I know you’ve heard me talk about my personal projects BUT I have never shared much more than a few photos with you. I think it is because they are a total process for me, from start to finish. The first time I ever ‘played’, just for me, I started with the vision of the photos, but I didn’t have my why. Now, I try to start with my why and fill in the blanks to create something magical.
So what do you think? Would you like to join me in the the process of my first ever personal project!? It’s a doozy!
Back in 2018 I had a spot open up in one of my Las Vegas boudoir events and I decided to keep it for myself. The thought was to find a friend to model for me and play with some ideas that I had brewing in my mind. My heart was aching for something deep and meaningful, even though I had no idea what would come of it.
At this point, these are the 2 things that I did know. The setting was a super cool retro Airbnb in Vegas. And I wanted my model to wear a velvet robe and a sailor’s hat, total Hugh Hefner vibes.
As I started putting more and more thought into this project I knew I had to decide…who is this woman and what is her story? Well, let me introduce you.
She is a badass. She has a genuine heart. She is not afraid. She is not doing or being anything for anyone other than herself, although she knows you are watching. She doesn’t care what you think. She’s ballsy, intriguing, and so easy to adore. Sexy as hell but not for you. She just is. So why the Hugh Hefner robe? Really, just to put the viewer in their place. She’s not your bunny. She’s the boss. Are you starting to feel what’s going on here? It’s gonna be sooooo good!
As I decided on my model and filled my team in on what I wanted, things fell right into place. The babe is one of my dearest friends and let me tell you…she is the sweetest in the whole world. So knowing the vision, I knew she had to play a part for me and WOAH did she nail it. I gave my team 1000% creative freedom to make this all come to life. And they do what they always do. WOW WOW WOW.
So now it’s time to shoot. And I’m still not even sure what my heart is trying to express. So, I just let go and let things fly. I tried things that didn’t work, but then I tried things that were better than I could have imagined. This babe trusted me 1000% and that made it easy for me to play, screw up, try again, reset, and then create. There were moments that made us laugh, moments that made me wonder, and then, the ones I live for…moments that took our breath away. Like jaw drop, stare in awe. Deep, meaningful, powerful beauty.
The rest of my Vegas trip was an amazing blur of clients and friends and family, I loved every second. I got home with a list of ladies waiting to see their photos and get their orders in. When I finally had the time to sit with these photos, the power they held brought me to tears. But I still didn’t understand why. So I edited without vision of what they would become. I was still so in love, even without fully understanding.
I remember when I first posted one of the photos, I looked for the perfect quote to go with this woman. That was when I was finally quiet enough to hear what my heart had been telling me this whole time. This woman…she is my heart for Blush & Tease. And oh, does she have something to say.
Let me give you a little background. Some of you have been following along for a while and you are completely on board with what I do. You see the empowerment, the beauty, the freedom. But not everyone does. I have felt so much resistance as a boudoir photographer. I’ve heard it all from “Oh it’s basically soft p*rn.” to “That’s objectifying women.”. My heart would just scream in frustration when people didn’t understand.
If you know me you know that I am a total people pleaser. I want everyone to love what I do! So I mean, maybe I should just quit? Maybe I’m not on the right track here?
But then I heard my clients. They told me what this experience did for them. They told me how they saw themselves in a different light. They told me that they have learned to fall in love with themselves. When I let those words sink in, my momma bear came out. NO WAY. I will NOT stop just because someone views what I do as ‘immoral’ or ‘impure’. I don’t do it for the people who are judging the process, I do it for the ladies who need this moment. This experience is pure and deep and so full of heart.
A couple of things I learned from this personal project…
I recognized the anxiety (in my business and my personal life) all wrapped up in people pleasing. Eye opener.
I also realized that my business is here to serve so many women in the most incredible ways. Widows, women who have lost parents or children, women who have battled with eating disorders, cancer, affairs, women who feel trapped as a mom or wife or whatever and don’t even remember who they are anymore, women who still haven’t felt like a woman…just little girls trying to figure it out. The list goes on and on.
I will not let my fear of disappointing the people who are on the outside looking in stop me from doing what I do for the ladies who are in this. I can not control the way someone perceives the Blush & Tease experience. I can only do what I love to do and hope that it is powerful for HER.
This quote is everything…
“I stopped explaining myself when I realized people only understand from their level of perception.”
The viewer has no idea what my client has been through, where she is now and what it takes for her to try to love herself as she is. This experience is for her. Her photos are for her. But I invite you into their power. However they speak to you, I can not control. So, I will keep doing what I do. FOR HER.
To wrap this up, I have to point you to some amazing song lyrics because, well, music is my fave.
“This could be the part of you that you ain’t ever seen before, this could be the part, the part of you you wanna be.” – Johnnyswim
I think that sums up this personal project. I wanted to see this woman. I photographed her, I fell in love with her, and then when I tried to define her I realized I was looking in the mirror at my business. What I do for women means the world to me. I want to always strive be authentic. To explore deeper. To lean into creativity that is powerful. Vulnerability and trust are a must. I don’t care if it scares people away because it will drive the women who need me right into my lap.
Thank you to my friend Essie Rose Photography for the behind the scenes shots!!