I hear it time and time again. “When I lose x pounds.” “I’m not a model.” “I’m the funny/friendly friend, not the beautiful or sexy one.”
If I asked you to say “I am beautiful” out loud…. could you do it? It’s three words. Can you actually allow yourself to hear those words come out of your own mouth? Does it make you uncomfortable? Are there tears in your eyes right now even thinking about it?
Over the past few years, I have become borderline obsessed with every woman I meet learning that they CAN see beauty in themselves. As I’ve grown this business, I realized that I wanted to not only diversify the women shown in my portfolio, but to show them that together, they are all beautiful despite how different each of them were. Through this, The Every Woman Every Body experience was born.
Eight brave souls joined me at a quaint lake house near Lake Winnepesauke, on a brisk and misty day. Each of these women had been selected from hundreds of women who applied to be a part of this experience, because they came from such different backgrounds, looked different, and felt like they didn’t fit society’s definition of beauty in some way. Each of them had something burning in them telling them that they were going to be the ONE woman in the world I couldn’t photograph. We started the day with everyone smiling and laughing nervously as they walked into the room and introduced themselves, each knowing that at the end of the day, they were going to be stripped down with these women, standing in a not-so-warm lake. At the end of the day, we were a tribe, connected on an extremely deep level, and ready to change both our own lives and the lives of the women around us.
I could go on and on, but I’m just going to shut up, share some images from the day, along with some words that these amazing women have shared. As a heads up, if you’re not ok with seeing empowered women in the buff, I’d stop here if I were you!
“I’m 35 and I’m a service technician for a large fitness company. I’m a veteran of the US Navy. I ride motorcycles. I fought and beat cancer. Twice. I never felt like a model because of my job, my past, my squish. I’ve never felt beautiful even though my main squeeze tells me daily that I am. That was before the session. Now, I have more confidence, I hold my head higher, I wear lipstick daily! I embrace fear more than running away now. I would do this again and again. And yes, I am beautiful!””
“I figured there were so many other ladies that deserved it more. I woke up the morning of the shoot and almost backed out! Truthfully, I wasn’t as nervous to just be naked in front of you or the other girls as I thought I would have been. It was almost like “f*ck it, we all born naked and there ain’t nothin wrong with being naked, even outside in a lake.” The experience was so great and that it didn’t matter that according to super model standards, I am overweight and would never be chosen. My crazy hair and tattoos were what I like, and if other people like that too, great. And if they don’t like those things, that’s ok too. People can tell you you’re the most beautiful person in the world, but you have to feel it for yourself. Caroline made me feel it.”
“I mean, I guess Crush from Finding Nemo said it best. “First, you were like, whoa! And then we were like, WHOA! And then you were like, whoa.”
“I didn’t know if I could even go through with it. I actually hid outside and cried 3 times before it was my turn. I have never liked my body, ESPECIALLY naked. The stories I heard that day were so inspiring, emotional and so raw. This is what we were here for. To be put in our most vulnerable state and to still feel beautiful. They gave me that little boost of confidence I needed to just get out there and not think about it.
Then there was Caroline. She was the cherry on top. She made getting my photo taken so easy and natural it was like I didn’t even realize or care that I was naked. And I felt beautiful. We all did. By the end of the night we all were walking around as if we grew up with each other. All the walls were down. Seeing my images, I cried again, this time tears of happiness. I couldn’t believe it was me. I was stunning. To think that people might see me like that when they looked at me really changed something in me. I feel beautiful inside and out. And will never forget that experience not the women that day. I will definitely be doing this again! Thank you, Caroline.”
“The night before I couldn’t sleep. Packed and repacked my bag no less than five times.Fast forward a few minutes to getting to the house – all of us looked like a deer in headlights. The house filled with nervous laughter. Then we need to introduce ourselves. Shit. My mind goes blank. I muster up some courage and gave my schpeal. I watched two women have their pictures done before me, then Caroline comes into the house and it’s my turn. We go down stairs and the clothing comes off. I felt so comfortable with Caroline and the 20-30 minutes felt like 10 seconds. The bond all of us women made in that house that rainy day in New Hampshire has been engraved in my memory.”
I’m so lucky to have Jessalyn on my team. Not only was she there to make all our babes feel amazing, but decided (after some coaxing by the ladies) that she was going to walk the walk. In the words of one of our muses for the day, “As soon as your eyes are done you hear this angelic soft voice “so pretty!” Jessalyn is the Bob Ross of makeup and made this tall tree happy.”
“I am in a total state of amazement! I had my reservations, but I went anyway and I’m so glad I did. I have spent my entire life trying to fit in I’ve always been highly critical of my appearance. I cannot put into words how exactly how I feel, but I will say this….. I was so lucky to be one of the 8 chosen women to do this campaign. This journey never would have been possible without the most amazing photographer and person I’ve ever met. Caroline – I don’t even know how to begin to thank you. You made me feel safe, secure, and comfortable when I was at my most vulnerable. You saw something in me and you brought it out in your photos. I left my reveal in shock. I am 47 years old, I am overweight, I carry both physical and emotional scars, and I AM BEAUTIFUL, inside and out.”