smile, and then I placed my order.

So one day I decided if I couldn't fix my skin right away, I could work on myself. So every day I started telling myself that I was beautiful. I started working out so I'd feel good about my body, and even though my husband told me I was beautiful, I knew I had to learn how to love myself and to believe that I really was beautiful- inside and out.  I needed to look in the mirror and not burst into tears at the reflection I saw, both literally and figuratively with myself.

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I began working out more, cooking, and journaling. I would do my best to wake up every morning and get my mind in a positive place. I’d reflect on who I am and focus on loving all the parts; learning that it is okay to simultaneously love yourself while tweaking the parts that you want to improve.

My body started transforming. And then my mind. I started to feel good, regardless of my acne. Sure, I had PLENTY of setbacks (and still do) but it was the beginning of my relationship with myself.

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The most important part of the session was letting go. Not worrying about how my hair looked, how my makeup looked, how my body looked. Simply being in touch with who I am and not worrying what anyone else thinks.
— Megan
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After my session I absolutely believe that I'm naked but not afraid. I came feeling strong and left feeling stronger. I felt beautiful, confident, and sexy and as much as I love the power of makeup, I learned that I can feel all of those things (and more) without it.

If I could give any advice to those coming into a boudoir session, it'd be to let go. Don't worry about who will see what or what they will think. Do this for you. When you let go of all of that, you come alive. 

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A year later, my skin is now clear, and it feels so good. I do have some light scars (that I'm still treating). With those scars though, I'm reminded of my journey to loving myself, no matter what my skin looks like. I'm also reminded humbly, of why I became an esthetician and it's to help other women feel beautiful and find their self-love, and I understand more than ever the hurt and pain of that journey.
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"The last time I felt beautiful prior to our experience, was that morning. I was so happy with how far I had come- the fact that I was getting ready to do an entire photoshoot sans makeup!"

I have learned to love all my little pieces and my wish is for everyone to have that kind of love. I have so much empathy and compassion for everyone that is on their own journey. This entire experience has given me purpose and direction in my life. It’s strengthened me in ways I could not imagine and I hope that I can inspire others to not only love themselves, but to be fearless and embrace your struggle.

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"Don’t wilt. Nourish your soul and blossom."

xx -Megan

I am crying happy tears! AHHH Megan I am so happy for you! You are so fierce in your pursuit of life!

If you love her story leave some love below! Share the post! If you have an insecurity you would like to overcome tell me your story below!

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