Dancing on Empty | Detroit Boudoir | Duende Boudoir

I have been traveling around with these super soft organic bamboo cotton panties and lounge pants from Rayne and Skye Essentials for a few months now, frantically trying to get them photographed. The Universe was playing tricks on me because every time I set something up it wouldn’t pan out and I felt like I was letting the brand down and MYSELF down by not following through in a timely fashion. First I found a model, but then she moved to Denver. Then I had an awesome location but no model. Then I had an awesome model but no spot! And I refused to just throw something together that didn’t make sense. Oh the stress. I finally had a spot and a model in Detroit lined up. BUT THEN the model fell through and, while talking to Vanessa about my troubles she volunteered herself. Halle-fucking-lujah! And she also roped in her friend Cammie as well who will be in a later post.

I knew that Vanessa was a dancer and actress (ummm hello let’s just do the splits on the windowsill real casual-like!). But I didn’t know, until reading her self love journey story how similar we are as people. It really was like I was reading a piece of my own life. The dancing, the perfectionism, the short girl problems (it’s a real thing OKAY?! You try being 5 feet tall and idolizing VS models and wondering why you don’t look like them even though you spend every second of your life at the gym and counting calories. News flash ladies- their legs alone span the length of almost your whole entire body. You are NEVER gonna look like them!), and even the man who saved the day…not by actually saving you because you’re the only one who can save yourself, but by supporting you along your journey.

By bravely opening up about our struggles we can help others who are struggling AND feel connected by our similarities.

SO. Without further rambling on my part here’s Vanessa’s self-love journey—-

“Hmmm... my body and my self-love journey. I suppose this is the first time I've ever spoke out about this in a public way, as I am still processing things myself and learning how to handle my own thoughts. But nonetheless, here I go!

I have been a dancer since I was 4-years-old (so about 16 years). I took it very seriously, and it was a very competitive thing for me and many others around me, especially come high school. I was constantly at rehearsal, competing in dance competitions, even performing in the Nutcracker, etc. So, naturally, I was always surrounded by very skinny girls in leotards. Looking back on it, I was quite skinny, too... but by the age of 11, I started seeing things differently in the mirror.

As the years went on, this problem began getting worse. I was more muscular looking than the other girls, who were just so thin, and I perceived this in a negative way. I wanted to be thin. I hated my short and stubby build. I criticized my torso area the most, starting at such a pathetically young age.

I was well-liked by a lot of boys in high school, and my body was talked about a lot. It did make me feel uncomfortable, but I realized it got me attention, so I felt I had built an image for myself that I needed to maintain. I cared what others thought and I wanted to impress them. It was a very toxic process that only made me put more pressure on my body appearance, and significantly more vulnerable to asshole teenage boys. Looking back on it, that is a period in my life where I'd be most ashamed of myself.

Moving on into my college years, these issues that I figured were just your typical teenage insecurities worsened in a way that seemed unhealthy. When I was 18, I was offered a role in a musical at the university I attend that involved the characteristic of having an outstanding physique. I was beyond pumped to land a minor lead as a freshman... which may have led me to take it too far. The role was fitness queen, Brooke Wyndham (Legally Blonde: The Musical) so I felt pressured to take my athletic body to a whole other level.

This is where it became too overwhelming for me. I was dancing 4 days a week, going to the gym 5, giving myself strict dietary restrictions, and hating myself if I ate something that strayed from those guidelines. I remember I was living in the dorms at school at the time, and I was having to call my mother every other night after rehearsal because I was having (what I know now) were anxiety attacks. I was constantly looking in the mirror at my stomach. Breaking down on the inside when I despised what I saw.

This behavior along with the over-bearing habits kept on for over a year. I was no longer finding a positive release through exercise; I dreaded it. Yet, my mind would contradict itself, and I would panic when I wasn't able to workout. I obsessively thought about what foods I was or wasn't eating that day. Looking up all these other celebrities' diets that I felt had ideal bodies. Going to bed upset every night feeling lost and almost purposeless... all over an aspect of my appearance. My mind truly just wanted a rest.

Finally, in March of 2018, I fell in love with my best friend. He is everything I needed in a man. He turned everything around for me. I stopped looking in the mirror at my stomach as much. I started motivating myself to go to the gym when I could, rather than pressuring myself and stressing to make the time. I slowly was okay with treating myself again, indulging in my sweet-tooth when I felt necessary. He made me feel unconditionally beautiful every day. And he still does. Something switched in me.

Now, I know how this may come off, but allow me to make this clear: I in no way depend on him for self-love, confidence, or happiness. But he was the crutch that helped me get there. I was previously in two separate toxic relationships that truly did not help my own image of self worth. It was nice to be shown genuine love to get me back on my feet.

Body dysmorphia is a very real and awful grey cloud, but I feel I grow in a different way every day because of overcoming it. Progress is everything. I have been a vegetarian for 7 months, and a vegan for 1 now (loving it)! I love practicing Pilates, yoga, dance, and even the occasional visit to the good ole gym. I have learned to love my build as an individual, and now try to focus on making MY body the best version of itself, rather than comparing it to someone else's. My new philosophy is being healthy and practicing self-care/love above all. Although the periodic days of anxiety still come and go, I don't give up; and I won't.”

Sometimes You Just Need To Go Through Some Shit...| Wisconsin Boudoir | Duende Boudoir

Amanda is a special person to me. Over the years we’ve bonded through our mutual love of lingerie and she’s probably just as obsessed with vintage clothes as I am, always scoping out the best deals in the coolest places.

I’ve photographed her a few times but never really feel like I truly capture her raw essence. It remains elusive but someday I’ll get it! Either way, the images always turn out gorgeous so I must be doing something right.

One thing I really love about working with Amanda is that she trusts and encourages me to create whatever I want with her as the subject. Last year she wore only a veil in the sunlight and the year before that she was one of my first boudoir clients. This time around we went with this awesome brightly dyed vintage girdle set with a sheer tulle skirt on the top (because why the hell not) and then her own Lonely lingerie set paired with one of my kimonos. Perfection!

When I asked her to do a write up for me I knew I was going to get a story because I had seen, through social media and photographing her, the weight changes throughout the years but I had no idea the personal struggle that went behind it and how far back it went. I feel like a lot of us can see ourselves in this story and relate to temporarily losing our way when it comes to relationships and the struggle to stay true to ourselves above all else.

And without further ado, Amanda’s words-

“When asked to write about my journey through weight loss, body image, and self love, I chuckled to myself and thought, “Shit, where do I begin?” I honestly can’t remember the first time I felt ashamed of my body but if I had to guess, I’d say about 8 years old. That in itself is troubling to say the least. I knew that I was bigger than most of my classmates but it honestly never bothered me until the teasing started. Looking back it’s clear how the downward spiral of self criticism began: we usually are comfortable until someone else makes us question our image and self worth.

Creating an identity and having a sense of style was a struggle for many, many years, which I can laugh about now. In fifth grade my favorite shirt was a thin cotton tie dye poncho that I wore constantly. I was a “tom boy” for years and remember refusing to wear a bra to the point where my mother would check me before I left for school. I was an early bloomer and just wasn’t having it. Floppy boobs or bust, baby. Puberty was just a vapid ole bitch in general. I was terrified of shaving and had hairy armpits for a while until one of my friends moms said something to me.

My parents were always very gentle about the way they handled concerns about me, which I will always appreciate. Around the end of elementary school they started taking me to a dietitian. I knew that they were just trying to help me but I was so embarrassed whenever we went to the clinic and prayed that we wouldn’t run into anyone that we knew. I never even told any of my friends about it and eventually buried it so far in my memories that it didn't resurface until a few years ago. Toward the end of middle school depression set in and I’ve never felt so alone in my entire life. I tried explaining my feelings to my friends and they just didn’t understand why I was sad.

At my largest I was a size 18/20, weighted 230lbs, and was incredibly depressed. I became convinced that I would probably have heart problems, develop diabetes, and would never find love if something didn't change. I started working out at a small fitness center and felt good about my path until a friends dad approached me one day and offered his advice on building muscle vs. burning fat. I’m sure he meant well but again, the stomach cramp of embarrassment set in and my workouts became less frequent because of it. I struggled with yo-yo dieting into my college years until I eventually managed to maintain 160lbs. In 2013 I contracted a parasitic infection called, cryptosporidium, which was part of an outbreak in the Midwest linked to contaminated lettuce. I lost about 15 or 20lbs in two weeks and it was the sickest I’ve been in my entire life. My diet changed quite a bit after that and I became more active in attempts to slowly heal myself.

Just as I was starting to feel healthy and got accustomed to a smaller self, I met a guy. At first I thought his sense of humor was just strange and that teasing was his shtick, but as the words became more hurtful and specific to me, my arms, my belly, my stretch marks, my legs…the voice of denial faded and the truth set in. “You can just get plastic surgery to fix that.” “You shouldn’t wear shorts. You just don’t have the legs for it.” His words cut me deeper than any childhood dickweed. When things finally ended I fell into a deep depression of guilt, constantly asking myself how I had let that happen to me. Why didn’t I leave early on? Why didn’t I stand up for myself? The answer is fear and it is a powerful motivator.

I desperately needed to regain my independence and sense of empowerment. I caught wind that Massive Attack would be playing a festival in San Francisco so I bought myself a ticket and went on a weekend trip by myself. My family thought I was crazy but it was one of the best things I ever could’ve done for myself. I felt like a new person when I got home and decided to cut my bust length hair to my chin, got bangs, and a tattoo. It comforted me in a way I can’t describe.

It took a long time to build up the courage to open myself up to someone after that. The first guy I saw was super fit and always had been. He knew about my journey but just couldn’t relate and that’s okay, but the first time he saw me naked he said, “When is the next session with your personal trainer?” and my heart sank. Really dude? Needless to say that didn’t last long and I didn’t date for a while. The next guy shared a similar story to me and also lost a lot of weight. It was so relieving to meet someone that I didn’t have to explain anything to, because he had been through it too. But over time it became clear that we were very different and that gas lighting had been happening for a while.

When things ended at the beginning of the year it was obvious that the things I was “overreacting” about were true. I felt betrayed, miserable, and enraged. I soon realized that those feelings were unsustainable and that I should transform that negative energy into something better. I was interested in boxing for a while and decided to take a class with a friend. She bailed out at the last minute and I almost did too, but then I realized that it would be good to do something for myself and by myself. The feeling after that first class was so intoxicatingly empowering that I’ve been hooked ever since. Nothing has ever made me feel more strong and confident in my entire life. I made a promise to myself from that day that I would put myself and my happiness first before anyone else. Live a bit more, take more chances, and embrace change. I dyed my hair, got new glasses, met a new dude, and finally feel like everything has fallen into place. Going to the gym regularly has been great for my stress, anxiety, and confidence. It’s kind of funny how things came full circle from dreading gym class to missing the gym when I’m sick or reschedule a workout. Everyone’s journey with health is different and sometimes it just takes a while to figure out what your body needs.

Losing a substantial amount of weight is often glamorized to the point where all we really talk about are the physical changes, when it is really a long, hard, and emotionally draining process. I still worry about moving out of the way for people and exaggerate the amount of space to give them. I have stretch marks and extra skin, especially around my belly. The most frustrating part is that I’m strong now and have hard abs underneath, but no matter now many crunches I do that extra skin has nowhere to go. I’ve considered surgery and felt guilty/vain about it for the longest time. When I talked to my boyfriend about it recently, he told me that I should do whatever makes me happy. What a great dude, eh?

Looking back to the awkward chubby girl with Cheeto stained fingers, I still wouldn’t change a thing because I wouldn’t be the same person. Sometimes you just need to go through some shit in order to become the person you were meant to be.”

A Shift in Perspective | Las Vegas Boudoir | Duende Boudoir

I met Aurora while in Vegas for the Spoil Me In Rhinestones shoots. From her head shot I knew that she was gorgeous, had great skin and kind eyes. What I didn’t know until she showed up was that she was fit. Like…FITNESS fit. My brother is that type of fit as well so I recognize and admire the discipline involved. We only spent an hour together and didn’t really get a chance to talk about her journey so I’m very happy that she agreed to give me a piece of her body experience story.

Without further ado here it is!-


“So, being a personal trainer, everyone assumes that I've always been in shape, I love working out, I eat clean all day long, and I only hydrate with that high quality h2o...

I WISH.

I've been a certified person trainer for almost a year, and I've been on my "fitness grind" for about 3 years.

I've always been athletic, playing sports in high school and then in college.. but I've never been that girl who LOVES fitness. I didn't even know much about fitness, even though I played sports.

I was that typical cardio bunny, you know what I mean.. I would go on a run every day, and follow that with some type of abdominal workout (crunches, sit ups, basic stuff).

As if that training regimen wasn't bad enough, to make matters worse, I had no clue how to fuel my body.. I would either completely starve myself, or binge eat recklessly. Nothing in between.

I mean, seriously, after high school cross country practice I would regularly go to McDonald's for a post workout McChicken... Yay for protein, right?

(LOL) WRONG!

This routine was what I did all throughout high school. I would run 20-30 miles a week, do my little ab workout, and then eat fast food or processed foods for all of my meals.

Once high school was over and I went to college, I knew I'd have to make a change. My body was extremely unhealthy, I felt tired and grouchy all of the time, my skin was rough and blotchy, and my athletic abilities didn't seem as strong as they once were.

I met a friend who introduced me to weight lifting. This was a new type of working out for me. It wasn't stressful or excruciating, like having to run 3 miles in less than 20 minutes, or having to do 400 meter dash sprint repeats (you runners will know what I mean)..

Weight lifting was therapeutic to me. It changed the way I thought about fitness. Rather than trying to lose weight, I started focusing on building my muscle. Little did I know, this small shift in perspective was exactly what I needed to help me achieve having my Goal Body.

I stopped shaming myself for the way I looked, and I started to feel confidence because I realized how strong I am. I mean, it's a pretty bad ass feeling to know how to use barbells and do squats or deadlifts with them.

All of this confidence made me crave MORE. I wanted more knowledge, more experience in the gym, more of this lifestyle.

I scoured the internet for articles about everything fitness: exercises to do, foods to make, macro-nutrients, all of that fun fitness stuff.

Fast forward to now: Im a fitness model, I have a body that I love and cherish, and I still work on it every day!

In addition, I'm a certified personal trainer, I get to help others achieve a healthy & happier lifestyle.

I'm so grateful for the opportunity to use my story to help and inspire others on their fitness journey. 😊”


 

Embrace What Makes You Different | Wisconsin Boudoir | Duende Boudoir

I have known Samantha ever since that first day in kindergarten when we looked at one another and just decided to be friends. She always seemed so strong and confident to me so it was a shock to read her story. I never knew that she struggled back then, and that's just it- we ALL struggle with body image issues, some of us are just better at hiding it. The stories women are telling me are all so different...and yet so similar. I guess the moral of these is to be kind to one another, and to teach your children to be kind, because this world is hard enough without body shaming added to the mix. 

Samantha came in for a session this summer and wanted to shoot both inside and out. I think the images turned out wonderfully! 

Here are her words and a few of her images-

Growing up, I had what felt like a very healthy relationship with my body. I have always had a more “athletic” shape, and I loved what I could make it do, I loved seeing the limits I could push with it. My family always praised my good looks and athleticism, and I believed them.

As with many young women, my insecurities started along with the arrival of middle school, and it's hyper-critical nature. I started questioning my athletic legs, my muscular calves and thighs in particular, that I had earned from years of hard work ice skating and playing softball. Why did I have such large “manly” legs when many girls my age (and the models of the early 2000’s) had sticks that sprouted out of their back? Why couldn't I comfortably wear those short shorts without my thighs rubbing together in pain? Why couldn't the new trend of knee high boots zip up over my legs? I started to wonder if maybe my “manly” legs weren't so awesome after all. And so my self doubt sprouted it's first seed.

Middle school through it's trials and tribulations brought on another challenge in my life. I was diagnosed with psoriasis, a common autoimmune disorder that manifests as patches of dry, scaly skin on various parts of your body. Mine had reared its ugly head on my lovely calves that I had grown to be insecure about, with a couple patches on my arms. My classmates and friends would question the areas, pointing and turning up their noses, not wanting to come near me. It took me years to get over some of the hurtful things people said during that time.

After finding out there was no cure for my illness, I decided to embrace what made me different. I decided to flaunt the areas that had previously been points of negativity and disappointment; I was now showing off my powerful legs and booty instead of trying to hide them. I decided to accept myself, and that I feel like was the best thing I could've done from that young age. I had started dating a young man (who I married! Because you don't let the kind of people who lift you up leave your life!) Who encouraged me to leave my comfort zone and who supported me. Who PRAISED me for my “manly” legs, whose shape made him run wild. He told me I was beautiful, and I believed him. And after I heard it from those around me, I started telling it to myself, believing myself.

And though I still have trouble with myself now and again (hello pregnancy), I feel whole, I feel beautiful and empowered because of the support I have been shown from my partner, my friends, and my family.

 

Hating Yourself is Tiresome | Wisconsin Boudoir | Duende Boudoir

 

Alicia, the amazing woman behind Buxom Boudoir, and I recently got together to do something that we do for other people all the time but don't really do for ourselves...get neekid(ish) and have our own self-love experience! We each took turns posing and photographing out in nature one afternoon and I must say it was SO MUCH FUN! I can't wait to do it again! 

I asked Alicia to share a little bit about her experience with her body and how it's changed over the years so you can get a glimpse into the amazing person she is. It's easy for me to sit here and type about how important it is to love yourself along your journey but it's so much more powerful to hear other women talk about their struggles and how they are working to overcome them.

So without further ado here is what she had to say-

"My relationship with my body was strained for a very long time. When I hit puberty, I started gaining weight in my midsection, and a big belly and thighs just became a part of who I was. Even if I lost weight, the belly remained. I also have acne, body hair, cellulite, stretchmarks, and other “imperfections” that I hated for a long time. I was not kind to myself for many years, and all it took was a glance at my nude body in the mirror to start crying. I hated having my photos taken, I never believed people when they complimented me, and I never changed in front of other people because I was so insecure.

Then about two years ago, I started to actively change my mentality. I was exhausted from self-loathing. Hating yourself is tiresome, and I was over it. Around this time, I decided to start shooting boudoir under the impression that I would be helping other women feel better about themselves. What I didn’t realize is that it would have a positive effect on my self-image, as well. I started learning about body positivity, reading articles, wearing clothes that forced me outside my comfort and spending more time naked in my home. (It might sound silly, but sleeping nude and just being in solely my skin helped me have a better appreciation for my body.)

I’ve still got a long ways to go in regards to loving myself, but I’ve already changed a lot for the better. When people compliment me, I say “thank you.” I do not chastise them. I wear what I feel comfortable in, so if that’s short shorts and tops that reveal my shoulders when it’s ungodly hot out, so be it. I do not put any effort into hating my acne, stretchmarks or cellulite. I don’t love them, but I will not exhaust myself by hating them. I accept them. If I’m having a bad day and feeling garbage about my body, I give myself the day to feel that way. Then the next day, I practice a lot of self-love and remind myself that I am worthy of love and happiness no matter what I look like. I don’t weigh myself anymore. I take care of my body and mind as best I can on a daily basis rather than treating it like a project I’ll get to when I have the time.

If you had told me two years ago that I would wander in the woods half naked, I would have called you crazy. But I did it. I laid in a river wearing just a white robe, and it was one of the most powerful things I’ve ever done. This body and I have come a long way, and we have a long way to go, but for once, I’m not afraid of the journey. I’m excited for it."

Here is what I captured that day of Alicia! 

And if you want to see MY session you can check out Alicia's blog HERE! 

To Touch Without Fear | Las Vegas Boudoir | Duende Boudoir

Everyone has their story. And, to half-quote Whitman, we all contain multitudes. The things we've been through in life and the things we've overcome shape us into the people we are today, for better or worse. 

I truly believe in sharing our stories. It can be very freeing for the person who is sharing but, most importantly, by being vulnerable you might be helping someone you don't even know. Or at the very least connect with others because they have a similar story to yours. 

You might have noticed a change in the blog lately. I do less talking. Not because I don't have things to say but because I want to give a voice to all of the people I photograph. I don't tell them what to write about, I just give them a general 'write about your journey or self-love' prompt, so I never know what I'm going to get back. 

And it's incredible to me what you've been writing. It's incredible because I was just photographing you a few weeks ago and here you are with this story you live with and I had no idea. Because people don't talk about these things. They don't often talk about their pain. 

I guess that's the point I'm trying to make with these- we all contain stories and you have no idea what someone has been or is currently going through. So be kind.

This is Kat Lui's story. 

What do I say about myself? What can I tell you? What do you want to know about me? How did I get here? And Where will I go? These are all questions that plague the mind when you’re asked to write about yourself. Not necessarily about your career choice or about your goals. But about your love and hope that embodies your well-being.

Where to start I wonder? I guess I should start by saying I don’t exactly have enough self-love. I have come from a deep toxic past believing I’ll never be good enough for anyone. That I am trash meant to be thrown away. As I grew up I always thought “as long as they are happy I’m happy…” That line simmered in me for as long as I can remember. I couldn’t stand being alone without someone to love me. So I got into the habit of letting my significant others get away with things and believing I won’t get anything better. I had settled.

The worst thing you can do is settle for someone just because you’re afraid to be alone. I went through a tremendous amount of abuse verbally, mentally, and physically. Ha ha! My favorite story to tell has always been when my ex-husband threw me through a window and curb stomped me in the drive way when I tried to escape from him. How I got a tennis ball sized lump on my eyebrow bone and why my right side of my face is crooked. I still get phantom pain when I think about it and I still have the pictures. It’s broken of course.

There are many stories of my past that brought me here that are pretty emotional. But there was something that never faltered. My stubbornness. I slowly started to realize. Who am I really? Am I just molded from the things that my significant others had wanted? The realization of….”It can’t be….” Hit me harder than a ton of bricks. I had to change this at once! I had no foundation. I had no base to build from. It was just THEM that held me there in believing that I wasn’t good enough. I became independent.

There was someone in my life that had broken me more than I could ever have thought. I did everything for them. I had thrived to be intelligent, talented, attractive, and brave. Because that is what most people wanted. Someone that they can say “That is my girlfriend…” But in the end even when I was all those things it still wasn’t enough for his selfishness. He cheated and used every excuse in the book to get me to stay. Then I realized I’m too good for this and kicked him to the curb. However this had broken me. I started to believe “It doesn’t matter how smart I am or attractive or talented…I’ll always be thrown away because it’s me.”

I still fight with this saying repeating in my head like a broken record player. But I have my friends around me that have held me up and kept me going. Funny thing about being depressed is if you actually understand yourself well enough you can manage it.  I already know deep down I’m pretty fucking amazing. I have succeeded in many things that I thought I would never be able to do. I’m financially independent and I already completed my life goal.

Being able to move on from abuse has always been a hard subject. You want to give them a chance but you know in the end that they will only continue to hurt you. Being blinded by the fear of not finding someone else to love you is a scary thing. So I slowly learned to love myself. I’m not completely there yet but I have someone really special to me helping me along the way.

They have shown me the possibilities of real partnership. What it actually feels like to touch and not be scared of being hit. To not be yelled at. To be taken care of. To know what my feelings are when they look at my stupid face. I’m slowly healing and I’m pushing hard to get better. I’m never going to let some stupid ignorant boy bring me down. Instead I’m going to lift myself and bring the people that support me along. Especially my love who deserves everything I have to offer him. He has been through the same as me and all I want to do is show him what real love looks like.

I still have your usual issues like weight problems and complexes that I don’t want to talk about. But I would like to think I’m like everyone else. Just trying to make it in this cruel world that seems to be slowly dying. I’ve made it this far. Why would I quit now? There is so much more I can do! There is so much more I can learn! There are so many more people I want to meet. To do all that I must take the steps to love myself and others.

So what I always tell myself and others. “There is no use worrying about the future or the past. The present is now! What can you do for yourself TODAY?” That mantra has gotten me out of some serious depression before. So I continue to push myself not because I have to but because I want to. When you meet me you would never think that I went through such trauma, that I’ve always had a good outlook. They are always so surprised the way I tell my stories of abuse because I’ve gotten past it and can somewhat laugh about how stupid I was.

But enough about me. What about you? What are you going to do to improve yourself today?

Find Your Fire | Wisconsin Boudoir | Duende Boudoir

I talk a lot about how a boudoir session isn't just a boudoir session if it's done right. How it can really change you if you open up to the experience and let yourself be vulnerable for me.

I talk a lot of what might seem like 'fluff' to some people.

But the truth is that it's just that...true. 

This is Holly. And these are her words. 

"All people have their story, whether it’s full of rainbows and butterflies, or tears and dark, sleepless nights. How they choose to write the next chapter in that book is up to them. I was one of those individuals whose story is filled with a lot of dark and stormy nights. I have been through a lot of trials and tribulations in my 33 years of life that utterly crumbled me and knocked me to my knees. For many years, I chose to bottle the hurt and emotions to formulate a person I no longer knew when looking in the mirror. Battling weight issues, eating disorders, and verbal abuse for years forever changed who I was. I looked in the mirror to see someone who was ugly, fat (regardless of the number on the scale), not good enough, scarred, and a shell of her former self; essentially an empty body. I was extremely unhappy and kept thinking “there has to be more to life than this.”  I decided the only way that I am going to defeat the battle I face in my own head, is stand up to it head on; forcing myself into a position that would typically break me. A boudoir session. 

The thought of being in lingerie in front of someone I never met was completely nerve racking.  I don’t like being in a swimsuit, let alone lingerie. When it comes to bed time wear, I am a gym shorts and tank top kind of girl! Nothing sexy, nothing fancy, nothing to make me feel beautiful and something that blankets my skin. Security….safety. That was my go to.  I wouldn’t have to worry about the dimples or cellulite showing that I thought haunted my body.

The day finally came for my boudoir session. I was nervous, but locked it deep down inside. I forged forward telling myself that this was for ME and ME alone. As I reached the location and shut my car off, I took a deep breath to calm myself. It was then Paige met me, for the first time, outside with open arms. I felt like I knew her for years and this instantly calmed my nerves. She felt like the friend I haven’t seen in years and we picked up right where we left off. As I began my transformation into a boudoir babe, I couldn’t help but see the beauty that was lying beneath the negative exterior that I had painted on myself. I smiled.  This couldn’t be real.

As the photo session began and progressed, I started to feel the fire that I had been longing for for so many years. The fire I once had that had been covered from years of debris, negative comments, and harsh thoughts. At that point, I had completely let go. I was ME for the first time in years.  When the session was done, it felt like a dream come true. I waited in anticipation to see the final product. 

The day had come… to see the final product. As we were scrolling through the pictures that I had deemed impossible to be me, it occurred to me; the one thought I NEVER thought I’d say. I am a beautiful person…inside and out. For some this is a simple statement. For me, it was life changing. The boudoir session that I had set out to do to break me out of my comfort zone, to flood myself with positivity, in hopes of breathing life into the person I once was, had happened successfully. What this did for me, no one can put a price on it. I never felt more beautiful, empowered, and most importantly, at home in my skin in 20+ years. A thank you could never be sufficient enough gratitude for what this has done to me, mentally and physically.  Something so simple as a boudoir session completely wiped away years of personal opinions of myself. I feel as though I am a brand new person who can look in the mirror and say “I AM pretty, I am NOT fat, and I AM good enough.” 

Thank you for the bottom of my heart. Thank you for helping me find that fire again. And thank you for breathing life back into me."

Thank you Holly for coming into my life and sharing your soul with me. Until next time babe! 

 

Vegas-City of Artists | Vegas Boudoir | Duende Boudoir

Vegas, in my mind, is the City of Artists. Showgirls, burlesque stars, singers, aerialists, pole dancers. I recently went to Vegas to work with some of these amazing beings in a whirlwind two days of back to back shooting in collaboration with Spoil Me in Rhinestones. I didn't get very much time with any of these women but we created some amazing stuff!

This is Dani. She's a gorgeous woman who knows her way around a pole. (If you haven't taken a pole class before I suggest you do, it's SO HARD but gratifying!) Here's what she had to say about her experience and how pole dancing has helped her to love the body she's in- 

"I had a really exhilarating shoot with Paige at The Cosmopolitan, I wish we had more time. I love to dress up, put my face on and pose for the camera. The lingerie was stunning, the rhinestones were shining and I truly felt beautiful in that moment. I feel free to be myself, to follow my dreams and to seek my true potential. That is what everyone deserves.

Body confidence for me came from mostly pole dancing, it really is a sport and there is so much athleticism but it's more about the way it makes you feel. It's sexy and the more you do it the better you feel, it became sort of addicting to me. You need your skin exposed so you can grip so I needed to feel comfortable in a two piece. Once I started taking pole dancing classes I became more confident in myself. I noticed that the more I loved and took care of myself the more I realized that it does not matter what anyone thinks as long as you are happy with yourself. I spend time with people who have a positive influence on me and are interested in similar things. I still have body issues and things I would like to work on but overall I am happy and healthy. I am very thankful for all of the positive things that are happening and many more to come!"

And without further ado, DANI! 

 

Embrace Your Weird | Wisconsin Boudoir | Duende Boudoir

From the very beginning when I first picked up a camera Rachel was down to pose for me, no matter what the concept. I would throw her in pouf dresses and mohawks and even once, with the help of my entire family, I suspended her in a cobweb of ropes from a few trees. She's always trusted my vision and never hesitated to help make the pictures in my head a reality. 

I fondly call Rachel my beautiful alien, weird and unique and true to herself. But it wasn't always that way. I remember a completely different girl in high school. I remember someone timid, shy and trying to blend into the background. 

Luckily, being out of school can help change things and Rachel found her voice! But you don't need me to talk about it, here she is in her own words-

"When I was growing up, I was the awkward lanky kid, never to be caught dead in dresses and shorts. I was too skinny, too pale, too quiet. I only started wearing makeup when I was 17, because my twin sister begged me to try mascara. I struggled a lot with my body confidence because people told me I was too thin, or I should tan because I look like a ghost. After a few years of growing up, I feel like I'm the ghost with the most. I started changing my look with my vivid colors, and my own artistic expression. I found confidence in myself by looking at the differences not as weaknesses- but something that makes me stand out in crowds, and that makes me feel unique and beautiful." 

I'm going to try to take Rachel's words to heart, to look at my differences as strengths instead of weaknesses. It's kind of interesting to me because I've always been the different one and embraced that to the max but when it comes to my body I still find that I want to be the same as the Instagram stars with millions of likes. I want the big, toned booty and the tiny waist and the perky boobs and the clear, unblemished face. But I'm not that, I don't have that, I can work really hard and get close to it...but is it worth it? I don't know. I really like chips. 

The more bodies I photograph the more I really, truly realize how incredibly STUPID we all are with our insecurities about our differences. Every person that gets in front of my camera has hang ups about themselves and their outer appearance. And it's so mind-blowing to me to be on the outside looking in at you and only seeing your beauty and your strengths and your uniqueness. All I see is perfection and I wonder why you can't see it too. But then I go back into my little bubble and beat myself up about how I look and feel like I'm a fraud for telling everyone to love themselves when I am honestly not fully there yet. It's a mind-fuck I tell ya. 

I guess the moral of this story is embrace your weird. 

Here's my beautiful alien in all of her glory wearing Sweet Tooth Lingerie styled with a vintage beaded thingy I had lying around. This was photographed in my newly decorated Wisconsin 'studio' and the amazing hair and makeup is of course Elle HMUA.

A Part of Me | Omaha Boudoir | Duende Boudoir

I think artists are always just trying to create things that will give their lives worth. Things that will be there long after they are gone. Things that live forever, or at least for as long as anyone cares to look at them. 

I create for all of those reasons.

I create because if I don't I literally feel like life is pointless. 

I also create because I have so many fucking feelings inside of me that need to get out. 

So in a way it's my therapy. 

If you know an artist and you think their work is awesome PLEASE TELL THEM. Like their photos, comment on their work, buy their things, tell your friends.

Being an artist can be so terrible sometimes. You put your soul into something, put it out there and...crickets. Suddenly a flood of feelings hits you like a wall. Does everyone hate it? Does it suck? I suck. I'm horrible. I should quit. No one cares. If no one sees my work or likes my work does it even exist? Do I even exist? What is the point of living? 

I can't be the only artist that goes through this.

I know rationally that my worth isn't determined by likes and comments. I KNOW this. I know that the social media algorithm is not in my favor and a whole slew of other things can effect how many people even see my images. But when you are an artist that has reclusive tendencies and putting your work 'out there' on the web is the equivalent of going to a party and no one says "hi" it fucking sucks because that's what happens at the real life party too. So it can seem like you're failing at everything. And that is a dangerous place to be in for sensitive souls. 

BUT. Sometimes we create something that is so in alignment with our feelings and emotions and psyches that it doesn't fucking matter what anyone else thinks. You want to share it with the world and you do not care if people 'like' it because YOU do and you just want everyone to see a part of you.

And that is this session here. 

I've been going through a lot of stuff lately. I'm not going to hide it or pretend I'm okay and that everything is hunky-dorey. There are way too many people out there acting like everything is fine when there is a fire going on inside of them and I really don't want to add to that list and help fan the flames of the stigma around mental health. So anyways... I had this session coming up and it was supposed to be nice and light boudoir-y but I just could not do that. I was feeling too dark. Some stuff had just happened that really (I hate to say this word but it's so true in this sense) triggered a lot of things I've stuffed way deep down for far too long, things that I thought I was over but clearly am not. 

So I talked to my model Lola a bit about it. And from the minute I met her I just knew she got it. She truly understood what I was feeling. 

And then we made art. 

Thank you for helping me express some of the pain I've been feeling. Thank you for being an emoter and an artist and a muse. Thank you for giving me something that I'm proud to have live forever long after I'm gone. 

All of the leather pieces are made by AudioHelkuik. I was so impressed with the quality and the amazing human who makes these pieces that I ordered one (the first of many!) for myself. 

Unpredictable Magic | Indianapolis Boudoir | Duende Boudoir

Photo shoots in nature are my absolute favorite...but I've said that many times before.

I keep trying to think of why exactly I love them so much (besides the fact that I freaking LOVE nature) and I finally know why- 

Everything is up to chance. The scenery changes not only by the day- things blooming and fading- but also by the minute-one moment full sun glare and the next dappled shadows. 

I have to be in artist mode when I'm working outside- looking, searching, seeking for inspiration and then meshing that with the person in front of me to produce images that we can both be proud of. And it's such a thrill! Things never go as planned, and that's why it's so moving when we capture what we do. 

I hiked around the location of this photo shoot multiple times leading up to the day with my pup and had very specific ideas of what I wanted to do where. I should have known this would be pointless but nevertheless I wanted to be prepared. There was a gorgeous carpet of flowers I wanted to work with and the curvature of the nearby lake was going to make for some stunning fine art style imagery. I was very excited.

Well...nothing with nature is ever predictable! The flowers had all disappeared with the recent rain and the lake curve area was in full sun. After walking around for honestly 1.5 miles and me refusing to get mediocre images we stumbled upon a bunch of great locations! A gorgeous forest that let just the right amount of light in, a hidden fishing spot straight out of Huckleberry Finn, a grassy lane behind a porta potty of all things, and finally we went to a spot that I had hoped we could have time to get to- a gorgeous algae-covered pond complete with two geese! 

Everyone always wants to do the nature shoots but the truth is that no one thinks about the logistics.

If you want to get 'the shots' you have to be willing to brave the mosquitoes and the creepy crawlies, roll around in the mud, and lay still when you feel a spider making it's way up your arm (don't worry it's almost always a blade of grass!) Sometimes the shoots are freezing cold in the water and sometimes they are sweltering hot in the sun but you won't ever be forced to do anything you don't agree to. 

In the end, we create magic together and the images are even more cherished because of all of the things that had to fall into place to get them. 

Here is the unpredictable magic that Kiann and I created that day!

 

To book your own nature shoot- CLICK THIS! 

I Needed You Ten Years Ago | Nashville Boudoir | Duende Boudoir

If you actually read my blog regularly and not just hang around for the pretty pictures you will have gotten the hint that I have had a difficult time 'accepting' my body over the years. It's still an uphill battle, but at least it's no longer a full-blown apocalypse in the temple that houses my soul. And my work as a boudoir photographer has really helped me heal myself, and in turn heal others. 

One of the things in my past that really triggered me, or kept me in the downward spiral, was all of the magazines and fashion blogs I used to look at. All I saw in them were thin women. Thin, HAPPY women. And I wanted that. I NEEDED that. 

But. 

Being thin doesn't buy happiness. Loving yourself does. 

It's so easy to just fucking SAY that. Not so easy to believe it when you're staring at yourself in the mirror and wondering why you don't look like the perfectly toned, incredibly talented actresses you work next to every day. (UMMMM maybe Paige because you regularly eat Taco Bell, hate working out, and don't get paid to maintain a certain weight.) I'd like to tell you I'm all better, I'm above that but, newsflash, I'm still working through some shit. 

I'm not saying that if there was more diversity in social media at the time that I was using it as fuel to light my eating disordered funeral pyre I wouldn't have gotten sick BUT seeing people with curves and tits and asses and bellies and jiggly bits and all sorts of different bodies might have acted like a cold bucket of water to the utter hatred I felt about myself. Maybe if I saw people like me back then looking fabulous and happy instead of just used as the before picture to a weight loss program I wouldn't have been so UTTERLY TERRIFIED of becoming MYSELF. 

But the only way forward is forward and the future is looking pretty awesome! There have been a ton of body positive people coming out of the woodwork the last few years. People who I look forward to watching re-shape society's idea of beauty, people who are making a difference for the youth of tomorrow.

One of these people is Jalyn. She is a powerhouse of curves and beauty and brains combined with a humbleness that just instantly draws you in. I needed her ten years ago, but at least I have her today! 

I think we all have our body battle stories. And I believe that by sharing them with one another we can really start to relate to one another as women instead of competing. I asked Jalyn to answer a few questions for me so you can get a feel for the woman that she is instead of only seeing the gorgeous images. And I think it's going to become a regular thing because even I'm getting tired of talking about myself all the damn time!

So without further ado here is Jalyn's interview!

 

Q: How has your relationship with your body changed over the years?

Growing up I was always very insecure of my body. I didn’t like the way I looked or felt in leotards in ballet, I hated to way my oxford button down made me look like a box during grade school. I was always self conscious about my stomach, back, thighs, and arms. I wore nothing but sweatpants & hoodies to the beach for countless summers. I never wanted to be caught showing any type of skin. I lived in baggy tees with bulky jeans. As I grew older, closer to my freshman year of college, I started modeling (thank you Hunter McGrady for being a role model through out that process) I had to teach myself that it was okay to have self love and to be confident in the shape of my body. I became really involved in fitness and using running as an outlet for the trials of high school. I lost about 70/80 in that time and I really started to accept that my body was always going to have curves because that is how my body was sculpted. There’s nothing wrong with cellulite, rolls, bumps, dimples, or any type of beautiful characteristics. 

 

Q: When do you feel the most beautiful? 

I feel my most beautiful in 2 completely opposite ways. The first is, as soon as I wake up in the morning, fresh faced, hair slightly disheveled with nothing but an oversized T-shirt on. Skin glowing from being well rested and a beaming sun, shining outside. The second is, when I’m full glam shooting for a brand or company. Wearing a jumper with heels like in these images or even a sundress. Beachy, blonde waves, glimmering highlighters, peachy pout, with stilettos, strutting my curves on set.  

 

Q: Who do you think has had the largest influence on the person you are today and why?

If I could have a career like anyone it would be Ashley Graham or Ashley Alexiss. Ashley Alexiss has been one of my most influential role models since I started my modeling journey back in 2015. She built her own career without an agent or someone managing her and continues to handle all of her own management. It’s inspiring that a single person can accumulate millions of followers, build her own net worth through social media and modeling, then be completely independent in finding jobs and opportunities. I am inspired by people who create their own lane, their own opportunities. They see what everyone else is doing and do something different. She built an entire swimwear line, has a modeling career, and a Masters in business. That is what I strive for. She’s not only a beautiful model, but she’s a boss babe, a business woman, an entrepreneur, and a trail blazer. 

 

What is your favorite body part on yourself?

My favorite body part is either my hips or my hair. I have really wide hips but I love having a thigh brow and how my waist is smaller than my hips giving my body an hourglass figure. My hair is also my favorite because of how long and wavy it is. 

 

Q: What is it like shooting with me (Paige)? 

I had an absolute blast on set! It always makes shooting so much more memorable and fun when you can vibe with the photographer. You have a vision and it’s my job to execute it. It was such an honor to work with you and I can’t wait to do more shoots in the future. Your vibrant and joyful personality made shooting a breeze and I loved how well we work together!

 

Q: Why should other women consider doing a boudoir shoot of their own?

There is nothing more sexy or empowering than feeling like a boss babe in lingerie. You build up a confidence by working your body and realizing that all of your curves are so sexy when you really start stripping away the layers of insecurities and self doubt. 

 

Yup, Jalyn is a badass. Here are her images! 

If you want to be the change you wish to see in the world and book your own shoot- CLICK THIS!

Model Misconceptions | Nashville Boudoir | Duende Boudoir

 

There are a lot of misconceptions about models. The way they look, their IQ level, and the ease of their job are constantly being dragged through the mud by people who simply don't know any better. Yes, models are beautiful (that's #1 priority of their job!) but most are extremely smart, a lot of them using the money they make to put themselves through school, and their job is anything but easy. You'd know if you spent just one hour posing like they do! 

I recently shot with Danielle Maddox, a professional model and actress who travels between Nashville, Chicago, Los Angeles and anywhere the job takes her! It was really refreshing not having to direct every move for once and just pretty much let her do her thing. And she is AWESOME. There's this thing she can do where she laughs on cue and it legit looks like she's having the time of her dang life! I mean, I know I'm funny but I'm not THAT funny. You'll see what I'm talking about when you get to the images.

I asked her to share a bit about the inside world of modeling for all of us and here is what she had to say-

"Not all models are created equal, just as much as in any industry, modeling is a multifaceted world full of all shapes, colors, sizes, and aged models. Though within the media we only see the glamorized runway super models that are human alien gazelles with perfect skin, features, and bodies, they are only a fraction of the job market. All types of people, including myself, are making a living by posing in ads, commercials, catalogs, e-commerce, look books, some of which are classified as "real people" or not Actor or Model types. Normal photogenic relatable  models. Some even make livings just being a "Parts Model" which includes hand modeling. I do it- and it is very much a Zoolander joke 24/7. Some of us lucky ones cross over from Commercial modeling to Fashion and dabble in all aspects of the industry. The biggest misconception is that being a model is easy and glamorous. Sure, it is a heck of a day job, and I love what I do. But I don't get sick days, paid time off, health insurance, weekends, don't have a salary, or always know when my next paycheck will come as it can take 30-90 days to get paid (almost always 90 days.) I have to 24/7 take extra care of my hair, skin and nails, and foot the bill on all of that upkeep. And most importantly I have to exercise and eat a healthy balanced diet, all while working on sets Monday-Sunday sometimes 10+ hours. It's a tough life, but it's also wonderful!" 

Yeah, now you don't think it's so glamorous do ya?

 

She also was kind enough to share with us how she preps for a shoot!

When prepping for a photo shoot there are a few important things I like to do!

First and foremost-

1. Don't stress! Stressing makes you break out, and boy do I break out!

2. Hydrate, hydrate. (You should be doing this daily anyways.) If your skin is hydrated it will glow and look fresh and smooth on camera!

3. Lower your salt and alcohol intake 1-2 nights before a shoot. Both will make you bloat and retain water! A little wine the night before is fine! Just not the entire bottle!!!

4. Get plenty of rest- posing can be exhausting and make you tweak or 'twerk' some weird muscles that you didn't know existed. A well-rested body will be more relaxed and flexible! You may be sore after!

5. Practice posing at home!!! This is important especially if you are doing a shoot in little clothing! Grab that lingerie and pop that booty and practice! Knowing your body and being confident shines through on camera!

6. Don't forget to shave!! Or don't- embrace your natural state! 

7. Moisturize! If you moisturize day of- use an unscented body oil so you don't stain or transfer to the garments. Use a clear deodorant for the same reason. 

8. Remember that your body is absolutely beautiful and don't let it hold you back from loving every inch!

9. Most importantly during the shoot BREATHE and have a blast!!

 

And without further ado...here is how a lifestyle boudoir shoot with a model looks! 

 

To The Fullest Capacity | Nashville Boudoir | Duende Boudoir

I talk about loving yourself and learning to love yourself A LOT. I practically shout, "YOU ARE A STUNNER!" to every woman who complains about their body anywhere within my earshot. But the truth is that it's not that easy to see your beauty when you pick yourself apart all the time. You don't just fucking wake up one day and feel at peace with the flesh cage that permits you to live this life. It takes WORK. And I talk about that a lot too. It's a real battleground for most women, and a lot of them are fighting on the wrong side. Wasting all of that precious energy attacking themselves instead of reveling in the miracle of being alive! This life is such a precious gift, something so trivial as your stretch marks should not control your thoughts. My goal is to help you flip that switch from hate to love, to show you just how amazing you really are, and to empower you to help others do the same. 

I recently had an amazing session with Chelsea whose self-image is something to aspire to. I asked her to write a little sumthin' sumthin' for me and when I received the following response I swear to you I started crying in public. And you know why? Because SO MANY WOMEN HATE THEMSELVES THAT FINDING ONE THAT DOESN'T FEELS LIKE YOU'RE IN THE MIDST OF A MAGICAL BEING. I encourage anyone who is not okay in their body to print this passage out and put it on their mirror. Let's all try to get our Chelsea on! 

Here's what she had to say-

My body is my vessel. No, not in a religious, spiritual, or metaphysical way, but in the truest most factual sense possible. There have been times when it has failed me, made me feel like a complete outsider, and hate every inch of my being. But I've also rejoiced within it, worshiped it like an altar and anointed every curve I have. Only within the past few years have I learned to balance forgiveness and self love. At 21 years old I've helped myself see how strong and beautiful my body truly is, and see that every possibility is mine to grab. I've been in awe of my muscles, gotten lost in the stretch marks that map my thighs, and fallen in love with my self. This is the only vessel that I'll have in this lifetime, it's the only thing I have to get me through this journey and to survive. Why would I spend so much time beating it up and forcing it to be things that it's not? I'm going to nourish it with the love and affection it deserves. I'm going to celebrate every day I get to spend wrapped up in its perfection. I am going to love myself to the fullest capacity.

Holy shit right? 

And to top it off, her images are just going to blow you away!

Lingerie- Duende Boudoir Lingerie Closet

Corsets- Corsettery

To book your own Self-Love Experience- CLICK HERE

Lingerie Lovers Unite! | Nashville Boudoir | Duende Boudoir

I used to think that I was a pervert because I loved lingerie so much. I didn't really think that liking lingerie was sinful in itself but having a straight-up love affair with corsets and panties and balconette bras seemed somehow...wrong. No one else I knew gave a shit about 'underthings' past the point of going to the Victoria's Secret at the mall a few times a year to buy underwear on sale with the word PINK plastered on the back. Obviously something was wrong with ME.

So I sort of kept my obsession a secret. I'd scour the Goodwill's  and the thrifts stores for vintage garter belts and itty bitty bustiers that I, a 14 year old, really had no use in buying. I remember being ashamed at the check out counter, trying desperately to hide my newest score, a green velvet bra, in the middle of a pile of sweaters and jeans, all the while praying that the lady ringing me up didn't give me 'that look.' 

I eventually got older (as you do) and grew some lingerie balls. I also discovered the wonderful, anonymous world of online shopping! Ebay, and later Etsy, took a lot of my money (and still does). 

My tastes have changed as well. I now lust after and splurge on designer lingerie as well as independent brands because the quality, construction, and design are just so much more well-executed than your average JCPenny bra/panty set. And talk about unique! But I'm not a snob either. I still scour the thrift stores for vintage girdle panties, bullet bras and 80's Victoria's Secret finds. 

One of my main labors of love is the Duende Boudoir Lingerie Closet. It's where my passion has turned into something beneficial. I have SO MANY options for you to choose from to wear at your boudoir photo shoot with me in a wide variety of sizes and styles. I get stuff so frequently that I have a hard time posting it all up on there for people to look at! I have things that people could only dream of wearing, such as a Catherine D'lish gown (I have FOUR so far) or an Agent Provocateur corset. Or discontinued Made by Niki. These items are out of most people's price range, considered an unnecessary extravagance (you can love lingerie but think it's crazy to spend $700 on a robe and still want to wear one for a shoot!), but when you come to me you can truly experience luxury lingerie for a day. 

I recently discovered a private Facebook group dedicated to Lingerie Addicts and I feel like for the first time I found MY PEOPLE. 

And one of those people is Melissa (@theheiresslingerie on Instagram)!

Melissa currently lives in Nashville and we have similar lingerie tastes. We both love Bordelle and Agent Provocateur and the store Baby Likes to Pony so I thought it only natural that we team up for a photo shoot. She kept insisting that she isn't a model. I kept insisting that didn't matter. She brought her favorite pieces, I added a green Corsettery corset and my black lace D'lish gown and we made magic! We didn't have enough time to capture the Bordelle set she owns which haunts me to this day (both not having the images or owning that set!) but oh well, there's always next time and vigilant searches on Ebay!

Here's what she had to say about the experience-

"The shoot was even more fun than I thought it would be. I've obviously never modeled nor am I a model but having someone say things like, "Yes fierce goddess!" to me was just awesome. I'm a little different in that I wear lingerie that's slightly...aspirational. I have very specific tastes and they're usually a bit expensive so every piece I own is like a little piece of jewelry to me. Meeting Paige through lingerie and then getting to live my 'fancy rich lady model' fantasy, if only for a few hours, was so joyful."

It was a joy for me as well, smooshing three things I love together- lingerie, nature, and making a woman feel amazing!

 

To book your own shoot- CLICK THIS

Light and Dark | Nashville Boudoir | Duende Boudoir

We all contain multitudes, we are made up of light, dark, and 50 shades of gray. 

What a wonderous thing that is, this multifaceted life!

UNLESS...you want to book a boudoir shoot with me and have to decide between my dreamy, airy work AND my sultry, moody stuff. OMG how do you EVEN CHOOSE?!

Well, NEWSFLASH, you don't have to decide! Do them BOTH! 

The style and type of shoot you do, or the VIBE as I like to call it when I talk to you about your dream photo shoot, is completely up to you. It's whatever you dream about, whatever you love, it's make yourself into ART time! 

There are so many different, very personal reasons why women book boudoir experiences and your reason, your WHY, will most likely factor into your style and your vibe. 

For example-

If you have been feeling frumpy and dumpy and like you've just lost your damn mojo you might want to go for a more powerful, badass sex goddess vibe to help you harness and MANIFEST that shit back into your life. 

If you've always dreamed of having a gorgeous, magical fairy tale photo shoot with the wardrobe and the sunshine and all the 'fixins' you're probably (most definitely) going to want to go with a more ethereal vibe. 

If you just want to capture you as you are (but the best possible version, you know the one who has cute underwear on and just lounges effortlessly cool-girl style around the house) then you're going to want to go for a more lifestyle vibe for your shoot. 

These are just some options, but really the whole world is open to you as far as ideas go. You want to do a shoot in Vegas? Cool, I'm on a plane! You want to do a shoot in a shower, awesome I love it! You want to do a photo shoot wearing latex, riding a horse in the desert? That might be kinda hot but I'll bring a spray bottle! 

I'm all about making your boudoir dreams a reality. 

Sometimes you can't decide between two styles (this happens A LOT. Like basically every client.) and that's OKAY! It's totally fine if you want to be a princess but you also, in the same afternoon, want to get pictures of yourself grabbing your ass like it's nobody's business (because it's hot. It's really, really hot). 

All it takes is a few tweaks to make the transition. Change the wardrobe. Maybe change the location, maybe not. Change the lip color and mess up the hair a bit more. Change the posing. CHANGE THE ATTITUDE. (Change the playlist!) 

Easy Peasy!

Here's a shoot I recently did in Nashville where we started with more of a fairytale vibe, then switched to a gorgeous, powerful vibe second and rounded the whole shebang up with a few minutes rolling around in the water! 

You really can have the best of both worlds people! 

Good luck choosing which images to put up on the wall though! (Or don't choose and get a whole collage!)

Wardrobe- Duende Boudoir Lingerie Closet AND corsets by Corsettery

To book your own light and dark shoot- CLICK THIS

Summer Goddess | Madison Boudoir | Duende Boudoir

It's hard to talk about summer Goddess sessions when the Midwest is about to be dumped on by 17 inches of snow. In April.

Luckily, I'm currently in Nashville where it's a nice 65 degrees!

I took these images last summer and am just now getting around to posting them because life is busy and I suffer horribly from dotoomuchitis. But here they finally are! 

Elan looks like a damn Goddess brought to life...because she is. And we all are. We just have to realize it and OWN it. 

It helps when you're wearing lingerie that looks like a million bills, your hair and makeup is on point, your poses are flawless and the nature is cooperating with you to bring everything together! We even caught some cool sun flares!

This whole set took us about ten minutes to shoot, you can get some really great stuff with me in a short amount of time if you just trust me, I promise!

I still have a few slots open for short outdoor shoots this summer in Hixton, WI. so contact me soon if you'd like to know more! 

Now have fun looking at these images and pretending that it's this warm where you are. You can almost feel the sun on your face when you look at the last image, right?! 

Wardrobe- Duende Boudoir Lingerie Closet

Hair and Makeup Artist- Elle Allen Hair & Makeup

To book your own Goddess Session- CLICK HERE

Blue-Haired Girl | Memphis Boudoir | Duende Boudoir

Sometimes I don't have much to say in my blog posts. The writing gods aren't blessing me right now and I don't feel like regurgitating the same 'love yourself' mantra to you again because honestly I'm struggling right now personally. 

Everything is sort of out of balance in a big way for me.

I'm working on getting things back on track, sorting through my priorities, and changing some things.

It gets old, this re-aligning. I feel like I have to do it a lot.

But maybe it's because I want the best life for myself, who knows. 

Either way I'm still taking on boudoir clients! And I'm pushing myself to try new things, to create in new locations, to just let the human in front of me BE more of who they are and then pose around that. 

This is Luna. A beautiful, currently blue-haired woman living in Memphis. We didn't really get to connect as much as I usually like but I can tell that she has stories within her. This was her first boudoir shoot and she really rocked it out!

Heartbreak Hotel | Memphis Boudoir | Duende Boudoir

Getting over a break up is hard.

I don't have any recent experience, I've been with the same man for 12 years, but I still remember my last break up. It helped to shape me into who I am today. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger, right?

When it happened I was a complete and total mess for a long time, and it took years for me to finally heal all of the little pieces and fucking MOVE ON for good. I think it was because he was my first real love, my first real relationship, and the first time that I had sex. Oh, and I was like 16 or 17 so everything was very dramatic and I was going through a lot of other issues at the same time. It's not so much the break up that did the damage but the feelings of worthlessness that I held onto that I had to heal. 

I thought he was THE ONE. I thought that we were MEANT TO BE. I thought a lot of things back then. 

But time heals all wounds if you work on them and all healing takes time. 

I'm not really going to go into how shitty breaking up with someone feels, because most of us have been through it already and we know that it's a hell of a lot more than tubs of ice cream and Facebook stalking. 

I'm going to talk about the self-knowledge that comes from breaking up with someone. 

Because it can be a blessing in disguise in the long run, at least it was for me. 

When you're thrown into the deep end of the single pool a lot changes. You're suddenly on your own again. You only have yourself to think about, which for a lot of people turns into feelings of self-loathing and unworthiness. The woe-is-me mentality just sucking the life out of you day after day. 

But what if you treated each day as a single person as a day where you got to do exactly whatever set your soul on fire? What if you lived each day racing towards your bliss? And what if you could do this no matter what relationship status you are or aren't in? 

Newsflash-bang-POW! You can! It's really simple. Living your best life authentically IS the key to happiness, and it might even take you on the path to finding THE ONE who you are MEANT TO BE with. 

Lovers come and go, relationships come and go (so don't take them for granted) but you're stuck with yourself so you might as well cultivate a relationship with YOU. Treat yourself how you'd want your lover to treat you (Look up The Womanizer. TRUST ME). Take care of yourself how you want to be taken care of. In other words DO THINGS FOR YOUR OWN DAMN SELF. You're all you've got, for better or worse, so you might as well love yourself. And if someone comes booping along your path and ignites something within you then you already have a strong sense of self that can let them into your life but not let them take over your life.  

Revenge sessions, like this one, are a great way to jump-start the healing. It's a visual reminder of the fact that you are sexy, powerful, amazing... and you don't need someone else's validation in order to feel all of those things. 

I'm not gonna lie, it's also kind of fun to show them what they are missing. 

Wardrobe- Duende Boudoir Lingerie Closet

To book your own revenge session- CLICK THIS!

All That Glitters Is Not Gold | Wisconsin Boudoir | Duende Boudoir

It's hard being a woman.

Most of us are stuck in a state of MORE- a bigger, better, faster, stronger mentality that keeps us in a loop of perpetual unhappiness. 

The constant need to PROVE and BE THE BEST (what even is that?) gets to all of us at one point or another, no matter how zen you claim to be.

And the worst part? All of us are walking around unhappy wondering what the hell is wrong when the answer isn't that you need a new dress or a new body or a new house but that you need a new perspective. You need to look at your SELF, because you already have everything you need within you. You need to get off the damn hamster wheel and get into the self-reflection. 

If you love Netflix maybe watch documentaries that encourage you to think. If you feel like working out how about doing something you love instead of logging time at a gym you hate. And how about instead of scrolling on the phone for half an hour before bed you read a damn book. I know you've got a stack of them just waiting to be cracked open. These are small things that seem like they don't have anything to do with anything but in all reality are ways that you can disconnect from the 'machine' and reconnect with yourself and your goals and your BLISS.

I work with women's bodies a lot. Which really means that I deal with women and their issues about their bodies a lot. It's probably the most profound thing about us as women- that we all walk around hating our bodies. And no wonder, when everything we watch and hear is telling us that we need to be better, thinner, more like this and less like that. And then-CURVEBALL- all the rules change and what was the ideal body type 5 years ago is now not okay anymore. How the fuck do you ever win???? YOU STOP PLAYING THE GAME.

We tend to pick ourselves apart. We don't see ourselves as people, we see ourselves as thighs that are too big and boobs that are too saggy and stomachs that are too pudgy and teeth that are crooked. Not big enough, not small enough, not straight enough, not tall enough or light enough or smooth enough. Well enough of that. YOU ARE ENOUGH. YOU ARE SO GODDAMN ENOUGH IT'S AMAZING HOW ENOUGH YOU ARE. 

The sessions I do with people are so much more than just glitter and gold. Yes they are glitz and glam but they are also raw and real. They change people. They hold up a mirror to YOU and all of your power. They help to teach you that the only person you need to look to for acceptance is yourself. And that all you need to do in order to accept yourself is this- say YES.

Own it. Own who you are, perceived flaws and all. Revel in the miracle of YOU. You are sensual and beautiful and brave and deserving. You are also strong and capable and can do anything you set your mind to. You can also be none of those things because YOU MAKE THE RULES. 

Everyone wants to blend in but by being yourself you stand out. You make a difference by owning your truth and accepting your unique you-ness. People look up to the people who are brave enough to be themselves. There is so much power in self-acceptance. It effects every aspect of your life. 

All that glitters is not gold. All that beauty you see in the world is surface, not substance. It's great to look at but at the end of the day it doesn't really matter. What matters is INSIDE. Once you accept yourself for who you are and just love yourself so much time is freed up for other stuff. Imagine how much mental space you'd have if you could get rid of all of that negative self-talk? I would get whole entire years of my life back! 

These photo shoots help you see you for who you are, they help you get your power back, and they help you move on. You hang your portraits up and look at them every day and remind yourself that you are a badass. And then you go out into the world and kick some ass. 

Wardrobe- Duende Boudoir Lingerie Closet

Hair and Makeup Artist- Elle Allen Hair & Makeup

To Book your own session- CLICK THIS!