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.”

Feel All The Feels- Part 2 | NYC Boudoir | Duende Boudoir

If you haven't read Part 1 of Feel All The Feels then you're missing out (on both the message AND the images) so do yourself a favor and getonitdammit!

In the first blog post I talked extensively about how being in touch with and honoring your feelings can help you lead a better life. 

And let me tell you I've been doing a lot of that in the New Year. And it's fucking hard.

It's been an interesting few months. Things that were once very important to me have, for the time being at least, ceased to really matter. 

For all intents and purposes I'm running for cover. I'm introverting hardcore and I do not even care because I'm trying to figure things out and people and places and things (all of those damn NOUNS!) just distract me from what I'm learning about myself right now. 

And I'm learning that emotions kinda suck. I mean they are great and all when they are great and all but when you're letting yourself feel things that you usually just SHOVE RIGHT DOWN it can be kind of intense.

Especially when you're discovering that maybe all of the 'things,' the 'stuff' you surround yourself with and all of the times you ate at nice restaurants but didn't really appreciate it because everything is magic until it becomes routine could have afforded you the luxury of traveling the world multiple times over by now. When you discover that maybe you give too much and get too little from the people around you because you want them to like you and you don't want to be alone in the world. When you feel like you're wasting your life sitting around all day waiting for it to come to you instead of fucking going to IT. Etcetera, etcetera. 

So yeah, I'm feeling lots of emotions OKAY. 

But that is part of the growth process, the way to bliss. Or so the wise ones say. So I'm going to sit with it and feel all the feels (even if it means that every.single.time I meditate I start crying what is even up with that). 

I'm learning a lot of stuff about myself by allowing myself to feel, even if it is REALLY hard. And some of it is even good! It's almost like I'm reuniting with ME. Which is comforting and weird but whatever. All of this is hippie-dippy talk anyways and if you're catching the vibe I'm throwing out you'll understand and if not...well maybe you should get WOKE already.

But ANYWHO here is Part 2 of Feel All The Feels with Catherine at the Andaz 5th Avenue in NYC. My goal is to get everyone who comes in front of my camera to emote with me like she did. Cause DUH. Also this is probably my best work. I've peaked. 

Wardrobe- Duende Boudoir Closet 

Hair and Makeup- She did her own. Which you are allowed to do if you know how!

To Feel all YOUR feels in front of my camera- Click THIS

Feel All The Feels | NYC Boudoir | Duende Boudoir

I have such a profound weakness for an emoter. I'm instantly drawn to anyone who is in tune with their emotions and can harness them for their art. You know you're in the presence of an emoter when you feel more alive just by being near them. They are the truth tellers, the light bringers and probably members of the frequent criers club. Because they don't deny themselves of all the feelings that being alive brings up they aren't numb to the world like most people are on a day-to-day basis.

Think of it, all the ways you deny your feelings.

You're at a stop light and see a homeless man asking for money so you pretend to fumble with the radio because you don't want to lock eyes with him and FEEL (pity, sorrow, contempt). 

You find out that your spouse has been cheating on you so you start drinking because then you don't have to think of them with someone else and FEEL (worthlessness, anger, blame).

You are sexually assulted so you start focusing on your body and how to make it disappear because you don't want to FEEL (guilt, loss of control, hatred). 

You are finally on a much-needed vacation and all you do is complain about the food and take pictures for your Instagram because you don't want to FEEL (present, humble, your own mortality).

And the list goes on.

There are SOOOOO many feelings in a day. If you open yourself to them and let them flow through you instead of hoarding them and letting them take root and weigh you down I promise you that your life is going to change. It'll be like someone picked you up, turned you upside down, shook you out and set you back down. It might fuck up your hair but damn you're lighter now! 

As a fellow emoter myself I believe that our stories have power, and by sharing them and living our truth we can help others.

Every single one of us has stories to tell and lessons to teach. We are more connected than we realize and emoters just smack you in the face with feelings and force you to look within YOURself and find common ground. 

Usually artists do this best. Dancers, singers, poets, musicians, painters, actors.

ACTORS. They have this uncanny ability to dig deep down and pull up the type of complex emotions that most of us need two bottles of wine to tap into.

Catherine is one of those people. As you can see from the following images she can display a wide range, although we stuck to the brighter side of things this time around. We shot in one of my favorite hotels, the Andaz 5th Avenue in NYC, pretty much the only place I stay when I visit The City. The anonymous-ness of a hotel really created a blank slate for Catherine to do her thang and emote. (And if you're wondering, yes she can cry on cue!)

So go forth and feel all the feels!

Lingerie- Duende Boudoir Lingerie Closet

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