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Camp Lejeune Boudoir Photographer

My ACNE doesn't define me | Naked but NOT AFRAID | Part 2 |

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My ACNE doesn't define me | Naked but NOT AFRAID | Part 2 |

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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"I am worth so much more than I think." | Miss K | Jacksonville NC Boudoir Photoshoot

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"I am worth so much more than I think." | Miss K | Jacksonville NC Boudoir Photoshoot

In April, we met up for coffee. I could tell that she was nervous, as many of my clients are initially; I mean they are meeting up with someone they will eventually strip down in front of, at a Starbucks. She had this low-key rocker essence about.  She had a take over the world with just one flash of her smile million dollar smile kind of vibe. However, her eyes shared a different story. They were this beautiful piercing blue color, but every time she answered a question about herself they dropped to the floor.  She told me she was not very confident. That the last time she felt beautiful was on her honeymoon last year, because she "felt like she had nothing to prove to anyone and was completely confident walking around without makeup on."

That day she was dressed in gym clothes and dark lipstick, looking absolutely fit and absolutely fierce. Nonetheless, she expressed her desire to loose more weight before her session. We talked for 3 hours, about everything; her fitness journey, her adorable bratty ginger cat 'Tigger', her Pitbull Monte, her career as a hairstylist, and her super supportive husband (who I didn't know was waiting in the car for our 3 hour chat, so sorryy!!!).

She explained to me that this boudoir experience was something she was doing for herself so that she could feel more confident and comfortable in her skin. And she was SERIOUSLY ready to feel this way about her self as soon as possible. In the past 2 years, she had saved, she had worked hard in the gym, she had found the right person to work with, and she was finally ready to take her confidence back!

I could write for days about this experience, but I think I better let Miss K take this one....

I know I had told you a little about the way I viewed my body. As a kid/teenager I was always told that I had “huge hips” and “thunder thighs” and although I knew my family didn’t mean it to be mean or rude it made me very insecure. I can honestly say that I was never confident in my body. I felt like I matured overnight and before I knew it my butt had doubled and I had huge boobs, and I wasn’t sure how to deal with it. As a teenager I found my self worth in what boys thought of me. I cared way too much about other’s opinions and that took a huge toll on my life and my self esteem. I had always known that I was a curvy girl but I never really wanted to be one. I wanted to be the stick straight skinny girl. I started becoming more and more insecure in the way my body looked, how my skin wasn’t clear, and a lot of other things. As I grew into adulthood I thought of myself less and less. I never really wanted to look in the mirror and I found it very uncomfortable if someone would compliment me. To this day I still get very awkward when receiving a compliment, I always want to tell them that they’re wrong.

[My Ex- Boyfriend] point blank called me fat, completely out of the blue. Again I found myself caring about what someone so insignificant thought of me and that was my motivation to loose weight. I knew I shouldn’t care what he thought but that really hit a nerve with me. Don’t get me wrong I am so proud of myself for loosing the 25lbs that I have lost, but I still see myself as fat. I was still so unhappy with myself.

I had read all of the reviews on your website saying how great all of these women felt about themselves after their shoots and I envied them. I wanted to feel great about myself for once. That is when I decided to contact you. I waited honestly almost two years to do this shoot because I was so nervous. I had always had self confidence issues and I wanted to make sure that when I did get to do this experience I had the right person. You were by far the best I have seen and I’m so glad I waited until I could book with you.

The questionnaire I filled out really made me dig deep. I remember one question in particular made me very uncomfortable. It was “When was the last time you felt beautiful?”. I honestly couldn’t remember, which I know is sad. I hadn’t felt beautiful in a very long time. In fact that word “beautiful” made me so uncomfortable all together. Even when my own husband would call me beautiful I wanted to argue with him and tell him I wasn’t.

The day of my ordering appointment, the second I saw those pictures I wanted to burst into tears. I’m not one to cry in front of people and I had worked really hard on my eyeliner that morning, which is why I managed to keep myself from balling. I looked at those images and couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Did I really look like that?! There’s no way that my body looked that good! It took me a minute to kind of take it all in. I was in complete shock. I saw myself in a totally different light than I had been seeing myself for years. Those pictures truly made me feel beautiful and sexy. I guess I’m writing all of this because I wanted to thank you for making me see that I am beautiful and that I am worth so much more than I think. You truly made a difference in me.
— Miss K

Hearing stories like Miss K's and being able to help change the way women see themselves is what makes me love Boudoir Photography so much! If you are in the Jacksonville, NC area and are ready to see yourself as so much more, holla at your girl ;)

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I always thought that I had the Resting Bitch Face | Jacksonville NC Boudoir Photographer

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I always thought that I had the Resting Bitch Face | Jacksonville NC Boudoir Photographer

When Jessi came to meet me for a cup of coffee there was a sense of urgency behind her motivation to have a boudoir experience. Her one year anniversary was quickly approaching but she still had a few reservations holding her back from jumping right into it. Of the few reservations she had, the one that stood out the most was feeling out of her comfort zone. She explained that,

I knew my husband would absolutely love it, but I’ve never done anything like this before. He always tells me how beautiful I am whenever I’m wearing lingerie even though I don’t feel comfortable at all....

So many women have come to me under the impression that the women who have gone through my experience are confident super models who lack any reservations when it comes to such an intimate experience. That the women I shoot are natural "PROs" in front of the camera who are ultimately fearless when it comes to boudoir.

But I can tell you that most, if not all of my clients, are afraid of not feeling comfortable, or feeling awkward during their shoot. And trust me it's 100% normal to feel this way.

Now, I can't take all the credit for your transformation between reserved to ultimately fearless super model, but somewhere in the midst of your shoot it will JUST CLICK. Sometimes it's because I put you a pose that makes you feel good, or I show you HOW AMAZING YOU LOOK on the back of my camera, or because I tell you a cheesy joke that is so HILARIOUS that you feel okay to let go and let out an AUTHENTIC SMILE.

Sometimes you need a little push and I am here to get you across that finish line. 

Today's post highlights Jessi's transformation from reserved to FEARLESS.

Hair and Makeup by Allyson Wonderland Makeup Artistry

Hair and Makeup by Allyson Wonderland Makeup Artistry

Here is what she had to say:

"I knew my husband would absolutely love the photos, but I've never done anything like this before. My husband always tells me how beautiful I am whenever I'm wearing lingerie but honestly I don't feel comfortable in it at all. I am super shy with my chest, and I show as little of it as possible. I always thought that I had the "resting bitch face".

"I did this for him, but in reality I did this for me to feel comfortable in my own body."

"Our first meeting went great and she really got a feel of what I was looking for. During the shoot she seemed like more of my best friend than a stranger. I loved the entire experience! I absolutely love when people pamper me. I could've fell asleep when Ally was doing my hair, it felt so good! Ally made sure I was comfortable with what she was about to do."

"We both had a vision and she created it."

"I was not expecting to feel so comfortable right when we started. I feel like we definitely clicked, and the laughing and joking made me relax and let go."

Alexandria taught me everything and the photos came out amazing! She went above and beyond to make sure to work within my time frame. I am so glad I went with my gut and followed through with her.

"You don't have to do this for anyone, do it for yourself. I feel as if we are so caught up in work, school, home life, that we truly forget how beautiful we are. We are all beautiful and doing a boudoir session proves it. I never knew I could look so fierce, soft, or sexy."

Isn't she absolutely breathtaking? All reservations aside Jessi rocked the shit out of her session. Thank you Jessi for allowing me help you cross that finish line and for allowing me to share your testimony and images with all the women who may feel like boudoir is out of there comfort zone.

 

Need help crossing your finish line?

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