Scars and All: My First Boudoir Photoshoot
Here's what I know for sure: lingerie is more than just bras and panties.
For the longest time, I thought I was writing "just" a lingerie blog, or "just" a fashion blog, or "just" a shopping blog. But in the past year, and especially in the last few months, I've realized that lingerie isn't "just" about what we wear beneath our clothes or in the bedroom. It includes parts of our self esteem, our self image, and our own sense of self worth.
One of the reasons I'm so passionate about body positivity (and so intensely against body snark) is because I understand what it's like to feel like your looks can never and will never measure up. It's not just about the dozens of airbrushed photos every woman sees everyday, it's also about living in a culture where it's acceptable for the scientific community to publish articles asking "Why are Black Women So Unattractive?", a sentiment that's been reflected in some of my own conversations about women of color within the lingerie industry.
Like so many women, I grew up feeling unattractive. From the guys in grade school who teased me for my dark skin, to the high school friends who told me how much prettier I was with straight hair, to my own personal struggles with depression in young adulthood, I was convinced for the longest time that beauty was this thing that would always be out of reach for me. And though that may sound shallow, the honest reality is physical attractiveness (or people's perception of it) not only influences the way we feel about ourselves, it also influences how much others respect us, and how much we earn... among other things.
Though I grew into my body and became more confident in my own skin in my early 20s (martial arts helped with that... a LOT), I still felt a little out of place, especially in such a feminine space as lingerie. I have a muscular build. I have scars. I have a wild and glorious afro. I'm curvier than I've ever been before. And though these of are parts of myself I value and treasure, I was worried the rest of the world might not be so welcoming. So I asked photographers to smooth out my muscles and airbrush away my scars, and I asked makeup artists to pin up my hair and obscure its natural texture. Though it makes me a little ashamed, I was still worried about what others would think.
About a month ago, I had my very first boudoir photoshoot with Katrinka's Secret. At first I was just going to write about my experience (she's amazing, and I highly recommend her), but then I realized there was more happening here... at least for me. This is the first photoshoot where the pictures I've gotten back really and truly look like me, scars and all.
Often, we as women are our own worst critics. It's like we have to beat society to the punch, and say what we don't like about ourselves before they do. Boudoir photography, on the other hand, is a way of capturing those parts of yourself you love and reflecting them back to you. The camera doesn't lie. It just shows what's there. And what's there is beautiful no matter what the rest of the world says. After my own experience, I believe every woman should gift herself with a boudoir shoot at least once... if not with Katrinka herself, than at least with someone like her.
Have you had a boudoir photoshoot before? How did it make you feel afterwards? I'd love for you to share your personal experiences in the comments.