Miss A applied to be one of my Glambassadors last year and you have seen this babe in our end of year #fuckdietculture video, but you haven’t seen her like THIS before. In fact, I don’t think she has ever seen herself like this before (aside from the quickie shoot she did with me 2 years ago!) Miss A is absolutely gorgeous and super passionate and a big advocate for body positivity, self love, and knowing your worth and she even brought her daughter in for the SHE IS sessions I did during the summer. Even still, she was incredibly hesitant to do her own full boudoir session (let’s face it, it’s not the most comfortable thing to get naked in front of a relative stranger….specifically one that will make you face the parts of yourself you have been taught to detest) and she went back and forth before her session actually happened. After thinking it through, however, Miss A took the plunge and came out feeling incredible (I AM SHOCKED.) But I want her to tell you her story, because I could tell you all day e’rryday how impactful a boudoir session with me is, but I’m kinda biased. Keep in mind, this first bit of her story was BEFORE she even came in for her reveal. I didn’t read this until AFTER she saw her photos, so I included her response to that experience at the bottom!
Ok…so first things first – this was one of the scariest yet most liberating experiences I have ever had….and it did not come easy. I had scheduled my session with Teri in early December and I thought that this was a good thing so that I could mentally prepare for it. So I thought about it and thought about it and 2 weeks later I found myself emailing Teri, telling her that I wasn’t sure I was the right choice and that i just didn’t think I could do it.
I was worried and nervous and scared….my girly bits….out there….for the world to see…..just the thought made me panic. After this, I had a good chat with a few people. Consensus was, what’s the big deal, if you are happy with yourself and don’t care what other people think , what is the big issue…if people don’t wanna look they don’t have to and if they do then great…unanimously I heard DO IT, you wont regret it! I waited for Teri’s response and she said that she wanted for me to get the full experience so that I can show other women and tell them how amazing it feels. So I agreed, still a bit hesitatnt bt YES, I was gonna DO IT!
The day of, I showed up and the process began….my hands were clammy and sweaty as I sat getting my hair and make up done. I would look up at the wall and see the testmonials of all these amazing women that had done this before me….things like “ I AM FUCKING BEAUTIFUL AND SEXY, AND STRONG AND ENOUGH.
Make up and hair done, I strolled into Teri’s office and she said ok now, take off the robe and put this on….i did and the shoot began…first couple were hard but Teri does such an amazing job at making you feel comfortable and beautiful and sexy…next came the next outfit and more posing and the next and then the dreaded moment…she says…take it all off and walk around a bit…NAKED…
Inside I was freaking out, but i knew I could trust her. I walked around a bit and then we started….IT WAS SOOOO LIBERATING….I felt amazing, and beautifiul and strong and
this feeling I would not change for anything.
Teri and her whole boudoir experience is something that every woman needs to try, you deserve it and trust me, from someone who almost
cancelled and lost that chance…you won’t regret it.
So today was the day….going in I was all kinds of things.. excited, nervous, scared….so many emotions. Sat down and Teri pressed play..i was literally shaking the while time…they took my breath away…in a good way. As I sat there and looked at myself I thought holy crap this is me.. holy crap….i think I may have fallen in love today….
I was so proud of her for pushing through that societal fear we all have, that little voice that worries more about everyone else than what is right for us. I always say, if you are nervous or anxious about doing a boudoir session that’s a good thing…the fact that you have deep feelings about something so amazing means you truly care about. I would be more concerned if you were complacent about the whole thing! I also always say that whenever you get that niggling feeling of fear and you push through it, regardless of the outcome of whatever you are doing, you will always come out of it a stronger person!
You know that feeling when the sun breaks through the clouds, creating what can only be described as Heaven rays? Well, that’s the perfect description of Miss B’s entrance into the room. For our first meeting, the consultation, she burst through the door with a grin and jazzy personality that filled the room immediately. Her laugh, her amazing smile, and her….aura were all so incredibly infectious that I knew she NEEDED this. With an energy that powerful, one can feel it shift and when she began to tell me her story….a story of loss, heartache, and disappointment in this beautiful body of hers, the clouds came back together and tears rolled down her cheeks. The day of her session was a day filled with such an array of energy feels: anxious, fear, excitement, joy, nervousness…it was a cocktail of all the feelings…and the day started with more clouds, than sunlight. But she persevered, as the sun tends to do on the cloudiest of days. Suddenly, the beams were back, the grin spreading from cheek to cheek, the sass coming forth in every movement, and the goddess within bubbled forward, basking the entire studio in what can only be akin to the sun breaking over the horizon in the morning, casting it’s glow on everything it touches. Miss B came alive right before my lens. I feel incredibly privileged to have gotten to know and experience Miss B and I can only imagine how grateful those who know her feel, when she casts her warmth and sunlight on them. Miss B wrote her own beautiful recount of her experience, in life and in her session because she knew it might be able to inspire just even ONE woman to feel differently….to feel empowered. Without further adieu, here she is:
I have always been a confident person, even when I had no right to be (hello 90’s? – Eek!). I’m not sure why but think it has to do with two things; I was the tallest, thickest girl in most of my classes growing up, so I accepted who I was early on and made no apologies for it. I was also lucky enough to have been raised by an incredible Mum and fabulous aunties who’d repeatedly tell me, “You can’t change the width of your shoulders or the size of your feet/You are beautiful inside and out – don’t be afraid to show the world who you are/Be fashionable, learn what flatters your body and walk tall/Size doesn’t determine worth.” This permission to be myself allowed me to flourish, to be kind, outgoing, intelligent, compassionate and confident.
On February 14, 2013 all of that changed. My husband and I were told that due to physician’s errors we’d never be able to have children. Utter devastation doesn’t even scratch the surface of how it affected us – me most of all. I am an only child and my husband is the only son with a partner. I placed the burden of carrying on both family lines directly on my shoulders and I felt I had failed myself, womankind, my husband, our parents and every antecedent that had ever lived. If I wasn’t going to be a Mum, what purpose did my life have? How could I face our families knowing I was such a disappointment? What did I have to live for? Through it all, my amazing husband would remind me, “I didn’t want to marry you so you would bear my children. I wanted to marry you because I knew I had to spend the rest of my life with you!” Coming from a very British upbringing where lips don’t quiver and you Carry On, I did my best to show a brave face to the rest of the world. We immediately started the process of adoption, went about our daily lives and fell apart in the privacy of our home.
Six months later my father died. The man who loved me unconditionally from the moment I took my first breath until the moment he took his last, was gone. Neither of us could do wrong in each other’s eyes and my decimation was complete. I totally gave up on life, on caring about myself and on hope. I felt worthless. I was reduced to nothing. I wailed and wallowed and grieved these deep losses for a long time. Through it all, my husband loved me, adored me, and reminded me that life was worth living. He still saw that spark of ME hidden under layers of sorrow that I thought was gone forever. Michael literally kept me alive.
Every Valentine’s Day for the last five years has been a shit show. We re-live that awful day in the doctor’s office and it casts a very dark shadow on what should be a wonderful celebration. This year I vowed to take the day back and made an appointment to see Teri. I was sick and tired of this sadness owning us and from now on, thanks to Teri, this date will be a celebration of us and of what we’ve survived together.
As I sat there during my reveal and saw these incredible images of myself, I was overcome with emotion. Yes! This is ME! While I watched my slideshow, tears streamed down my face, and with every blink I could see that Teri captured the Me I had lost, the Me my husband fell in love with and the Me the world used to know. I was shocked at how gorgeous I looked and yet felt a great swell of pride and confirmation as the hidden Me returned. When I started this process with Teri, I had convinced myself that this was going to be a gift for my husband and stand as a testament of our strength and love for each other. What I didn’t expect was that I fell in love with Me again.
Whether or not I become a mother, my life has meaning and purpose; to love those in my circle; to share my artistic gifts and bring joy to others; to be a light for everyone I meet and remind them that they have value. I accept what has been, live for what is and look forward to what will be.
This glorious babe has SO much love to give the world and I am so pleased that she stuck around to share some of her light with me. She also gave me the nickname Taco-Mama which I fucking love and am in the process of making a tshirt! Miss B, without a doubt, you are one of the most effervescent, brilliant women I have come to know and meet and I know you are going to move on, warming everyone with your beautiful light.
If you are interested in having your own self-love experience and uncovering that hidden light within, shoot me a message and let’s have a chat!
(photo by Modern Love Studios)
Now that 2017 is on it’s way out, I figured it would be a good time to get my year end post done, but this one is going to be a bit different. Usually I recap all the amazing shoots that I have had throughout the year, but if you want to see a fraction of them, feel free to zip through the blog for 2017 and get an idea. Ever woman that graces my lens is incredibly amazing and worthy of mention, but since I don’t want to keep you here for hours and hours on end, I am going to do something…new. 2017 is the year that I saw myself really step up in terms of photography education, and in an effort to get my name out there a bit more, I attended workshops, retreats, mentored, and more importantly made a lot of photographer connections. This year I had the pleasure of visiting a plethora of amazing boudoir photog friends and idols and in doing so, I was photographed multiple times throughout the year. I have waited until now to unveil all of the photos that I received from my talented peers because I wanted to wait until I wrapped the year. After being photographed as many times as I did this year, I realized something incredible about body image…..I will literally never know exactly how I look. I have been photographed by 4 different artists (and myself!) who interpreted me in a different way and as a photographer, I can tell you that that is how THEY see me. Some photographers brought out my sensual side, some my sexual side, some my bad ass side, some my soft side, some my rebellious side, my inner diva, my divine goddess, etc. No 2 sets of images are the same and I think this is the most incredible thing. I WILL LOOK HOW YOU WANT ME TO LOOK. Your perception of me will be based on your own body image, your life experiences, your view of the world and no matter how I try to change myself to adapt, I will never look ONE WAY to everyone….which is why I think it is ultimately ridiculous how we try to look ONE way, in an effort to appear “societally acceptable” when individuals make up society and will perceive you in their own way. People will choose to see your beauty or choose to find your flaws. Some people will find my rolls cute af, others will find my body appalling and disgusting. Neither is right or wrong. They are just perceptions (though I’m gonna side with the cute af) Some people will decide what is abhorrent about you, while others will decide that you are nothing but positive light. NEITHER OF THESE OPINIONS ARE RIGHT OR WRONG. They are simply their perception. I didn’t go into these photoshoots with any expectations aside from excitement, positivity and joy. When I look at all of these photos together, and the collage of metal images I have on my wall at home, I am reminded that I am not one way and I can’t possibly exist one way to everyone. Those who will choose to see what I do in myself: the strength, the passion, the creativity, the fire, and the goodness, are people I want to surround myself with going forward….and those that can’t see beyond what they consider to be my flaws, problems, or disgusting bits are people I don’t need to waste my precious energy on. I urge those of you reading this to GET YOUR PHOTO TAKEN AND GET YOUR PHOTO TAKEN OFTEN AND GET YOUR PHOTO TAKEN BY MANY PEOPLE. I want you to see the amazing bits of yourself that you don’t even know exist. I will stop babbling now, and let you get to viewing my Nudie Judie photos below. Ps. if nips and bums offend you, gtfo of here.
Fierce/Sexual Teri – courtesy of Modern Love Studios
Denise Birdsong made me feel so sexy and like a sexual goddess during my session. At first, I was nervous and felt I didn’t think I could be “sexy” in the way she wanted me to be. This woman is the queen of emotion so I knew I had to bring it, but part of my problem is overthinking and wanting to be perfect instead of just immersing myself in the experience. I remember feeling like a horse getting ready to exit the gate, and Denise calmed me the fuck down. It was an awesome experience.
Glamorous Teri – Jennifer Williams Boudoir
Jennifer and I had met at a workshop a few years ago, so when we got back into the studio together to shoot each other in her Vancouver studio I was super excited. She has made a huge name for herself in the boudoir industry for her clean, luxurious, beautiful work and bad ass boss babe attitude. During my session with her, I felt so glamorous lying about on the soft pillows, expensive sheets, standing against her marble inspired wall. It was a true glam moment for me! (especially since I usually wear sweatpants and tshirts)
Playful, Sweet & Sensual Teri – Joi Photography
Crystal and I had met at the very beginning of my boudoir journey at a retreat in San Diego and it was so amazing to catch up at her Saskatoon studio! Crystal has everything planned to the last detail and her attention to detail is what made my session feel flawless. I never felt uncomfortable once during our session (aside from physical discomfort from some of the poses, but I know to expect that bahaha….all my clients are laughing, because THEY KNOW….) When I saw the images, I almost cried because if you know me, soft is not a word I would use to describe myself (aside from physically haha!). But Crystal found my inner softness, sweetness, and flirt and I couldn’t believe it. My favorite image of ever was taken at this shoot, the black and white nudie one with me by the window where you can see my tum and my bum. I love it. I went back later in the year and Crystal also did headshots for me which are also 100% accurate to me. This babe is incredible, so those of you in Saskatchewan, please go see her!!
Wild Teri ~ Boudie Nation
Miss Kristina and I met up in Vegas this year during WPPI and on one of our trips to the desert we photographed each other. Kristina is immensely talented at blending her subjects with nature (check out her amazing work) and when I saw these I was in LOVE. I have to give props to my friend Angelina for the use of the fur coat haha! But I fell in love with tum in these images and there is something so…liberating about hanging about naked and semi-naked in the desert off the highway.
Rebel/Feisty Teri ~ Fearlessly You Boudoir
Paige and I met during our shoots with Denise Birdsong (during a photography retreat) and we bonded immediately. We had flown down to Pittsburgh to hang out with our mutual boudy bestie Stephanie Wells and played in her studio while Steph was getting her makeup done. Paige took complete control and despite being the sweetest, kindest babe, this girl knows how to bring out feisty Teri. We had an amazing weekend and next year we are set to go play in HER studio so look forward to more images from Paige!
Sassy Pants Teri – Teri Hofford Photography
This year I have spent a lot of time focusing outside of myself on my business and growing the education side of things, so this was the first time I had done boudoir selfies all year, but it was a look I had wanted to do for awhile with someone else, so I just did it with myself instead. I think these images do a good job of showcasing how I view myself. Selfies are something that can make or break a person’s confidence, but thankfully I had done a year of self portraits so I knew that it literally does take like 10 photos to get 1 good one and even then it’s not AS good as how someone else could take it unless you practice a lot. My goal for next year is to do a monthly session with myself to remind myself that I am worth the time, the energy and taking off the sweatpants for.
So what can you look forward to in 2018? Well, stay tuned for the next blog post to outline the plans, changes, and updates to Teri Hofford Photography! Thank you to everyone who has been part of my journey, whether you are a photographer, client, vendor, family member, friend, even the trolls (they usually give me good fodder for the blog). Without your love and positivity, guidance, support, and sharing of the stuff, I would not be able to empower as many women as I currently am. Words will never be enough for me to show gratitude for those that share my words, my images, my mission with their friends and family. YOU are causing change. YOU are powerful. Thank YOU.
I had used Miss K for a previous tutorial I was teaching and our first meeting at the studio went a little something like this:
Teri: Okay, take off your clothes and I’m going to put chocolate sauce on you, okay?
K: Wait, what?
Teri: Oh. That’s what the casting call said….you are going to be covered in all sorts of textures for a tutorial I am teaching.
entry we chatted about the concept a bit more, she was on board and she put with A. LOT. I covered her in honey, clay, chocolate sauce, glitter, baby powder, and oil. After our first shoot, I told her that she could DEFINITELY be a glambassador since she was willing to go through all of that to help me (well, that and her submission was pretty good too!) As soon as we finished that first shoot, she then invited me to join her to watch some roller derby which was pretty fun! In any case, this second shoot was much more in line with what we do in the studio for our clients. I am going to let Miss K tell you about her experience below:
Teri’s studio is gorgeous, welcoming, and full of light. When I first walked in, I saw her prints on the walls, her body positivity posters, and projects and I knew I was in a space of acceptance and girl power. The afternoon started off with Kylie slaying my makeup. Her and Teri both seemed earnestly excited to work with me and made me feel so gorgeous and welcome. I definitely feel like a clumsy potato some days, but in front of Teri’s camera, I was able to relax and find my groove.
I only almost fell over twice. Even if I have seen Teri’s amazing work I was still cautious of some things; I wanted to keep pulling my bottoms up over my muffin top and whip out my selfie face. My partner calls it my ‘blowing on soup face’, but I think it’s totally cute… I am at a point in my life where I celebrate my body and all that it can do, but I still have moments when I stop and second guess my self. I usually remember to pull my yoga pants over my tum when I sit down and suck in my gut when someone whips out a camera.
Through Teri’s coaching, I was able to relax and just live in that moment. I eventually listened when she told me to stop adjusting my clothes and trusted her that I didn’t look goofy. (“If people are looking at those details I didn’t do my job right” – Teri)
I left the studio feeling like a true glamazon. Going in for my reveal was amazing. Teri’s posing directions are great and had me looking and feeling like a model, no one should worry about not being “photogenic”. This lady is magic, a real-life fairy godmother, with a camera instead of a magic wand. Bippity-Boppity-Beautiful.
The experience itself was amazing, but the photos were even better than I expected. Thank you Teri! I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to shoot with Teri. She has created an amazing space in person and via social media, that is accepting and empowering. We could all use a little more Teri in our lives.
I hope I can make the women in my life feel the way Teri made me feel. During my photo shoot, I felt uninhibited and empowered. Looking at my photos, I feel sexy and beautiful, which isn’t something I’ve always been able to say. Owning your sexuality and being happy in your skin in a strong, amazing feeling. Too often we live and present ourselves for other people, or dwell on our perceived flaws. Which is just silly.
I would encourage anyone I know to do a boudoir shoot. If you’re anxious or you have any appearance-based reason not to, that is the same reason I would tell you that you should. Arch and pose your worries away, you’re beautiful.
Are you ready to have your own Bippity Boppity Beautiful moment? If so, shoot me an email!
Miss J is another of my babely Glambassadors, a babe who struggled for a wee bit to find the woman that had gone missing for a few years. Her submission for the Glambassador position had me in tears and so did her recap of her experience with me. I am going to let her take over now, because she can explain it way better than I ever could, but let me just say that this woman is on a mission to change the way women and girls see themselves and when she talks about it, she sparkles from the inside.
On October 7th, 2017 I went and did something…SOMETHING HUGE!
For anyone that knows me they know that I am pretty much the girl next door. I am not fancy,and pretty simple in the way I wear my makeup and dress. I am a Momma, a wife, a friend… Iam the one that listens, helps, comforts and nurtures anyone and everyone that needs it. That’s pretty much me in a nutshell.
I have been lost for a long time. The woman that I was was long since gone. I don’t know where or when it exactly happened. Perhaps a little bit, day by day, week by week and year by year as little pieces of who I was were stripped away. It took me watching my children grow to start to see how much of myself I had lost.
I knew I wanted my children to grow up with a Momma with a strong sense of self-love and identity. One that is happy, healthy, confident and comfortable in her own skin. Trust me it wasn’t easy to cut out the negative inner self-talk. However, I knew that I never wanted them to hear me utter one word of negativity because it would kill me to hear them speak of themselves in that way. So I made a choice to stop and never start again.
Part of this journey led me to discover Teri Hofford Photography. Being a lover of photography and a passionate hobby photographer myself, I was instantly drawn to her work. She has this incredible way of capturing people. I love how creative her sessions are and how she captured every body type in flattering ways using shadow and light. Shortly after that I discovered her private group and enjoyed watching her share her love of all things positive and empowering. I love how passionate Teri is and how she makes it her personal goal to help women fall in love with themselves again, and strives to build women up by seeing the beauty in everyone.
Anyone that is in the group knows that you cannot help but feel like you know Teri even if you haven’t met her. She just has this way about her. Teri is real…like what you see is what you get, there is nothing fake about her and I love that.
One day, I happened to be online when I saw her posting a search for Glambassadors. She was looking for people to share her brand and message. I think I looked at this posting a half a dozen times before I decided to apply on a lark because “why would she pick me?”. I am just an average woman. I’m not a model and I’m middle-aged. You know, just a ‘Regular Joe’ so to speak. Imagine my shock when I received an email in my inbox saying I had been selected. Seriously, I was like WHAT?! This cannot be right!? I must have read that email a halfa dozen times. Part of me was like shit, why did I go and do that? And then part of me was like YES! This is going to be AMAZING!
The thing I hadn’t realized at first was that as a Glambassador I was to do a session with her. Well, sure I had toyed with the idea of doing one….maybe at some point in the very distant future…LOL. Well… Teri is Teri and when she gets going on a project it goes full steam ahead! In just a short time she had gathered the team of Glambassadors together and she was booking us for our private sessions. Honestly, I still wasn’t sure what hell I had gotten myself into as I sat alongside all of these stunning and amazing women.
Here I was now one month out from my session and seriously freaking the hell out. I must have gone back and forth on what to wear at least a hundred times. I finally messaged Teri and shesaid, just relax, it’s not about the clothes…It’s about you. She told me not to worry and that she would find the perfect thing in the Boudy Closet for me to wear. So, with that being said, I did my best to put my fear aside and let my outfit obsessing go. I put my trust in her.
The day of my session I was a wreck but did my best to hide it. I am sure Teri could tell, although she never said either way. I was still second guessing my decision to do the session even as I walked in the door. It was like an internal armageddon going on in my brain…LOL. I didn’t think I could do it, yet there was another part of me that was yelling, DO IT! I was a bag of emotions, butterflies of excitement and absolute fear.
Teri was her fabulous self, of course, and that put me a bit more at ease. The first thing I did was pull out the possible outfits that I brought with me and laid them out for Teri’s perusal. Then we were off down the hallway headed to hair and makeup with the incredibly talented, Kylie. Seriously, this gal is amazing! Having never had my makeup done professionally before this was quite the experience. Kylie told me she had been instructed to do my makeup like that of a ‘Victoria Secret’ model. This gave me an inner giggle as there is no way in hell I am anything like a lingerie model let alone a Victoria Secretone. When my makeup was done I was blown away. I hardly recognized myself. It was me, only sexier. I was seriously feeling glamourous now. I am not sure why but Marilyn Monroe seemed to keep popping into my mind. I had always loved her sense of style and the confidence she always seemed to exude in photos. Anyways, now, it was time for the scary part…outfits and pictures! Ack!!!!
Heading back into the main studio, Teri and I chatted about my first outfit and the items I had chosen to bring. Teri pointed out that I had brought a lot of ‘Mom Clothing’…LOL, she was not wrong. Upon looking at it again. I realized she was right, but the whole situation was outside my norm and comfort zone. I typically wear yoga pants, tank tops, and activewear jackets. Now in sports terms, this moment would be considered: GO TIME!
It was indeed my GO TIME and I was now moving full speed ahead in my bra and panties, hoping not to crash, trip or make an absolute fool of myself. I swear my heart was beating so fast, I would be amazed if Teri didn’thear it. My palms were cold and sweaty and I kept thinking,“Oh my God, can I do this? Will I beable to pose right? Will I look super weird?”
Seriously, so many stupid things were going through my mind. I knew I needed to focus so I did my best to channel the music that was playing and Teri’s instructions. My goal now was to show Teri that I could do this and do it well. The first few poses started happening. Teri was fluid, she showed me what to do, she guided me, had me relax and breathe, she made me laugh. I closed my eyes and followed her guidance and with each click of the camera, I began to grow more relaxed. Teri was in her zone, her confidence and ease began to become my own.
As the session progressed and outfits changed and clothing disappeared. I didn’t really notice it anymore. Teri was so right, this session was less about the clothing and all about me, my body and love of self. I know this may sound silly and strange but I cannot explain what happened that morning other than to say I changed. I became more and more comfortable and confident in myself, my movements and my body. By the end of the session I was confident, strong and powerful.
Was I feeling scared or uneasy? Unattractive? Unworthy? Was I worried about my mommy tummy, stretch marks, and my scars? The answer was…
No. I had one feeling and one feeling alone…Freedom. I was finally free. Free from all of it.
The emotional weight of all of the mountains of feelings that I had carried with me each and every day for years, the judgment and over thinking, the worry & self-doubt, the wonder of who I am underneath it all. I could finally see ME. I could feel ME. I was there. I was real. I was raw. I was beautiful!
I had finally been found!
Miss J submitted an amazing story to become a Glambassador and after I had the girls in my studio, there may have been some tears as she shared her past with us. This beautiful, brave, strong girl had a story so much like myself and I knew I had made the right decision in asking her to go through this experience. I am going to let her share her story with you because, well, she tells it much better than I ever could.
I remember sitting in the desks at school, and feeling my wide thighs leak over the sides of the chair. I remember being hunched over, grasping my belly into my hands, so mad at myself for being this way. Comparing myself to other girls was something I did every day, and every day I always came up short. I always wondered what I did wrong, why me… why did I have to be overweight. Why not her, or her? I was called fat and lazy and ugly so many times that those words didn’t even register after a while. I remember hating myself.
Throughout the years, I was bullied by everyone, but perhaps in a less direct, more subtle and more painful way. I would hear hollow statements from condescending sympathizers like, “oh, it’s what is on the inside that counts” or “but your face is so pretty” or “maybe if you lost like twenty pounds…” At the time, these comments made me angry, but I directed it towards myself, not others.
I hated being naked. I played sports and was quite active, which meant I had to change in front of others. I remember strategically planning my underwear and bra, to show as little as possible, arriving early to change, and being ashamed if anyone saw my belly. By now, there were bright red stretch marks everywhere. I avoided mirrors and especially pictures. I was good in sports, often considered one of the best defensemen on my Ringette team. I would have moments of excitement and pride, when I was able to stop goals or clear the zone. But that feeling never left. Sometimes I forgot about it, sure enough though, it would rear it’s ugly voice, reminding me that I am not good enough. Too fat. Too big. Too gross. Disgusting.
Years later, my body issues exploded into something far more complicated than I could have imagined. Infertility. Married, and ready to start a family, again, I was left wondering why me… why did this happen to me? I was (and am) so incredibly lucky to have such a supportive husband, who stood beside me, and we walked along my journey of infertility together. Still, my hatred for my body only grew, and never would I think I would be involved in boudoir. I did not like being naked. I hated being in a bathing suit. I did not own one piece of lingerie. It did not change for me until I became a Mom of four children in need of a safe and loving home. My daughter looked up to me, and I never wanted to make her feel like I felt. Over the course of a year, and with the help of surgery, I lost over one hundred pounds. Although this helped me keep up with my kids, I still had the ugly voice in my head, telling me I was not good enough. With a lot of work and support, I began to value myself.
I hear these amazing rewards from my children, when they talk about sticking up for heavier children who are bullied, or seeing a picture of me from before my weight loss, telling me I was just as beautiful as I am now, or that I am the same great Mom I always have been. They probably have no idea how much that means to me.
So when I found myself e-mailing Teri, telling her why I want to be a Glambassador, I honestly never thought that I would be considered. When she chose me though, I knew I was ready. The night before my shoot, I bought my first piece of lingerie. When I arrived, I was predictably nervous and worried. I was convinced I wouldn’t be able to pose properly, or that my face would look awkward. Sometimes it is so amazing to be wrong.
Teri was incredibly warm and welcoming. She explained the poses so well, and was patient when I was struggling to get in the right pose. Teri also said that not every picture will turn out great, but I will not see any unless they are. That really helped me let loose and go for it. It wasn’t long into the shoot when I was fully naked, lying on a bed, having photographs taken, and feeling completely comfortable. More than comfortable, I felt empowered, happy, and worthy.
The following week, I went into her studio again to have my reveal session. Of course I was nervous, not knowing how the pictures would turn out. During my slideshow, two things happened. I could not believe the muscles in my body, and how I looked from a different point of view. I had never seen myself from these perspectives, it was incredible. The second thing that happened, was I noticed my stretch marks. I noticed their white, wiggly lines trace my belly, arms, and breasts. For the first time in my life, these lines were celebrated.
I did not feel ashamed. I loved myself more that day. I continue the battle that most women face, to love themselves and feel worthy. Teri definitely contributed to my self-worth in a fun, creative, and powerful way.
Perhaps the best part, after I went through with Teri which photos were keepers, I got to share them with some of my close friends and my partner. It only gave me more reassurance and confidence to see their reactions, affirmations, and amazement. And just like that, the conversation changed from, “you have a pretty face” to “wow, you are beautiful” to “I am beautiful.” That last leap was in part because of Teri, and her remarkable ability to take women of all shapes, sizes, backgrounds, and insecurities and make them feel beautiful.
Miss J opened up big time for her session and she exuded such…confidence and strength in her photos, and it wasn’t because of her body, but rather because of the self work that she has done over the past few years to truly start to love herself for WHO she is rather than WHAT she looks like.
You have seen this saucy minx countless times on my website by now….but probably never like this. You see, Miss S has known me now, for about 3 years give or take and since our first meeting where I apparently told her “you are already beautiful, bitch” she has become the THP Studios cheerleader. This babe had such an inner transformation since her first shoot, but we all know that self love and body image doesn’t get overcome in one day or one photoshoot. So, when she came in for her Glambassador shoot she was expecting the usual hair and makeup we always do for her, but I knew she needed another little nudge (also I needed something different for photos of her). When she walked in I told her we would be doing natural makeup, sticking with pinks and nudes and you could see her panic start up a wee bit….then I broke the other news….we were going to go outside. Miss S had already been photographed in my studio like 4 times, so we needed to shake it up a bit. Well, once makeup was done, she had a hard time accepting her makeup (you will read about it during her part) because she had come to know herself as the red lipped-winged liner babe and we stripped that away. I told her we were on Empowerment Level 2. She graciously trusted me and of course, killed her session….because we all know that sexiness, sassiness, and sauciness is not just found in a lip color, the way we shadow our eyes or in our wardrobe…it is found in our actions, our voice, and our ability to love on the world. Miss S has so much love for the people in her life and literally will do anything for those close to her, she is a true champion of body positivity, and she loves lifting others up….and I needed her to see that those are the types of things that make her sexy and to not be afraid of seeing her natural lip color. Anyhow, I am so proud of this OG boudy babe and I am going to let her relate her story to you because it’s important.
When I walked into the studio, it was a beautiful Friday afternoon and I was excited like I always am when I walk into Teri’s studio. So she looks at me and she has this look about her and she said today we are doing something completely different and I said oh are we going outside ? Her response was sure we can totally go outside but you are going natural and my heart plummeted to my stomach and I am sure the look on my face was pure terror.
What do you mean natural ? Like Natural make up no wing tips no red lips just a natural lip color and natural tones …oh and we are going to shoot in more natural tones for outfits. I wasn’t comfortable at all during makeup I think I questioned Nicole a 100 times on what she was doing.
So then we were shooting I was worried about my small lips , and worried about my skin abrasions I have on both legs , which I have asked every time Teri has shot me to try not to get them. We shot in the studio and I think Teri could sense that I wasn’t as comfortable as I have been in others. I was more comfortable without clothes on in front of her camera then I was without makeup.
Honest to goodness it sounds ridiculous but it was true. We decided to go outside , I was nervous butterflies were intense in my stomach I was going into the public in a trench coat and bra and panties at 3:30. This was liberating, it was crazy!!!
I was happy and had forgotten all about the fact that I was not “wearing my face “. Now fast forward a couple weeks and Ms Teri messages me and says do you want to see your pictures and I responded yes?? As I scrolled the 1st image I saw was my ass and the skin abrasions …she told me that you will see that I left in your spots…to which I replied “I noticed” and I cried.
I still don’t know why I cried …I don’t know if I cried as a release because they are me and I have to love them or if I cried because I wasn’t ready to see the real me, the stomach rolls which I know I have been have never really allowed them to show, or the red dots which pain me greatly. I still don’t know why I cried. Teri reminded me I am beautiful not because of the stomach and the red dots but because of who I am even with the red dots and stomach rolls.
I reviewed the pictures 10 times in 30 minutes and I quickly scrolled past the pictures that show my stomach and I picked about all my flaws in each picture . Teri reminded me to look at my pictures like they are someone else and picture by picture I started to smile . I actually think the red dots are cute. This learning to love myself business is very hard but I am learning to accept ALL parts of me not just the ASSETS ( like really DAT ASS is for days) but also for my perfect imperfections … As she called it empowerment level 2 ….and from here it can only get better …as I learn and grow into the empowered confident woman I am becoming.
For me, it is important that EVENTUALLY women face the reality that is their body. As women we already compare ourselves to other people and the younger, smaller versions of ourselves and it’s bullshit. Usually the first session I will take care to acknowledge your areas of insecurity and what not, but if you stick with me long enough (like Miss S!) Tough Love Teri is going to step in and we are going to work towards accepting all the bits that are unique to you. I don’t want you comparing the body you see in the mirror to the body you see in one of the images I take of you and noticing a huge difference. I need you to SEE yourself, accept it (I’m not even asking for love, just acceptance) so you can start focusing on bigger and better things! (Like going outside and getting naked).
- body image
- curvy boudoir
- Fine Art Nudes
- Get Messy
- guest post
- Imperial Goddess Session
- Inspiration Session
- International boudoir photography
- male boudoir
- Not Yo Mama's Headshots
- Picture Me Perfect
- RAW session
- Vendors We Love