A couple of months ago, in late September, I got on a plane to London from Newark airport in New York. My final destination was not London, but Nice, France. I am kind of a procrastinator and didn't get to pick my seat prior to the day of my trip, so I ended up squished in the middle of two strangers on my first flight. A few minutes in I made friends with the woman on my right, so at least if I fell asleep and leaned on her seat, she wouldn't punch me. She actually kept me company for half the flight (before I fell asleep) and we learned our final destination was the same! We also talked about her job as a social worker and my job photographing women half naked. She was of course intrigued so I pulled out my phone and showed her a few photos on my website.
When we figured out she only lived a state over, (CT to NYC) she decided she needed to come do a session! We exchanged laughs and numbers, and I promised to let her know when I would be in the city next.
A couple days later, I decided that I should probably get a shoot in while staying on the French Riviera...because...why wouldn't I. It ends up we were staying within a ten minute walk of each other! I texted her to which she replied, "hey tomorrow is my last day here if you want to grab coffee". "That sounds great but do you think you would want to parade around the beach half naked at 7am instead?" HAHA. And so she did.
I encountered Danielle by chance, and I'm convinced the universe sent her to me.
I had the dumb luck to meet Danielle out in the world, and as soon as I saw her website, I knew I wanted to have the experience she offers. Less than a year ago, I was bed-ridden, struck down by a terrible illness. My body had become foreign to me, and even though my friends and family still saw me as beautiful, I didn't recognize myself. When Danielle found me, I was still recovering, and had a hundred reasons to dislike my appearance. That simply wasn't how she saw me. The person she saw was a shining, sexy woman, full of life and personality. It's as if by miracle in front of the camera that person became real to me too. Modeling was a thrilling experience. The lens of her camera is an extension of how she sees us: whole, sensual, important, sexy, and deeply feminine in the bodies we live in NOW. Exactly as they are.
I cried, and laughed during my photo reveal. My tears were of relief, and awe. Finally. I could see myself as flawless. Of course I saw imperfections in my body, we can't un-see them, but they didn't look like flaws. They looked like pieces of the truth. In the photos where I smile, I see my sweetness, in the ones where I smolder, I see my sensuality, in the ones where my eyes are closed, I see bliss, and when they're open, I see power, pride, and bravery. Before the shoot, I did wonder if I could get out of my body shaming instincts. If I would be thinking about my heavy places, the bumps, and bruises. To my surprise, all that fell away when I was in front of the camera. I was too alive to care about my thighs or triceps. I realized I wasn't a mix of good and bad pieces...I was one, whole, damn sexy woman, and for those two hours, I knew it was true.