In case you missed it, here's a link to last week's post on Keri and why she wanted to be one of our RWOR ladies (for the record, in my head I pronounce this "RAWR!"). Today's post details what Keri had to say about the entire experience of her shoot, and what her photos mean to her!
IN HER HEAD BEFORE THE SHOOT: "When I initially called Natalie I was like 'HOLY SHIT. HOLY SHIT. HOLY SHIT'. I saw her ad about 6 times before I called. I showed up to my shoot early because I thought I'd chicken out if I didn't leave my house. When I arrived at the studio I was in a vulnerable state of mind. It's a risk to be taking a lot of clothing off! But from the moment I walked in, the energy was great – they made me feel safe and comfortable. The only anxiety I held onto was knowing that these images would be out somewhere in the world, and I didn't want to disappoint Natalie and her hopes for the project.
IN HER HEAD, DURING THE BOUDOIR SHOOT: It’s like theater. You’re creating a personae. With hair and makeup, false eyes lashes and wardrobe suggestions, we took me to this next level. The makeup wasn't scary or strange, I just looked like the best version of me. The scariest part was the very beginning. I put on the first outfit in the changing room and thought – 'OK....... I’ve got to walk out at some point!' Once we started shooting, it became fun.Natalie would turn the camera around to show me the shots – and I knew it wasn't BS when she told me I looked great. I looked and felt glamorous and beautiful.
HER THOUGHTS ON HER BOUDOIR PHOTOS: I look like I've got my shit together. I look like a boss. It makes me feel powerful. The woman in (this photo, below) is in control of what she's doing, and she knows who she is. It makes me proud. It's the best me. Maybe this is how other people perceive me [editor's note: it's how I perceive Keri!].
When I see these photos it's not “I'm not this”… it's “I AM this”. They make me think about what I am, not what I'm not. It's affirming to think that it's not a fluke.... I looked at 120 pictures, and I liked 90 of them. That's crazy amount of photos where I thought “wow – I look awesome”.
My favorite photos are not when I'm wearing anything crazy or even lingerie, but when I'm in my husband's shirt. This section is my favorite because I love my face and my eyes especially. I feel like this is the most authentic to how I might actually be, when I'm hanging out or goofing around with my husband.
I like that I had a full choice in what I brought, it was all things I actually wear. They didn't dress me in someone else's clothes and tell me what to wear, I picked things I felt good in. In some ways, this type of shoot is subscribing to what society is asking of us, but we also have the choice and I empowered myself by choosing what I think I look best in. This whole process brought out the best me – it wasn't changing what I looked like – It just accentuated my best parts. I also love the simplicity in the images - there are no props. The focus is completely on me, I look very much like 'me'- and I look pretty damn good. I feel proud of my body.
PARTING THOUGHTS: Doing this shoot helped to make me start noticing my attributes, not my flaws. I’ve always struggled with my weight. I would always look in the mirror and nitpick the stupidest things that no one would ever pay attention to. After going through this whole process, I've been able to stop being so critical. I love my eyes, and I can notice them more now. I've started to pull back from so much hate speech towards myself. While I initially wanted to do a boudoir shoot as a gift for my husband, it ended up as a gift for myself. I didn’t even feel this beautiful on my wedding day. I left feeling like I’m a bad ass. It was a natural high. Every women deserves to have a moment where they feel like a complete rock star.
I've struggled with infertility, I can't have children. I've put my body through a lot trying to conceive – hormones and steroids. I've had ectopic pregnancies. You start to think that you are not worthwhile, because your body can't do something that you see so many other women being able to do. It is nice to see value you in myself again. Seeing my body as something to be proud of, instead of something that's frustrating or disappointing. Being infertile 100% feels like my fault. My husband gets upset with me when I say that, but I feel like it's because my eggs are past expiration. It's heartbreaking to expose yourself to that entire process, trying to do everything that you can, and have it not work out. You feel like your body is letting you down, and it's easy to feel less feminine when something very tied to your womanhood isn't working. It's powerful for me to see my body in a beautiful way, and that even though I can't have a child and that my extra pounds are still there, my body is still worthwhile. When I look at these photos I feel like I own my body, instead of being ashamed or disappointed by it. My body is mine, and I am proud of it." - Keri