When Ray and I decided to do boudoir, we both wanted to do something creative and fun. Individually, I wanted to hang out with fun women all day and be surrounded by beautiful, girly lingerie, shoes and jewelry.
We love our shoots. The entire team gets giddy during the shoot because the client looks so freaking gorgeous and we can't wait to show her the photos.
I love meeting with potential clients. Each woman is so different and yet at the end of every shoot, I feel like we're friends. I want to invite these women over for dinner and keep laughing with them.
I love buying props, shoes and lingerie for our photography studio. I never thought I'd get so excited about buying shoes that aren't even my size, but I do.
I love showing the client her beautiful photos. We sit around and drink wine, laugh and usually end up chatting for several hours. It's an amazing bond that I cherish.
But here's what we didn't expect -- just how incredibly rewarding this business would be.
Some clients have told us that the experience was life-changing, that they didn't know they were beautiful until we showed them. I always tell them we just captured the beauty that was already there, because it's true. They just didn't notice when they were running around taking care of the house and kids, working and maybe caring for a sick parent or special needs child. The beauty was always there. We just peeled off some of the layers of obligations and stress.
I'm grateful that we're able to show these women that they're beautiful, but I'm sad that they didn't see it before. The comments we hear consistently pre-shoot break our hearts.
"I'm so ugly I'll break the camera"
"I'm way too fat to be sexy"
"My thighs are so disgusting. You can hide those, right?"
"My breasts are so gross and saggy"
I'll admit that I've thought most of those things about myself. I just didn't realize how many other women felt the same way and it's made me really evaluate the way I talk about myself.
Special K recently did a campaign called "Shhhhut Down the Fat Talk". It's a great campaign aside from the fact that they're recommending you use their product to maintain your weight, which will then make you feel better about yourself. It's a good start, but I think you should love yourself just. the. way. you. are. Because you're gorgeous. Seriously. And you don't need a low-calorie cereal to show you.
Go look in the mirror and find one thing you love about yourself. Ignore that terrible voice in your head that focuses on what you don't like. That voice is your worst critic. Stop listening to it.
Maybe you have beautiful lips, sparkly eyes or toned arms from lifting your babies. Sexy curves. Shiny hair. Nice legs.
Try to think of one thing about yourself that you love each day. Focus on that one thing throughout the day, then pick another feature the next day. And another feature the next day. Keep doing it until it's second nature to glance into the mirror and like what you see.
We need to learn to love ourselves, ladies. We deserve it. And as RuPaul says, "If you can't love yourself, how in the hell are you gonna love somebody else?"