In photographing this project I learned SO much. I’ve been working through my own journey of self-love and body-image realignment this year, and having the incredibly opportunity to come face-to-face with 46 other women standing proud in their skin was priceless. Not only because I had the honor of witnessing their bravery stepping in front of my camera as their most vulnerable selves - but to really see the proof before my eyes. Not ONE SINGLE WOMAN was exactly the same. From skin color, to elasticity, to stretch marks, to hip shape, to leg length, nose shape, eye color, hair style, breast size and shape, type of belly button, fingers, legs, height, hair - you name it. Everyone was so beautifully different and that’s EXACTLY what makes us all perfect, perfectly beautiful. One of the women used a wheelchair to help her manage her cerebral palsy, while another has navigated her every day life with out a left hand for the past 7 years. Many women were mothers who had stretch marks that reminded me of the glowing bottom of a swimming pool when the sun hits it just right. Others had extra skin like a beautiful layer of satin folded over their bodies. The more I photographed these women, one by one, the more I watched an incredibly stunning piece of artwork grow before my eyes. How incredibly lucky are we to be the ONLY one like us? You can’t compare a Van Gogh to Monet. Both are so incredibly different, yet so incredibly beautiful.
“To hold something tangible means it is real, so holding a stunning photo of a beautiful woman and have that woman be me gave me real confidence for the first time in my life.”
Another fun part of the project? Tattoos. Our bodies are a beautiful place to share our stories, and they do so well without tattoos, but so many women use tattoos to add a little more. Like the momma with glowing stretch marks and extra skin, you know part of her story is that she’s a momma. Then the tattoo sometimes shares the detail of how many, how old or how much love she has in her life.
In my journey through this photography project, I did some research on ways to increase self-confidence, self-love and to feel more beautiful. I found some good articles over at Grace & Lightness, The Tempest, Thought Catalog and Pick the Brain in which I’ve incorporated in the 10 steps below. I also attended an online Body Image Bootcamp course led by Teri Ledgerwood which was eye opening to say the least!
I will be putting together a stunning coffee table book, with each page featuring one of the stunning 46 women from this project and their biographies. If you are interested in learning more about when this book will be available to purchase, please sign up at the bottom!
So here you have it - 10 easy steps to feel beautiful in your skin RIGHT NOW!
1. Be Naked
Nudity has been vilified for centeries in our Western civilization and therefore we rarely experience the benefits of sleeping naked or even spending a few extra minutes naked when we get out of the shower. Raise your hand if you immediately wrap yourself in your towel and leave it on while getting ready? It’s habit. We feel wrong being naked—yet, spending more time naked increases self-acceptance, decreases body image dissatisfaction, and boosts overall life satisfaction because nudity removes the notion that we have to apologize, hide, or be ashamed of ourselves. Mind-blowing, right?
Try this: After your shower, door closed, stay naked. Brush your teeth, moisturize your skin, apply your make-up. Spend this 5-10 minutes every day and observe the way you feel after doing this for a few days. (Feel free to increase this time if you are feeling adventurous. Can you be naked for 1 hour?)
The more you do this, being naked can eventually feel like a natural part of your day. That tinge of embarrassment you once may have felt from just being naked will be replaced with a feeling of freedom and resoration to your mind and body. Next time you buy clothes to boost your self-esteem, consider that you might get more benefit from ditching them altogether. (And being naked costs less too!)