What inspired you to do The Way You Are ?
I was inspired by my friend Louise who did it first. She said it was really empowering.
Being with my ex husband he wan't just physically abuse, he was also mentally. abusive. He was always putting me down. My Mum had said to me that during the period was with him I kind of went into myself. The scary things - I didn't even realise that I become like that.
I just wanted to go back to how I was before. I didn't used to care what I looked like. I was happy with how I looked. I always felt that I looked good irrelevant of my size. When I was with him I had begun to hate everything about myself. So when Louise talked about TWUR, that she had got naked with just a scarf, she had pushed beyond her boundaries, and said the photos were amazing and everytime she looked at them she felt really happy. How could I not be inspired ?
Did you do any preparation for the shoot ?
I wanted to really push myself out of my comfort zone. I looked at photos of other women, and there was a mix, including big women in their full naked glory. These were women not like Kate Moss. I looked at these photos and thought they looked beautiful. This was amazing art.
I wanted to come away from this experience being able to look at a photograph of myself and to feel the same way. To feel proud to have my photos out there on Pinterest and for people to like them and see them as art.
What was your perception of boudoir photography before hand ?
It wasn't really anything I had thought about. I thought it might be a bit sleazy to be honest !! Initially I was very nervous then I was pleasantly surprised when I met with Julian. I was really determined to do it. It was a huge point for me to be naked in front of another man - given my prior experience with my ex-husband it's a total act of trust.
How did you feel when you left the shoot ?
I felt really satisfied ! I was determined to go in there and fo the photos. I didn't want to leave with any elements of regret, or feelings that I wish I had done this .. or that. I didn't want to have any regrets and I don't have any.
It's great because you are always looking in the mirror to heck yourself. To make yourself feel better, to tidy your hair. YOu are always looking at yourself with a critical eye.
So, it makes a complete change to be able to look at something, to look at yourself, and not not be critical, and to appreciate the photos for what they are. And then you think "Oh my God - is that actually me" I don't actually look too bad. That's what is amazing about this experience.
Do you think you have inspired your friends ?
My friends said she wanted to do a shoot but needed to loose weight first. I said NO you don't The whole purpose is to learn to accept the you are. To have body confidence and not to worry abut what you can or can't do until you loose weight.
We constantly put limitations on ourselves and I think - who is telling us to do this ? I think I have inspired my friends .. after all you should do something at least once !
Do you mind other people seeing your photos ?
I'm proud of my photos and if other people like them .. great. There's no difference to other photos you see in a gallery. Art is Art.
Coincidentally I collected my photos on the same day as the one year anniversary of being attacked by my ex-husband. So this date has real personal significance. For me The Way You Are is an act of taking back what was taken from me. When you are in an abusive relationship you loose control. They make you feel crazy, worthless, ugly - you're trapped and it's the most horrible feeling. So, to be able to come out of that, do something like this and have amazing photos - or art - on display ... it's a great feeling.