Guest post written by Michelle Oxier
“I’m not model material! Especially not boudoir model material!”
That’s what I’ve always thought. I never saw myself as having the “right” body for boudoir photos, but that didn’t mean I didn’t want to do it. I’ve always wanted to have my hair and makeup done by a professional, and to have my photo taken so that maybe I could see myself as the opposite of what I’ve always been told or believed about myself.
Then I found Acts of Beauty on Facebook and my attention was grabbed. Body positivity was in the forefront of what they were doing. Any woman, any size, shape, color, background… ALL women should have the opportunity to see themselves as the beautiful creatures they are… even me.
I spent the next hour on their website in awe. There were women like me featured in the gallery. There were blog posts that made me feel like Star was talking directly to me. I knew that if I was going to gather up the courage to have someone photograph me in an open and vulnerable way (ie: in my bra & panties!), Star had to be the one to do it.
On the day of my shoot my anxiety was in full force. Did I pack enough clothing and accessories? Did I pack too much? Was I really going to be able to loosen up enough for these photos to turn out great? Or would I become tense like I usually do when someone takes my photo? And was I really going to find the courage I needed to take my clothing off?
(Narrator: She was)
From the first moment I met Star, I knew there was something special about her. You expect to be treated a certain way by a business when you’re a customer and of course those expectations were met, but what I didn’t expect was the genuine kindness and care that is so obviously exactly who Star is. It’s not forced, it’s not fake, it’s completely natural.
It was that kindness and care that made me comfortable when I stepped into her studio. She made sure I was taken care of. She understood when I broke down in tears because I still believed I wasn’t the type of person who should be doing something like this. She gave me hugs, she fed me chocolate, strawberries and croissants while Michelle, her incredibly lovely hair and makeup artist, enhanced my features.
To be honest, I am not someone who is comfortable in front of a camera, I never have been. I was sure I was going to be an awkward mess the entire shoot. Ten minutes in, I was surprised to discover that I was fine and actually having a lot of fun! There was this sense of sassiness and spunkiness coming out of me that I didn’t realize existed!
Michelle, ten minutes into her shoot
Star guided me through posing, I wasn’t left to flounder and figure it out myself, she knew exactly what to do. She made me laugh, she made me comfortable. To me, that’s one of the most important things a photographer can do for a subject…bring them to a level of comfort that will allow them to be themselves…that’s when the real beauty comes through.
A few weeks later, I returned to the studio to view my photos. I was nervous. You know how you can pick apart photos of yourself based on what you think is good or bad about how you look? I fully expected that to happen. It didn’t.
I was proud of the woman I saw looking back at me in those photos. She was fierce. She was beautiful. She was strong. She was worthy. She was imperfect and she was okay with that fact.
As I sat there staring at those images, I knew that it was time for me to realize that I was all of those things too. Not just in a photograph, but in real life?
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Looking to hang out with amazing women like Michelle in a body-positive, supportive atmosphere? Check out the Acts of Beauty Insiders Facebook Group here!
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