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July 27, 2015

Vintage DO: Glamour It


Every summer during my holiday, I post your favorite posts from throughout the year.

I'm slowing down my posts for the coming year to bi-weekly or as the Brits like to say, every fortnight.  This is to open up space for writing my book!

This was my top post this past year -- please enjoy!


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Photos by Cristina Stoian

When I said yes, I thought I was doing Cristina a favor.  If she was going in a new direction with her photography, I was going to support her!  I certainly didn't think I needed this for myself.

What surprised me was how much the session did for me, for my confidence, and for the way I see myself.   Not only were the images she created beautiful, they allowed me to see a whole other side of myself that I thought I knew, but had never really claimed.

Cristina told me it was an experience.  She designed it as an opportunity for any woman to get in touch with her glamorous side.  But, really, I didn't think that was an issue for me.  I'm a stylist!

I was wrong.

The experience was transformational.



First of all, who knew modeling is so difficult?

It takes concentration, physical stamina and total focus. It's like yoga, except you also want to look good!

Luckily, Cristina coached me through the whole thing.  I relaxed with her and got into the swing of it.  She's amazing:  kind and encouraging.

It was unlike any other photo shoot I've experienced.

Of course, models and actresses do this all the time -- and they don't get that kind of support.  It's their job.  It was fascinating to experience the poses and facial expressions they wield for myself.

More importantly, I have a whole other level of respect for it.  We all struggle with expectations of perfection and beauty.  Much of this struggle comes from amazing images like these.


What most of us don't understand is the preparation and work that goes into creating high fashion images.  Once I experienced it for myself, I immediately understood on a visceral level how these images are created.

And yet, for the first time, these images allowed me to see my body as beautiful.  And seeing is believing.

For example, take a look at this photo to the left.  I look slender and curvy at the same time.  My waist and bust look perfect.  The funny thing is, I know this is the pose.  But, I also know it is actually me.

Not that I'm going to walk around like this; no one could.  But, if this is actually me, what happens to all that struggle with all those expectations?

I can just put those to rest.  Done and sorted!  What a gift.

"Working the camera" is not just a phrase; it's a skill set.

Some of my sisters have teased me (lovingly or not so lovingly, depending on their mood) that I "always" look good in photos. It's not actually true.

But, I did learn early on how to simply look at the camera and smile. It brings your ratio of good shots to bad shots WAY up.

Take the image to the right. I don't always look this good, but it is totally me. It's my smile, the photo looks natural -- and it is!

This shot has become my new head shot.

It's on my website banner and in my marketing. It expresses who I am and who I want to be:  for my clients, my friends and myself.  Fun, compassionate AND stylish.

But, it's not the shot that inspired me the most from this shoot OR the one that taught me the most about myself OR about high fashion.

Because taking a high-fashion shot is totally different. It's actually not about the smile at all.

Why do so many famous women look younger than the rest of us?  It's not just the Botox and air-brushing.

In these shots, I'm not making any wrinkles!

Look closely -- the forehead, the mouth, the eyes -- and you'll see my face is totally relaxed.

I look about 20.  But really?  I'm 43 and I've had two children!


My daughter said, "Mommy, are these photos of you when you were much younger?"

I laughed and responded, "No, sweetie, this is how I can look right now.  I just have to be very relaxed."

After I went through the shoot, I felt I had learned so much about myself and fashion, I didn't even feel the need to see the photos!  The experience itself had had an amazing result.

But, I'm not gonna lie -- the reveal was incredible.  I couldn't believe the images Cristina had created.

Here is, as Oprah says, my best self -- beautiful, strong, fabulous, sexy, stylish and confident.





This is who I am -- in my imagination.

But there I am -- in a photograph.

I am so happy I said yes to this shoot.  Turns out?  It was a favor to myself.

Sometimes, it takes courage to step into your own power.

Thanks to Cristina, all I need to do is look at this image to know I already have!