Raw & Real, Stripping Down the Masks

Over 16 months ago, I had this idea.  An idea to take off all the makeup and see our raw and real selves.  One of my boudoir clients so graciously was a guinea pig for that idea and as I thought more and more about it, I knew I needed to do something bigger.

I reached out to the women on my email newsletter and let them signup for raw and real sessions.  Knowing this may be a challenge for some, I encouraged them to step out of their comfort zone and move into a place of love and acceptance for that unique beauty they possess.  The ladies that were quick enough to jump into the limited spots I opened were some past boudoir clients, friends that I’ve known since I was a child, and some women that have followed me for years and wanted this opportunity.  Whoever they were, I knew that we would come together as a remarkable group of women and celebrate each person as they bravely stepped forward in front of my camera.

The stage was set with champagne, fruit, cheese, dance music, a big fan, tons of laughs…and a crazy photographer who hoots and hollers at you telling you how beautiful and fantastic you are.  I can see it in you.  I need you to believe it’s there.

We, as women, hide.  We hide our faces with makeup.  We hide our bodies with clothes.  We do things we don’t want to do and say things we don’t believe to hide our feelings from others.  We get disconnected with ourselves and we pull away from knowing who we are deep down inside.  I asked each of these women to come fresh faced, no makeup, so that I could capture their essence.  An essence I see in every woman but something they struggle to see in themselves.

This self love journey we’re on is hard and it takes a lot of work.  You cannot sit back, say you want to change the way you feel about yourself, and expect  your life to be different.  You have to face the things you run away from, you need to lean into those difficult emotions, you must get in touch with your soul, you need to define your beauty – all of that takes effort.

The silver lining is that all you need is yourself.  YOU need to love you the most.  YOU need to give yourself confidence.  You don’t need approval or validation from anyone else – you have it all within you.  You just have to find it.  The love you have for yourself isn’t temporary.  It’s the lasting love that you need in your life every single day.  No one can give it to you but you.

Do you let people see the real You?

Do you let them see the dark side, not just the fun side?
Do you change yourself or your viewpoints to be accepted by others?

Do you fear letting yourself be seen for who you are?

Do you know what your heart & soul desire?

Do you feel like you can’t share your whole self with your friends?

Do you feel like you are pretending all the time?

Do you force yourself to be someone you know you are not?

You build a mask to protect yourself from being seen, hoping that it keeps you safe and will continue to provide you with the love and affection from others.  But what about the love and affection from yourself?

You cannot fully love yourself if you are hiding – your unique self must be allowed to shine.  When you hide or change yourself, you stifle down your true self and are putting your essence in a container.  Seal the lid on that container tight, don’t want to risk any of it getting out.  When do you that, you are telling yourself you aren’t good enough as you are.  This is not the message I want you to send yourself.  How would you feel if someone was telling you that you weren’t enough every single day?

Stop being what other people expect you to be.  Strip off the mask and claim the power of yourself!  She’s there, desperately wanting validation from you!  Recognize her, support her, accept her and love her.

Your heart is in your hands.  What are you going to do with it?


Here’s a video of the session!

Thank you to these amazing women for trusting me.  I love them dearly and applaud them for being raw and real!

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