So by now you know about “Enough – Perfectly Imperfect”, my project to empower woman by showing them just how beautiful they are.
In May I received an email from a lady inquiring about a boudoir session that she has dreamt of giving her husband for his 40th birthday and also that this year is their 10th wedding anniversary. She then used these words “But here is my problem…”. She listed all the “problems” she has with her body and then mentioned that she was born with only one hand. Although she is fine with having just one hand, she dislikes seeing it in photos. Just under that she asks me if I would be up to the “challenge”. I literally broke down in tears! Not because she was born with one hand but for ever thinking that she is not the perfect candidate for a photo-shoot and she does not want to make my work challenging. WOW! I was speechless.
We started planning her session together and did her Boudoir session late August.
During her session I showed her a few of the images on the back of my camera because I wanted to be sure she is comfy with how I posed her and the placement of her arm on the side where she does not have a hand. I remember taking a chance and posing her where you can completely see her arm, I showed that to her and tears filled her eyes as she said this is the first photo ever where she does not dislike seeing her missing hand.
On the day of her reveal I felt pretty emotional on the inside but I really tried hiding it and showing her the excitement I had of revealing these amazing portraits of her. Chantell was speechless! She kept saying “wow, is this me”. Chantell ended up leaving with her Folio Box in hand and images she can cherish forever.
Chantell, you have touched my heart in such a big way. I want to salute you for having the courage to do a Boudoir shoot and not waiting for the day you feel comfortable with your weight, you decided to do it now, just the perfect way you are.
Chantell and hubby allowed me to share a few of her intimate photos and at the end is a testimony/testimonial sharing a bit more of her story.
Nothing makes a women more beautiful than the belief that she is beautiful’ …Sophia Loren
2016 brought some exciting milestones and prospects – 10 year wedding anniversary and my husband’s 40th birthday!
This obviously got me thinking in terms of what can I do to make this year memorable and to ensure an eternal flame of romance…. For some time now I’ve been following Shalane-Maré Photography on Facebook. Her work is just beautiful and what really gets me is her passion and love for her work not only comes through in the photographs but also in the little write ups she includes.
So seeing that 2016 was going to be a memorable year – I got my very first tattoo in celebration of our 10 year wedding anniversary – a beautiful coloured rose with the heart of the rose consisting of me and my husband’s finger prints.
And I decided to be brave (or so I thought at first) and have a boudoir photo shoot done for my husband. (He’s turning 40 after all, I need to make sure there’s no midlife crises)
While emailing Shalane to book my session, I realized that I might be border line crazy…. How can I do this? I’m not beautiful….
So you may ask ‘What is beauty?’, your opinion and mine will most probably differ, but according to the media and the modern world beauty is what the eye can see and not necessarily in the eye of the beholder…
If you are tall and slim (the slimmer the better) with long luscious hair and a pair of legs that will fit perfectly around a dancing poll, oh and do not forget the iron board tummy and DD perky girls – then you are considered beautiful.
And Chantell does not fit into this perfect picture. I have never thought of myself as being pretty or beautiful or even gorgeous . I was 20 years old and a young working lady, when a colleague at work, for the first time told me that I am beautiful. I doubt whether she ever knew the impact of her words…Even on my wedding day, although her intentions were pure and loving, my grandmother kept on telling me that I will never be as beautiful again, as on my wedding day.
Life happened, as they say. I met an absolute hunk of a man, got married had two beautiful children. With that came the extra weight, the crazy stretch marks, marshmallow tummy and the fuller, not so perky anymore, boobs. And to top it all, I was born with only one arm. Although I have no inhibitions regarding my arm, I just absolutely dislike seeing it on photos….
And I thought to myself – poor Shalane, she’s in for a ride….
If only I had the confidence and the ability to embrace every centimeter of my body like the gorgeous paintings of the fuller ladies I found on Pinterest. (I use them in artwork and always admire how confident they come across – even though it’s just animated…)
I mailed Shalane with my dilemma and asked whether she’s up for the challenge. In true Shalane spirit her response was OF COURSE! And that her aim is to showcase the beauty that exists in each one of us, not the beauty after losing 40kgs or changing something, but the beauty that’s there NOW….
I started my research via my trusted friend Pinterest for boudoir poses for the bigger women, and have to be honest, they were far and few in between. Finding sexy yet stylish lingerie, was a mission on its own. Not sure why the clothing industry is under the impression that because I have more fuller and softer curves, that I would not also like to wear lace and diamante covered underwear. So I had something custom made and opted for the old favorite, a white shirt as a second outfit.
The evening before my photo shoot, I hardly slept…..What were you thinking women?? Played over and over in my mind. The most anticipated day of the year showed up and I found myself in Shalane’s presence. She immediately made me feel at ease with her down to earth, nonjudgmental, warm and approachable demeanor.
In a flash I was transformed into Cinderella with having my hair and makeup done and then the posing and smiling for the camera started. At first I felt a little stiff – but that soon disappeared with Shalane in control and guiding me through the process. A couple of times I heard her saying ‘Beautiful’ and I thought really??? Until she gave me a sneak peek and what do you know, beautiful it was!!
I left Shalane’s studio that morning, feeling confident and ready to take on the world. Wanting to start a movement for all woman to experience a boudoir photo shoot, maybe even host a couple of high tea’s to share my experience, and while we’re at it, why not find someone to bring to life the beautiful ‘CF Creations lingerie’ for the voluptuous women…..that’s taking shape in my mind. (If I could draw I would do it myself but I can barely draw a little stick figure).
I literally counted the sleeps until the big reveal of my photo’s with Shalane and there are no words to describe how I felt during the reveal ….. When I got into the car with my husband (He had not seen the pictures at this stage) I just cried and cried. I told him that I think this was more of a birthday present to me than to him. I cried and said that when I saw the pictures I hoped that when he thinks of me, that it is the same image he sees. As for myself, I’ve never thought or saw myself in the way the photographs portrayed.
Usually boudoir photos are kept secret, but I almost feel that I want to share it with the world… (Obviously not all of them). Shalane was absolutely right when she said that their is beauty in every women.
With my short hair, marshmallow tummy, overweight, one arm profile – I received the most beautiful, gorgeous photographs, and it’s all me, in my purest form – just coloured in. No Photoshop tucks, no hiding, – just me!
This made me realize, that I am beautiful and that it is time to put the beast inside to sleep and to let that beauty shine for all to see, because it is there. Thank you Shalane, for helping me see myself!
The reveal to my husband on his birthday? My lips are sealed as some things needs to remain private, but the look I saw in his eye will stay with me forever!
To each and every women out there who is doubting herself and even the confident one’s, do yourself a favour and do that boudoir shoot!!!! And if you can, do it with Shalane, you will not be disappointed..