Mother Morpho | Wisconsin Boudoir | Duende Boudoir

I’ve had the Mother Morpho concept floating around in my head for awhile now. To say it came to me in a dream sounds corny, but it’s 100% true, at least the name for the shoot did. And this shoot almost happened with someone else a year prior but it was pouring rain and we were downtown St.Paul and it just was not meant to be. So I put it on the back burner and waited. And waited. But then, when I thought I was going to have to shelve the concept for good I found out my favorite model Ashley was preggo! AND I was going to be in the Wisconsin area with Elle and everything aligned. We shot in my favorite spot which is just for realz MAGIC and I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out.

I used one of my STUNNING Catherine D’Lish gowns as the base and paired it with Free People lingerie, a necklace as a crown, a long ethereal wig, and some butterflies. (All come from the Duende Boudoir Lingerie Closet so this could literally be YOU if you want it to be!)

Elle did her magic with the hair and makeup and kept it equal parts weird and dreamy in a way only she knows how to do and Ashley basically just ate a panini, hopped on the 4-wheeler, and then struck a pose (she’s THAT good).

As is my new custom I like to ask all of the people who get in front of my camera to talk about their bodies. the relationship they have with it, and anything they want to share. It’s kind of like an emotional baggage spewing catharsis for the writer and I think, well I KNOW because you all tell me, that it helps the people who read it.

I asked Ashley to stick with the theme of pregnancy because generally she is such a body positive force of a woman and I thought it would be interesting to hear her take on growing a dang human inside of her!

Here’s what she had to say-

“Pregnancy is a beautiful and life-changing experience but that doesn’t mean it has to change who we are as a person. 

 

I’ve noticed that as a society we tend to view pregnant women in a different light. Suddenly, because we are carrying a child, literally the product of our sexuality, we can no longer be seen as sexual beings. There is a great divide between the conception of pre-pregnancy women and mothers-to-be but in reality, are we not the same person we were prior to pregnancy?

 

Even with all the changes my body has and continues to go through during my pregnancy it’s been important to me to stay as true to myself as possible. Shooting boudoir has always been empowering to me and continuing through my pregnancy has helped to remind me that even though my body looks nothing like it did 7 months ago, I am still beautiful, I’m still sexy, and I am still me. 

 

Like every woman, I have moments when  I break down, when I feel I feel like my body is failing me, nothing fits, my skin is stretched to the max, I’m exhausted, and I look in the mirror and wonder who I’m looking at. I let myself feel feel the feels but quickly remind myself that my body is doing something amazing! I’m literally creating and nurturing a new life. My body deserves my respect! 

 

I hope to always inspire body positivity and through my continued boudoir work I hope to show society that moms-to-be are still sexy.”

Hellz yeah to THAT!

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! 

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. 

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!

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!

Vulnerability Part 2 | Grand Rapids Boudoir | Duende Boudoir

I talked A LOT about vulnerability in Part 1 of this set so I'm not going to harp on it too much more except to say that it's hella important, in life and during your photo shoot. So give it a read if you haven't already.

I'm here to connect with you, soul to soul, and capture a piece of it in images. I can't do that as effectively if you don't let your guard down.

Droping all of that over-thinking and just feeling the moment and connecting with me is the key to great images during your session. That's it! All you have to do is trust me. And relax. Because I've got ya!  

The proof is in the pictures!

Self-Portrait= Self Love | Florida Boudoir | Duende Boudoir

I am so nervous to post these that I might throw up. 

I'm feeling allllll sorts of emotions but the main one is FEAR. I'm scared to show people my body because it's a body now. And as much as I might preach self-love and all that mumbo-jumbo I am kind of ashamed of where I'm at in this current body. It's physically uncomfortable right now and for someone who can't even look at themselves in the mirror most days it's fucking terrifying to show it to the whole world. But that's exactly why I need to do this. I need to do this for myself. And I need to do this for you

But let me rewind a second.

Like many women, I've had (air quotes) body issues. But unlike a lot of women I've had at different points in my life what's considered as issues issues. The heavy hitters. Anorexia, bulimia, bingeing/purging, orthorexia,  exercise addiction, and body dysmorphia. Those are just the body-related ones! I'm a little bit messed up I guess. And I was really damn good at hiding all of those. It was kind of like a game for me, except the risk was losing my life if I won. The blind hatred I felt towards my body truly was all-consuming. 

But. 

I'm happy to say that I'm more or less recovered from most of those issues but the mental mindset doesn't ever leave you. And because of that I take certain precautions. I try not to go to the gym anymore by myself. I don't watch food documentaries. I don't count calories or have a scale or look in the mirror (for better or worse) or let myself go too long without eating. I spend a lot of time just being naked in an attepmt to normalize my body with my self. I even got rid of that folder on my computer with pictures of skinny people that took me years to compile. That one was hard to do.

But now that I'm 'better' I'm just another chubby girl who's ignored by society. 

I'm just stuck with myself. 

And so. 

If I have to be stuck with myself I'm going to try to live with it. Maybe even...(oh my god here's a radical notion) love it. 

I've come to realize that I'm a god-damn renaissance painting in a world that currently worships a different body type. Or at least that's what I tell myself these days. I'm fleshy and full and got lumps and bumps and lovely lady humps! 

But just because I was born in the wrong time period for my body type doesn't make my body wrong. It just makes it unique. And uniqueness, at the very least, is NOT boring! 

I'm at my highest weight, I think. And I've reached a truce with myself.

I used to do a lot of bad things to my body...and none of them fixed anything. The underlying issues, which had nothing to do with food or weight, were still there. So now I'm going to try to do some good things. I'm going to work out in moderation with love and respect for my body in ways that bring me joy. I'm going to fill it with real, whole foods instead of sugar and simple carbs (also sugar). I'm going to stop comparing myself to people because, as Theodore Roosevelt wisely said, comparison is the thief of joy. 

I'm not going to hide anymore, nor am I going to wait to do things until I'm perfect. Because we all know that doesn't exist. Perfect is an ever-moving target, an oasis of death in the desert race of life. And frankly, I've got more important shit to do. I'm going to buy the expensive lingerie (for myself, not just my clients anymore!), I'm going to take the self-portraits, I'm going to wear the bikini, and I'm going to have sex with the lights on (well I kind of already do this but it's not what I would describe as my favorite kind of sex ifyaknowwhatImean.)

And the best part is that I'm not alone! There is a whole movement of body-positive people coming out of the woodwork and boudoir is just one of the many ways that they are using to not only jump-start that journey and embrace their own uniqueness but also change the way the world views sexy. Sexy is raw, sexy is real, sexy is...whatever the fuck you want it to be. It's tanned and toned AND big and bodacious. 

Because I'm a boudoir photographer (if you didn't know that already where the heck have you been!?) I hopped on the bandwagon to do it for myself. I kind of chose the dumbest time to to it too. High noon in Florida with the sun shining brightly (the worst time for photo-taking) and in a semi-public walking path. I could feel myself burning as the minutes ticked by and this weird guy kept circling back on his bicycle. Luckily I had Alex along to keep a look out.

When I got home and looked at the photos I have to be honest, at first I didn't like what I saw. I started to think that maybe I shouldn't have done it, it was a waste of time (soooo much time. Self portraits are HARD), and that I was most definitely NOT going to post them. NopenopeNOOOPPPEEE. People would see that I'm fat under all of those clothes! People would think that I let myself go or that I'm lazy or that I'm ugly.

But. Then. 

I had a glass of wine and looked at myself with kindness. I looked at myself objectively as if I was looking at one of my clients. And then I fell in love. When I removed all of the mental bull-shit that runs through my head all of the time and just looked at that woman staring back at me...I cried. I cried for all that I have become, for all that I have lost in the battle to whittle myself down, and for all that my life is yet to be. And I'm crying now! 

So.

As it stands today I'm far from peace....but at least I'm not at war anymore. 

And that's good enough for me.

P.S. Other that color-changes and pimple removal I did NOT photoshop my body. I purposely used photos that flaunted my stomach in 'unflattering' poses because it's my biggest personal 'flaw' in my eyes. I think showing you that is the ultimate form of bravery, and it's set me free. 

Paintings-

Jan Gossaert's Venus and Palma Giovane's Venus and Cupid at Vulcan's Forge

(Hmmmm....Venus is a goddess. She looks like me. Therefore I am a goddess?!)

 

If you're ready to love yourself NOW just as you are and book a shoot with me- CLICK THIS! 

 

 

Kimono Flow | Wisconsin Boudoir | Duende Boudoir

I LOVE styling boudoir sessions. LOOOOOVVVVVEEEEE it! I think I could honestly just quit taking photos forever (sad day) and still be able to carve a beautiful life out for myself with styling photo shoots/movies/whatever floats your boat. Lingerie and vintage clothing bring me THAT MUCH JOY.

There's something so incredibly satisfying about pulling different elements together to create a narrative. You become what you're wearing. Everything makes sense and just clicks in. That's important with boudoir because sometimes we need help bringing out what we have deep within us and the styling of your session can really help do that.

I bought this vintage embroidered silk kimono recently at an antique store somewhere in the US and, even though it needed some work and had staining, I just #hadtohaveittakemymoneynow! Kimonos are quite plentiful out in the world. There are tons of different styles and fabrics but the QUALITY of most are sub-par. They are usually of the souvenir variety and I pass up almost all that I see. 

But this baby... I put it on and it just flowed. It had life. And it had me in one spin. 

SO. I knew I had to put someone in this and capture it on camera. 

I found this bra and panty set that goes perfectly with the robe and we were aiming for a really dreamy, beautiful session so Elle did a romantic braided up-do for the hair. 

Pair all of that with a serendipitous wind and Carley doing her thang and you've got magic! I feel like you can almost feel the silk of the kimono in these images.

If you want to do a session with me but have no idea how to style yourself please let me help! It would honestly be my pleasure. And I have a whole wardrobe of things to choose from! 

Wardrobe and styling- Duende Boudoir Lingerie Closet

Hair & Makeup- Elle Allen Hair and Makeup

To book your own shoot- CLICK THIS!

You Are Safe With Me | Wisconsin Boudoir | Duende Boudoir

I want to talk about how important it is to me that my clients feel safe when we are working together.

Boudoir, for the most part, is a deeply personal experience. You are baring your soul and your body and tapping into parts of yourself that you probably rarely let see the light. It's a little uncomfortable but it should be because you're growing. 

All of these things are wonderful and powerful and can sometimes be the catalyst for changing your entire life. Imagine if you actually started to believe that you are beautiful and sensual and important and can do anything that you set your mind to! It happens. Self-reverence opens many doors. 

BUT none of these things can happen if you don't feel at ease, if you don't feel secure enough to let your guard down, if you don't feel like you're in a safe space.

You will ALWAYS be in a safe space with me, physically AND mentally. 

If you decide to book an outdoor boudoir session, which people are starting to request with more frequency, your photo shoot will take place on my family's private property. (Unless, on the rare occasion, you have an amazing spot or idea of your own that won't get us arrested!) No strangers are going to be walking by as you frolic naked in the woods. It'll be just you, me, and the bugs. And while it's not the most glamorous place to get dolled up, my parents' house is ours to use to get ready in. (They won't be home!)

You probably don't think of the privacy factor when you're daydreaming about your own epic outdoor boudoir photo shoot experience but shooting PRIVATELY outside is something that most boudoir photographers don't have the luxury of offering. I feel very fortunate to be able to give this to my clients, especially since shooting outside with Mother Nature was how I started my photography journey.

You should feel safe with me emotionally as well. 

Girrrrrlll let me tell you....

Whatever mental hangups you have about yourself I've either experienced in the past or continue to experience. I've dealt with depression, anxiety, eating disorders, dissociation, self-loathing so bad I couldn't look in a mirror, and, only recently the journey to self-love and I'm here to tell you that you will not be judged by me.

I'm not going to be thinking about your stretch marks (we all have them, it means you've grown silly!), your cottage cheese butt (please tell me I'm not the only one with this!), or your two different sized breasts. I don't care about those things. I'm not going to be picking you apart like you're some sort of weird specimen or something that needs improving (you probably do this enough to yourself every day). 

What I will be doing is looking at you with kind eyes, coaxing you to really let your inner self out, and making sure that you point your damn toes. 

A body is just a shell to me- some are bigger or smaller, some are shorter or taller, some are lighter or darker, some are lumpy-er or more toned but NONE OF THE FEATURES OF YOUR BODY DETERMINE YOUR WORTH. I'm looking deeper, I'm looking for the soul. And you should too.

I'm starting to realize that this is why people come to me- they want to feel seen for more than what they look like on the outside.

I will pose you so effortlessly that you don't even realize you're posing most of the time. You'll be focusing on the way the wind caresses your cheek, the feeling of the dewy grass meeting your body as you lay down, the noise of the pine needles crunching underneath your feet, the mosquitoes eating you alive, the stick prodding you in the back...you get the picture! And yes, you will look good. I'll make sure you tighten the stomach muscles, pop that booty, lift the chin...and breathe.

I want you to know that you can feel safe with me, you can trust me, and that together we are going to hopefully open that door to realizing just how amazing you truly are.

But don't just take my word for it. Here's what someone recently had to say about their experience-

"I was unsure how I would feel getting photos, feeling unsure and vulnerable about how they would turn out. As soon as I arrived, I felt so comfortable. Starting with hair and makeup, I was feeling my best self after just that! Letting myself do this and allowing myself to be my most free and best self in front of the camera turned out to be one of the best and most liberating experiences I've had! Paige is so professional, and she makes you feel like you're the most beautiful person she's ever seen in front of the camera. I've never seen anyone with so much patience! Awkward ladies out there- this girl is for you! Would highly recommend a photo shoot with Paige!! Do it for your awesome self." -Samantha

  Yup. Awkward girls unite!

Anywho...

Here's an outdoor photo shoot that took place on my family's land this past summer. Looking at these, I am instantly transported back. I can smell the wildflowers, I can hear the big bumblebees, I can feel that warm early morning breeze.... take me back! 

We got a little creative and stuck wildflowers in one of the sheer bodysuits from the boudoir closet. We only had about 10 minutes to capture this look but what we got is stunning! Carley really blends right in with the beauty of nature!

Enjoy!

Wardrobe- Duende Boudoir Closet

Hair and Makeup- Elle Allen Hair & Makeup

To book your own outdoor shoot this summer- Click THIS!