Before I get into how this #SheerBeauty felt leading up to her session, during and after I first want to tell you WHY and what she was chosen for. We recently posted in our #SheerBeauty VIP Facebook group looking for two women sized 12+. We did this because we get a lot of women of every shape and size, but unfortunately cannot always share everyone's images. After going through 150 emails from so many amazing women who applied, we narrowed it down to Toni. I could tell how much she needed to see the beauty in herself that everyone else sees. She is an amazing & gorgeous woman, mom and wife who, as most of us, always puts everyone else first. I knew this experience would be life changing for her confidence and they way she looks at herself in the mirror...and I'm pretty sure she views herself differently now, but go ahead and see what she had to say...
"My name is Toni and I am a 38 year old wife (of almost 17 years) and the proud mother of an 11 year old son and 8 year old daughter. I wanted to share with everyone a little about myself and why I decided to enter a model call contest and my experience with Sheer Photography. I had been checking out Sheer Photography's VIP group page for a while. I was in awe of their work and how beautiful the women were in their pics. To be honest, I found myself even a little jealous of how brave these women were to pose for their pictures. I have struggled with my weight for most of my adult life, up and down several times. After children, of course it was always more of a struggle to keep it off. Life happens, and as women and mothers we tend to take care of everyone else before ourselves. My husband and I are high school sweethearts, so he has seen me thin and at my highest weight as well. Throughout all of that he has always told me I was beautiful and sexy. Of course I never believed him. Why do we do that anyways? The one person who knows us better than anyone, cares the most about us, and obviously loves us for who we are, tells us something positive about ourselves and we don't believe them? I would always tell my husband that he "had" to say those things to me. In reality he didn't. He said them because he wanted to and most importantly because he believes them to be true. I had been joking with my husband for a while about how "funny" it would be if I did a session. He would always ask why I thought it was funny. He loved the idea. So me being me, and thinking I was too "big" to have a session, left the idea alone and didn't think anything of it again. So then one night I saw that Brian and Jen posted info about a model call contest. I couldn't believe my eyes when they were looking for someone of a certain size and above. I thought it was amazing that they wanted to feature women with curves! I started to think about entering. Eventually, I worked up enough courage to start an email. I must have wrote and deleted the email at least 3 times. I wanted to do this for myself. I wanted to be able to see myself the way my husband sees me. I wanted to feel pretty again. I didn't want to just feel like a mom anymore. You see in the last year, I have had a lot of life changes. I have really discovered who I am as a person and I wanted to feel like my outside matched my inside.So I wrote the email, sent a few pics and hit send. That had to be the most terrifying part of this whole experience. Regardless of if I was picked to win or not, I had already won. I was so proud of myself and everyone else for being brave enough just to enter.
I had received an email about being a finalist and could not believe it. At that point I told my husband that I had entered. He was excited and said he knew I would win. I kept saying he was crazy. Finally the night came when Jen announced the winners live. Two winners were chosen and my name was said last. I was watching with my husband and I felt like I couldn't breathe. When Jen said my name my husband started yelling "See I told you! You're gorgeous!" I wanted to vomit. I was in total disbelief. About 150 women entered and instead of being excited, all I could think about is why they chose me and how? How could anyone besides my husband think I was pretty? So after hearing some more positive words from my husband, I decided to do it. Jen was so amazing and helpful. When I met with her (and the other winner) for our consultation, I was so nervous! I had no clue what to expect. It was like meeting up with an old friend. She walked us through the process and the studio. Gave advice on what colors would look best on me and what kind of outfit to wear. I left there feeling so comfortable. Jen was such a help in the days to follow as well. I messaged her and kept asking about different outfits. Never once did she ignore me. I would have never been able to decide what to wear. In the days that followed, I became so nervous. I kept thinking of every excuse to get out of it.You see, I am the care taker for my sick grandmother, and the kids keep me so busy while I also work part time. I kept telling myself that I didn't have the time or energy to do it. Finally, after a few more pep talks from my husband and some positive words from close friend, I found the courage. Good thing I did because my session was in a few days.
The morning of my session, I was actually really calm. However, as I backed out of the drive, I got a little nervous. Although with my anxiety, it was no where near as bad as I thought it would be. Before I got out of the car to enter the studio, I took a deep breath and told myself that I could in fact do this. Once I got upstairs and saw Jen and Brian, they instantly made me feel at ease. As I was getting my hair and make up done by the amazing Brittany, my nerves seemed to dwindle away. Brittany made me feel like I was some sort of celebrity and this was an everyday thing! She rocks at what she does! Once she was done with me, I went with Jen and she helped me decide what outfit was first. As I was changing, I could not believe that this was happening to me. Me! Took another deep breath and reminded myself that they picked me for a reason, even if I still wasn't sure what that reason was. During my session, Jen was right there with me posing and helping me. I thought I would be really uncomfortable with Brian taking my pics, but words can not even begin to explain how professional he (and Jen) are. I won't lie, the first pic or two a felt a little silly. Brian then showed me one of my unedited images on the camera. I told them there was no way that was me. They both said that the camera doesn't lie and that I was beautiful! From that point on, I was so excited to see more and was ready for anything! At one point I was speechless with the images. I was trying not to cry. I was beautiful! At the end of my session, I felt amazing! I left there with so much confidence and feeling the best about myself than I ever had! Brian and Jen are angels from above. They make it their mission to make every woman, big and small, feel sexy and beautiful. They are very successful in that mission.
Jen sent me a few sneak peaks from my session. I about fell over. Needless to say they were amazing! A few days later, my images were ready. I brought my husband with me. I sat there looking at all my images and somehow was still in disbelief. Jen kept saying how much she loved them and my husband was speechless (almost).
It is so hard to find words to describe my experience with Sheer Photography. The problem is that there are not enough words. How many ways can you say amazing and wonderful? Well all of the ways is how I feel. It was life changing for me. I see myself in a whole new light. I now try to (even though sometimes it's still difficult) just say thank you to my husband or anyone else that says I am beautiful. I have made it my mission to tell everyone that is thinking about a session to just do it! Hitting that send button changed me for the better! Thank you Jen and Brian for picking me and helping me to see the beauty that was there all along."
Hair & Makeup by Brittany Blanchard