This is a guest post from Anna, one of my prized clients. She tells her story of boudoir helping her to truly see herself in a new light.

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When I asked Anna  to write about her boudoir shoot experience with us, she quickly responded with a “YES!”. 

When I first read this, it brought me to tears. Anna’s  transformation has been one of the most memorable ones. 

Here is her story, written by Anna herself.

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A Dance with Doubt

Growing up, I was always the quiet one—the girl who blended into the background, hoping to avoid the scrutiny of others. My battle with body image began early, fueled by unrealistic standards and relentless self-criticism. My mother, who was trying to help me find an artistic outlet, enrolled me in ballet classes pretty young, and I remember our teacher drilling in our heads, “no rolls!!!’ I compared myself to the tiny girls in my glass. I was never tiny. It left a mark for a long time and followed me into junior high, to college, and I could never shake it off. Despite outward success in my career, I carried the weight of my insecurities like a burden, always wearing clothes that covered up my arms, tummy, wearing lots of dark colors because as they say black makes you look smaller. The fluorescent and hot overhead lighting of dressing rooms saw me in tears often.

The decision to book a boudoir shoot was born out of desperation—a last-ditch effort to reclaim ownership of my body and rewrite the narrative of my self-worth. Boyfriends and random men, family, always told me I was beautiful and I almost rolled my eyes each time because I believed they felt obliged to say that. I felt far from it. It was starting to affect my willingness to go out to public events, to show up for my loved ones, etc. And with every step forward, doubt clawed at my heels, threatening to pull me back into the safety of invisibility.

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As the day of the shoot drew nearer, my nerves threatened to consume me. Honestly, I thought about cancelling. The thought of baring my vulnerabilities in front of a stranger sent shivers down my spine, each apprehensive heartbeat a reminder of the battles I had yet to conquer. The world makes it so easy to for us, as women, to focus on our imperfections-to focus on all of our flaws. Society presents us with the “perfect” woman on billboards, on the tv, on the internet. I wasn’t ever going to be that girl. But I sure as hell could try. Right…?

I prepared for my boudoir shoot as much as I could, checking off all of the things on my list to buy and do to make myself look like a better version of myself. Nails and toes done?-check. Hey, ladies, ever had a Brazilian wax?—painful check. Go to Victoria’s Secret and have the sales associate get over the headset to everyone in the entire store to announce a customer was headed to the fitting room for a boudoir shoot? And then having the thrilled woman in charge of the fitting room exclaim that I must show her once I had the lingerie on?—Embarrassing check. Then it was here-Boudoir Shoot Day. I shuffled into the studio-wearing leggings and an oversized sweatshirt-and was immediately greeted by two friendly faces.

“What are you going for today?” Julianne asked me. “Well…I don’t ever wear makeup…and I wear my glasses every day. So…” I’d broken out that week. It’s all I could think about. I didn’t know how to reply. “Do you like curls? How about romantic waves?” I smiled. I loved when my hair was wavy. I started to get more comfortable. While I was getting my hair and makeup done, KD, who I know now by Karla 🙂 and Julianne were chatting with me about life, work, photography. I even made a joke about being half naked in front of a group of strangers—and they laughed! Maybe I can do this. Especially when I looked at myself in the mirror once I was done in the chair. I couldn’t stop staring. Could I really look that pretty? I genuinely didn’t recognize the woman in the mirror-the same mirror where I had just focused on the imperfections of my face. Why was I so obsessed with focusing on the negative?

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It’s really all about jumping off that cliff-even if you have a fear of heights. The cliff where all your insecurities hang out and whisper those non-truths into your soul. The cliff where you have never felt good enough. The cliff where we judge other women for what they look like. The cliff’s edge that is too damn perfect to leave most days. But I was determined for today to not be that day. If I could jump out of a perfectly good airplane on my birthday, I could jump off this cliff of imperfection. The conservative, awkward nerd in glasses who always felt like that bullied girl back in junior high,  finally started coming out of her shell, slowly but surely. “Look how exquisite you are, Anna.” Karla rushed over to show me a picture on the camera. And I started to believe it. Even if I had to play, “Run the World (Girls)” by Beyoncé in my head to hype me up in the beginning. Even if Karla had to help me hook up my thigh-highs to the garter belt. Even when I couldn’t relax the worry-wrinkles on my forehead. Even when I had to cling onto the chaise lounge for dear life as I flipped my hair. Even when I was laughing hysterically because the bed sucks you in. Even when I laid down on the cold, bare floor to get the perfect shot. I finally let go-I felt free. I could have never imagined what the final product would be.

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You would never think that putting your clothes back on for the Reveal Session would actually be the most nerve-wracking moment of the day. I opted for the same-day reveal session to get it all over with!! And the truth is, by the end of the shoot, I didn’t want to leave haha. I felt sexy, I felt confident, I felt beautiful. Would all that come through in the pictures? Karla showed me picture after picture —a woman I hardly recognized. “Is that me?! OMG. That’s not me,” I kept repeating. “Yes! That IS you!” she kept saying, her sweet smile beaming. I didn’t focus on the flaws and imperfections that plagued my daily life. It was so liberating. For the very first time in my life, I genuinely didn’t feel weighed down by those thoughts. Maybe it took Karla’s perspective for me to see myself in a true light. That stunning woman in those pictures WAS me-looking completely and utterly flawless. The pictures weren’t even edited yet-they came straight from the camera onto the projection screen. I was speechless. Flawless. Me. Used in the same sentence. (I get emotional just writing this.) I had never felt that way before. I felt like I was on top of the world. Is this what it felt like to see me through others eyes? Is this what it felt like to truly love yourself? I felt limitless. I decided to get a photo album for myself– I was so excited to show these to the guy I’d been seeing, but most importantly, I wanted it for me. I’d booked this session before I even met him. I purchased 20 glorious and glossy pages from the boudoir shoot that I flip through myself every chance I get. I think I look at them more than he does. It’s a daily reminder that my self-image has completely changed after having my boudoir shoot. A new level of confidence and acceptance became a part of my everyday life…all thanks to Karla and Julianne, two people who have the very special talent of finding beauty in everyone. I feel empowered just being, well…me. I had given myself the best gift of all. Love. 

With love and gratitude,


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