When was the last time you held a photo of yourself you absolutely loved?
Girlfriend, I get you.
We, as women, all want the same thing: to look and feel like a million bucks, and I have to ask you, when was the last time you held a photo of yourself you absolutely loved?
Everyone who hires me leaves my beautiful Northern Virginia studio with a huge confidence boost that doesn’t just vanish the next day or in a couple of weeks, because you will be able to pull your photos out whenever you want to see what a sexy bitch you are.
I often am asked how I got started in boudoir and in photography.
The answer is complicated and a bit long. I have always been an artist, I think it is something deep within my soul. From my earliest days in preschool, I could be found with a pencil or crayon and some paper, drawing things I saw (I was very obsessed with drawing horses, which lasted into my late teens).
In high school, Art and Ceramics were my favorite classes (and psychology… more on that later). I was pretty decent at drawing but I was awful at ceramics! Still, I loved it, it was therapeutic in a way. I drew a LOT of naked fairies… some of that work still hangs in friends’ homes today.
In college, I first majored in Psychology. I wanted to be an art therapist and help heal people through the creation of art. Art is so healing, it makes you feel things when you look at it, it helps you exorcize the mental demons trapping you. But I quickly realized it was not for me – and I was not following the path that talent had already laid for me. So after just one semester, I switched to double-major in Fine Arts, with a heavy focus on studio and figure drawing, and graphic design.
A lot of people comment on my composition and attention to details, such as light and shadow and the way it affects photographs. Truth be told, these are skills I honed during drawing class in art school and they are the reason my work looks like it does today.
Very ironically, I absolutely hated photography in college, and I would often turn my nose up at it as “easy” art. Trust me when I say, there is nothing easy about photography; I was just being lazy because I hated developing my own film by hand! Hahahaha!
And to bring this full circle, the work I do now is a kind of art therapy in and of itself. It seems egotistical to say this but it has completely changed the lives and perspectives of many of my clients. It showed them another version of themselves and they love that person!
So how did that translate into a photography business?
Well, I’ve always had a camera in hand. In fact, my very first camera was given to me by my dad when I was just 8 years old. It was a hot pink Concord camera, the kind that took the 110 film that looked like a parentheses and you had to wind it up for the flash to fire. As a child of the 90s, I took a LOT of photos of everything I saw. I still have most of them boxed away!
When I was 18, my stepdad was diagnosed with stage 4b lung cancer, the very worst stage you can be diagnosed with. I spent all of my college years living at home and commuting to school, plus learning how to inject medicine into his PICC line, occasionally taking him to the hospital for oncology visits when my mom couldn’t, etc. He passed away after a four-year battle in February of 2003. To put it simply, this experience devastated me. It was then that I set down all my pencils, my camera, anything remotely resembling art. And I didn’t touch it again for over ten years.
But artist blood runs through my DNA. Both of my parents are artists. My mother has always created collectible things, and since 1992 she has been an international, multi-award-winning collectible Teddy Bear artist, with customers from all over the globe. My dad was also a photographer and he used to dream about opening his own studio and photographing fashion.
In the fall of 2015, my dad was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. I flew down to Florida to visit with him post-op and I took my little starter camera with me, because I had an increasing interest in photography again. It was on that trip, during a sunset “expedition” to the local marina when the sun spun amazingly beautiful colors in the sky, and I watched my dad appreciating that sunset, that a literal fire was born in me. Suddenly, I knew what I wanted to do and who I wanted to be, and it all snowballed from there. In 2016, I legally opened my business and in 2017, I decided my heart belonged in boudoir, helping women realize they are beautiful NO. MATTER. WHAT.
My dad passed away in September 2020 but his legacy lives on through me and my business as I do the work he always dreamed about.
Some facts about me
I turned 40 in January 2020.
Ravenclaw (with some Slytherin tendencies).
My best friend has been my bestie since 1992.
I am a domestic violence and abuse survivor and thriver. I gained my freedom in 2009. I say thriver because not only did I survive, but I turned it into something I use to connect with and help others.
I am married to one of the guys who saved my life by helping me move out of my abuser’s home. How’s that for romance?!
I have two bonus children through my husband, the boys are 24 and 16.
I was born and raised in Hampton Roads, Virginia, but I have lived in six states: Virginia, Florida, Hawaii, Texas, Michigan, and Maryland. But I’ve spent a cumulative 30 years in Virginia.
I collect old cameras. I currently have a 1940’s Crown Graflex, a 1970s twin-lens Mamiya C330, and several others that are probably close to a century old by now.
I am a hockey fan (#ALLCAPS!) and a basketball fan (go Pistons!).
I am competitive af. Don’t play board games with me – ever.