Based on her on-paper age (21), I'm fairly certain she was the youngest I've photographed in the boudoir capacity. Her maturity level, though...wow. I feel like she's as wise as a 90 year old. Her initial emails to me nearly a year ago were so profound. She wanted this session NOT to have sexy photos, but to celebrate herself. To celebrate her life changes, her hard work, and the fact that she was a bad ass woman. She was a creative type, a musician, a force to be reckoned with, and I dig that.
I knew she was going to really value this experience.
She set foot in my studio with the most unique wardrobe and accessories. It was clear she had a style and a mind all of her own. It was clear this shoot was ALL about her and not at all about any one else. THESE are my favorite types of sessions.
When I heard her playlist, I knew we were sorta kinda soulmates. Girl's got a wicked good taste in music...wise beyond her years.
Please read her story...all of it. She's got a powerful message!
"I realized that I couldn’t run to Kara with my soul in pieces. It took plenty of time on my own to put myself back together before I was ready for validation of my progress. Kara simply sealed the deal, in a beautiful way. I built up this idea so high in my head that by doing this shoot I was finally closing a really dark chapter in my life. I had finally breached the surface of my depression. I lost almost all of my college weight, I started yoga, got a dog, and surrounded myself with art in many shapes and forms.
I grasped at anything I could get my hands on to make me feel at peace. I finally found my self-love and really became proud of who I was and where I’ve been and what I endured to get there.. But I forgot that I was a woman. When I looked in the mirror I saw a sweet and loving college girl, a musician, a friend, daughter, and sister. I loved all of those things about myself but I didn’t see myself as a WOMAN. I thought that a 21 year old couldn’t be sexy, she’s just a girl. I didn’t appreciate what I was working with.
Sexuality and confidence are seen as shameful in some settings. As young girls we fall into the black hole of societies' so-called “beauty standards” and inevitably feel inadequate. From a young age, we begin to compare ourselves to the photo-shopped models in magazines, wishing to be them and hating what we have. Instead we should take a second and realize what’s real. We are real. We are beautiful, and we don’t need society to decide that."
"As soon as I stepped foot into the studio Kara was so warm and welcoming. I immediately felt like we were best friends *hair flip*. She treated me as a woman and not as a girl. I was not embarrassed to be expressing myself while dressed in lingerie. I felt strong and powerful. Kara has the personality of grace and confidence that pours onto anyone in her presence. The photoshoot was absolutely magical. It flew by so quickly, I was sad to leave. But I knew when I stepped foot out of that studio, I was changed forever."
"Do not strive for perfection because it's pointless. To clarify, stop with the excuses. I worked my ass of at the gym months prior to my shoot and sure, I would’ve loved to have been about 10 lbs lighter. But who cares? Confidence isn’t about perfection, it’s about being content. Not that you “settle” but to be content with where you are, and you understand that the work of art that is YOU, is a constant process.
You continue to gain worth as you chisel away the negative space, day by day. Confidence is more about looking in the mirror and loving WHO you see, and not what you see. I was very intimidated before I booked and the anxiety built inside me leading up to my shoot. The clients’ photos I had seen on Kara’s website had me awestricken. All of the women were so beautiful and strong, and mature. They are wives, mothers, girlfriends, and WOMEN with life experience and wisdom. So where does that leave me? I felt like I could not compete at all, and maybe I had no business doing something like this. But these inspiring women didn’t just wake up like this *cue Beyonce* they too, had been 21 once, just like me. Young and free- not as naive as people believe we are at this age, but making mistakes and learning every day, creating who we are.
This is the foundation for the rest of my life, and this photoshoot with Kara signifies that. When I finally saw my photos, I was so blown away. I wanted to plaster them all over my entire house. I had never seen myself in that way before but I hope to always keep that light within me. I know who I am. I love who I am. I am proud of that woman I see in the mirror. I can finally breathe, I feel like I earned my wings. Don’t waste another second. Book a shoot with Kara and let it keep you up at night. Write it on your calendar, dream about it, obsess over it. It will be the best damn thing you’ve done this year."
Am I right!?
This girl understands more about herself and empowerment than many of us get to achieve in all of our years on this planet. She may be much younger than me, but I look up to her. And you should, too.
Makeup by Gertie Murray.