A Journey Of Self-Acceptance
I’ve always joked that I have the sex appeal of a brussel sprout. Though I don’t have a hypercritical or dysmorphic view of my body, I also realize that I am not someone who others may necessarily classify as being modelesque (and that’s okay). One of the gifts of turning older is the discovery that age is inversely proportional to how much you value the opinions of others: the older you get, the less you care.
This is one of the reasons why I made the decision to book a boudoir photo shoot for my 33rd birthday. I planned on visiting London from the States and wanted to document my body before children and gravity took its toll on it. I’d long made peace with my soft tummy and slack bosom, so before my arrival I made sure to pick two sets of lingerie that made me feel my sexiest. Don’t get me wrong, like most people, I have my insecurities, but I’ve learned that the act of self acceptance is not an exclusionary process, but one that involves the often difficult task of loving the parts that you were trained to believe are unlovable.
I was fortunate to be connected with Elizabeth Okoh, a London based photographer who had a beautiful and extensive portfolio of boudoir shoots that featured women of colour. Her creative eye and ability to direct a shoot made it clear that she was beyond capable of providing the experience that I was looking for. She was also extremely communicative in the days leading up to the shoot as she wanted to ensure that the vision that I had in mind translated during our session.
On the day of the shoot, I had my makeup done by Elizabeth’s makeup artist and prepared myself for my session. Surprisingly, the thing I was most anxious about was not being semi-nude, but rather my poses (remember the brussel sprout). Any attempt I make to “look” sexy is almost always a fail, so I was nervous that despite Elizabeth’s creative talents, I’d still look like someone who was trying too hard. Thankfully, my fears were relieved as she was able to direct me on how to shift, bend, and angle my body so that we were able to capture something that looked effortlessly sensual. Each time I was able to preview the shots on Elizabeth’s camera, I couldn’t believe that she made me look that good! It definitely helped me to see myself in a new light; one that I previously was unsure existed.
Since my boudoir experience, I’ve fallen in love with the concept and aspire to make these sessions a regular part of my aging process. As I do not believe that a person’s desire to feel sexy should be limited to a very brief period in their lives when their body is considered to be its most youthful. I encourage everyone to document themselves (in whichever way they see fit) so they can reflect on the vessel that has carried them throughout their lifetime. If anyone struggles with profound insecurity with their appearance, I feel that a boudoir session might be the thing needed to boost one’s confidence. It did wonders for mine, and I am eternally grateful that I had a skilled and competent photographer to make my first session an extremely memorable one.
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