To BARE Oneself
Ahhhhhhhh......this shoot. This shoot. This shoot. This shoot was so special to me. When I hooked up with Amanda over at GRLPWRPGH to collaborate on some fab group photo sessions aimed at woman-focused spotlighting on such things as body positivity, self acceptance/love and community, I knew we were getting into some special things, but this is my heartbeat right here. We have covered some reallylovely topics, and we have a lot more to go, but when I mentioned to Amanda that this theme was something I had been thinking about for a while, she agreed we were onto something.
And so BARE was born. It was important to me to convey a deep relationship between a woman's perception of herself, just as she is (bare) and the difficulty in keeping that a positive journey. Very little makeup, very little hairstyling. This represented a deliberate coming out of accepting oneself as-is, with reverence, respect and honor. Does this mean that these women have bested the reckoning they've had with themselves, coming to a place of complete self love? No. But it does show that these women have openly begun this very important journey of loving themselves just a little more, each and every day.
Make no mistake, that's not easy and it's so very brave. Every single one of us: big, small, stretch marks, wobbly bits, tall, short....you name it...we are each a walking daily reminder of what the magazines and television like to point out as "flawed". From head to toe we are exactly what billions of dollars are invested into every year to make us believe we are not what we should be, but could be if we drink their juice.
But lately, there's been a tribal reckoning with us women. We women, we're taking it back. Ladies: we are taking FLAWED back and we are reveling in it, we are reimagining it, we are reclaiming it, we are revolutionizing the concept and taking back what we were always told that definition meant and we are REDEFINING it.
Yessssss......my lovely sisters. That word belongs to us. It's all ours and we can do with it what we please. Each and every day I see a woman or group of women that are stepping up and out and boldly proclaiming what beauty REALLY is.
And guess what? Beauty is FLAWED...and the more flaws...the more beautiful it is.
So get out there. Revolutionize beauty, ladies. Reclaim and proclaim.
HUGE shout out to AtHome Beauty for the fab hair & makeup styling! And don't miss John's behind-the-scenes film!
Ta'lor: Being a part of this BARE shoot meant so much to me because I have been wanting to be a part of something like this for a long time. I was addicted to wearing some form of makeup when I was in high school. When I was in college, I gained the "freshman fifteen" and lost my confidence in my body. I then got pregnant a few months before I graduated and after I had my daughter, my stretch marks and cellulite enhanced greatly. I was ashamed of my body in many ways and by becoming a Self-love Coach and journeying through my own path of self-love, I have truly found acceptance in my body. I am loving my body in a way that I never did, like going braless more and hosting #nomakeupmondays every other month as a challenge for women on social media. I have found my joy in being BARE and I am so thankful to Elizabeth Craig and GRLPWRPGH for allowing me to be a part of this BARE + BOPO Shoot.
And this is a poem that Ta'lor wrote for her blog, which I thought you might like. She has so many that I think would speak right to your heart, but I thought this one was perfect for our day:
"I am here for the women who have cellulite.
I am here for the women who have belly rolls.
I am here for the women with back fat.
I am here for the women with a double chin.
I am here for the women with flabby arms.
I am here for the women with chunky knees.
I am here for the women with stretch marks.
I AM HERE FOR EVERY WOMAN"
Sophia: Before coming into the BARE shoot I felt very much like I wasn’t at all photoshoot ready! I had a very rough weekend full of heavy emotions and lack of sleep and I just thought it would show right through the images. I was unhappy with my eyebrows I had gotten threaded the day before and my hair was not cooperating per usual. Coming out of the shoot I felt the complete opposite I did coming in. I felt like I was 10 feet tall. Literally. I listened to that song by Afrojack the whole way home and reminisced with myself about how the people you surround yourself with should make you feel like that no matter how you yourself feel! The BARE shoot did just that for me. It lifted my spirits and made me feel supported and beautiful like I was a candidate on America’s next top. Everything I was unhappy with about myself coming in was complimented and through that came a love and gratitude for those things on my way out. I felt like I left that photoshoot with a brand new girl squad of superheroes ready to take on the world together.
Julia: Empowered women, empower women. Through every “Damn girl!”, “You look amazing!”, “Your hair is to die for!”, “Your skin looks amazing!”, “You are so beautiful!” this quote was felt full heartedly at the BARE shoot. Empowering, connecting, and supporting women is what it is all about here at GRL PWR PGH
Tori: I had an absolutely fantastic experience being BARE. After a slight dental mishap right before the shoot, all of the girls rallied behind me made me feel even more beautiful. It made me realize that makeup and great hair doesn’t make you beautiful; it’s your laugh, and smile, and ways you connect with those surrounding you that make you powerful and beautiful.
Victoria: Here's my few sentences on pre & post shoot feels. Floating into the 2nd floor studio of Elizabeth Craig photography, greeted by GRLPWRPGH founder, Amanda Cowan with Champagne to toast, I was instantly comfortable. Amanda's email instructions were clear and welcoming, putting the group of woman at ease from the start. The company was fabulous and each woman was instructed to wear no make-up and neutral clothing. We lounge around Elizabeth's pose, plush studio where we ordered Postmates and took turns getting our hair and make-up done by Lee Ann of At Home Beauty, talk about a happy Monday! The theme of BARE felt so fitting in this comfortable place of supportive women. We all laugh and celebrated each other's beauty, as we share our passions and work purpose. One woman even lost the cap of her tooth and instead of tears it was all laughter, if that doesn't convey a loving environment on photoshoot day, nothing does! When it was my turn in Lee Ann's make-up chair it was a quick application of concealer and lip gloss and a messy bun up-doe, which everyone dotted really highlighted my bone structure (giving me a great confidence boost). In front of Elizabeth's lens was a breeze, she give specific directions and positive, fun feedback. We saved the group shots for last, all giggling and giving fierce poses, it was the icing on the cake for the afternoon. Leave the shoot and exiting the street I felt fabulous and light, at home in my own skin.
Aryanna: As the mother of three, two of which are daughters, I tell them all the time it is who they are that is beautiful and what people see is the manifestation of that beauty. Yet, I showed up to this photo shoot scared to show my bare face and my hair in its natural state - afraid of being judged. The gut punch of love and energy from all the women who participated showed me that I must take more time absorbing my own advice so that my daughters realize the manifestation and not just the rhetoric.
Jordan: Before: Going into this shoot, I really wasn't sure what to expect. While I live my life as an open book through Listen, Lucy, I still get butterflies in my stomach when I am in a vulnerable position. I am a public speaker, not a model. I am also SUPER awkward in front of the camera and not being able to do my hair or use make up to cover physical flaws scared. But, I left there feeling empowered and beautiful. I not only felt like Beyonce, but had the opportunity to meet and hang with group of fierce women who are making their marks on the world and came to slay.
Hilary: I've never done a photoshoot before, and I was undoubtedly nervous walking into a room of strangers without mascara on! My nerves quickly dissipated after meeting such an incredible group of women. Everyone lifted each other up and made going "bare" easier than I thought it would be. It felt great to put my rawest self on display. Since I was a little girl, my body had been failing me. I have Rheumatoid Arthritis, Endometriosis, Psoriasis and a list of conditions that go along with them. My body might fail me, but that doesn't mean that my mind has to. Going bare for me was about overcoming my personal obstacles (both mental and physical) and laying exactly who I am out on the table - a boss a$$ b*tch who no longer will let anything, even illness, bring me down. The photoshoot made me feel empowered. It made me feel loved. And it reminded me that if we can make all women feel like this - we can conquer the world.