Sharon's Boudoir Experience
Sharon Shares the Story of her Boudoir Photo Shoot
When I asked Sharon to write about her boudoir shoot experience with us, she quickly responded with a “YES!”. And then when I first read this, it brought me to tears. Her transformation has been one of the most memorable ones. Here is her story, written by Sharon herself.
4th April 2021
"I actually really hate what I look like in pictures. I haven’t changed my profile picture on Facebook in 2 years. I was different then, and I happen to be wearing makeup. Why disrupt a good thing?
Signing up for a boudoir shoot was a crazy idea. I needed something to give me some confidence, and strength, and my niece gave me the push I needed. I needed to feel good, to feel beautiful. Beautiful after working for 8 hours? Beautiful after spending 4 hours a day commuting? Tracky pants, hair tie, chillin’ with no makeup on…beautiful? I was too old.. No. Not quite.
Would a boudoir shoot do that for me? Could I do this for me? I never expected to feel immediate doubt. WHAT was I thinking? Scheduling a boudoir shoot? In front of strangers no less?
I wasn’t a sexy person—I knew next to nothing about what looked sexy on me. I rarely wore makeup. I had never even seen a garter belt in person. Those could stay with the Victoria’s Secret models. I went to my closest friends for support. But all I got in reply was absolute shock. “You’re doing WHAT…?” “You’re brave.” “I could never do that…”
Doubt and anxiety echoed back at me. Never do that? But why not? Why never? My friends are stunning, but I couldn’t convince them otherwise. Is that what I was doing to myself without even realizing it? Was I looking down on myself instead of loving myself? If I could build my friends up, shouldn’t I be loving myself in the same way? The world makes it so easy to for us, as women, to focus on our imperfections—to focus on all of our flaws. Society presents us with the “perfect” woman on billboards, on the tv, on the internet.
I wasn’t ever going to be that girl.
But I sure as hell could try. Right…?
I prepared for my boudoir shoot as much as I could, checking off all of the things on my list to buy and do to make myself look like a better version of myself. Nails and toes done?—check. Hey, ladies, ever had a Brazilian wax?—painful check. Go to Bras' N' Things and have the sales associate get over the headset to everyone in the entire store to announce a woman was headed to the fitting room for a boudoir shoot? And then having the thrilled woman in charge of the fitting room exclaim that I must show her once I had the lingerie on?—Embarrassing check.
Then it was here—Boudoir Shoot Day. I shuffled into the studio—wearing leggings and an oversized sweatshirt—and was immediately greeted by friendly faces.
I was trying to put on a brave face as I laid out my outfits for the day, all the while chatting with Karen, and Georgia, the hair and makeup artist. I’m so out of my element, I thought. I’m not sexy. What if I don't like the pictures after all? I was whisked into the hair and makeup chair soon after.
“What are you going for today?” Georgia asked me.
“Well…I don’t ever wear makeup…and I wear my glasses every day. So…” I was staring at myself in the mirror, the fluorescent bulbs highlighting the blemishes on my face. I didn’t know how to reply.
“Do you like your hair curled?” I smiled. I loved when my hair was curled professionally. I started to get more comfortable. While I was getting my hair and makeup done, Karen and Georgia were chatting with me about lockdowns, life, work, photography. I even made a joke about being half naked in front of a group of strangers—and they laughed! Maybe I can do this. Especially when I looked at myself in the mirror once I was done in the chair. I couldn’t stop staring. Do I really look like that? I genuinely didn’t recognize the woman in the mirror—the same mirror where I had just focused on the imperfections of my face. Why was I so obsessed with focusing on the negative?
It’s really all about jumping off that cliff—even if you have a fear of heights. The cliff where all your insecurities hang out and whisper those non-truths into your soul. The cliff where you have never felt good enough. The cliff where we judge other women for what they look like. The cliff’s edge that is too damn perfect to leave most days.
But I was determined for today to not be that day. I'd already taken the first step, I could jump off this cliff of imperfection.
The conservative, awkward nerd in glasses finally started coming out of her shell, slowly but surely.
“Look how stunning you are,” Karen came over to show me a picture on the back of the camera. And I started to believe it. Even if Karen had to tell me how to pose. Even when I couldn’t relax the worry-wrinkles on my forehead. Even when I had to clutch my wrap for dear life as I tried to get into the pose she was showing me. Even when I was laughing hysterically because my eyelashes were getting stuck. Even when I laid down on the cold, bare floorboards to get the perfect shot. I finally let go—I began to feel free.
I could have never imagined what the final product would be.
You would never think that putting your clothes back on and hearing about the Ordering Session would actually be the most
nerve-wracking moment of the day. I felt sexy, I felt confident, I felt beautiful. Would all that come through in the pictures
When that day came, Karen showed me picture after picture —someone I hardly recognized.
“Is that me?! That’s not me,” I kept repeating.
“Yes! That IS you!” she kept saying. I didn’t focus on the flaws and imperfections that plagued my daily life. It was so liberating. For the very first time in my life, I genuinely didn’t feel weighed down by those thoughts. Maybe it took Karen’s perspective for me to see myself in a true light. That stunning woman in those pictures WAS me—looking completely and utterly flawless. I was speechless.
I hadn't never felt that way for as long as I remembered. Flawless. Me. Used in the same sentence. (I get emotional just writing this.) I felt like I was on top of the world.
Is this what it felt like to truly love yourself?
I knew that if I felt this way about myself, there was no way on earth others wouldn’t be surprised. I decided to get a photo album for myself to show others—20 glorious and glossy pages from my shoot that I flip through myself every chance I get. I think I look at them more than I'd thought possible. It’s a daily reminder that my self-image has completely changed after having my boudoir shoot. A new level of confidence and acceptance became a part of my everyday life - all thanks to Karen and Georgia, two people who have the very special talent of finding beauty in everyone.
I feel empowered just being, well…me. I had realized in giving myself this gift, I had unintentionally given myself the best gift of all.
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