I am a former model and pageant queen, but for a woman who has spent much of her youth and part of her young adult life in front of cameras, I tend to feel slightly sick when it comes to having my photo taken. I hope that the photo will only be from the neck up, I rearrange myself to my “good angle” (always, ALWAYS the left side), and I thank the heavens photo editing apps exist.
Like so many women, I don’t have the best self-image. I do have my moments though – those rare times when I look in the mirror and I feel quite lovely…at least until I come across a poorly-angled picture of me on Facebook. Then the shame I have in my body is staggering.
Over the last few years, since meeting my steadfastly supportive now-husband and beginning my personal journey in therapy, I’m learning so much about the power of self-acceptance and being kind to myself.
Fast forward to last spring when, in the midst of my personal journey AND wedding planning, I decided to enter a contest for a boudoir session with Abigail Gingerale Photography (whom we already fell in love with and chose as our wedding photographers). Well, I won! I intended for it to be a wedding present to my husband, but it ended up being a gift to myself as well.
I was incredibly nervous in the weeks leading up to my shoot, but Abigail was always available to talk me through my nerves and help me prepare. When the day came, I was calm, happy, and ready!
Throughout the shoot, she told me how to position my body as we played with various backgrounds, outfits, and lighting. Let me tell you, Abigail knows light! The instant she showed me my photos, I gasped in awe at the woman looking back at me. In almost every shot, she had captured my hourglass figure at its best, and every pose enhanced the loveliest features of my body, my face, and even my personality. To sum it up, my first boudoir shoot left me buzzing with excitement and confidence.
I did my second boudoir photo shoot 2 weeks ago, and this time I did it for me. Just because. Once again, Abigail gave me an accurate reflection of myself – a beautiful, SEXY woman! Oh, and did I mention- Abigail hadn’t Photoshopped a thing about me.
I wish I could say I’m 100% cured of every negative view I have of my looks, that I’m super comfortable in my skin, and that I never critique a single Facebook photo I’m tagged in. But although I still struggle with my self-image at times, I can say in all honesty that because of my boudoir sessions with Abigail Gingerale, I’m so much kinder to myself when I think of how powerful and beautiful I felt in front of her camera.
I’ve fallen in love with Boudoir! When I flip through my albums, I find myself smiling and tearing up at the overwhelming feelings of self-love – feelings I didn’t experience before my photo shoots! So maybe in some way I have been given a cure, because these experiences are opening my eyes to what I already knew: it doesn’t matter how society sees me, it’s about how I choose see myself. I can’t wait for my next boudoir shoot, and the next, and the next.