Boudoir has gained so much traction these days and it’s very clear why- we all want to feel good. For me, boudoir is a luxury experience that I haven’t necessarily had the opportunity to be a paying client for, but am very grateful to model and be part of the industry. My first experience with boudoir was awful, my second was my turning point, and fourth was where it changed my life.
I was never really happy with my body. Scratch that, I hated my body. All of my extra pudge, my rolls… I can’t tell you how many times I declined an invitation to the pool or beach because I was embarrassed to be seen in a bathing suit. Looking back on pictures, I seriously can’t believe I thought I looked awful. In reality, I’ve always struggled with body dysmorphia and eating disorders for most of my life. I also have scars all over my back from a surgery and a car accident, and I didn’t want to show it off. We all have our journeys to self love and acceptance, and boudoir happened to be mine.
Let’s rewind back to my first session. I began in the industry as a model, and was chosen for an urban outdoor session. Awesome! I had never shot in lingerie or really owned any at this point, so I went shopping. After TWO DAYS of frantically searching stores for a piece that made me feel confident, I thought I was ready.
When I showed up, I was working with another model. I instantly felt intimidated because she was what I would have described back at the time as gorgeous, tall, and skinny, and she had shot in lingerie before. The photographer had us change in a gas station bathroom so I had already felt uncomfortable. People were looking as it was my turn for portraits, and I had no clue what to do! The photographer did the best he could for assistance, as he knew I hadn’t shot boudoir before.
The other model and I had taken quite a few photos together, but the photographer only gave me two of myself after a long time of waiting. Don’t get me wrong, the pictures were great! The experience pushed me to try again and again to see if it was something I could end up loving. In all honesty, the experience left me feeling bad about myself, and made me feel like I wasn’t good enough.
Fast forwarding to a model call a few months later, I finally truly understood what it was like to appreciate my body. The photographer took so much time and care with preparation, the studio, the client closest, and the experience itself. She made me feel sexy and comfortable and hyped me up the entire time. When she delivered my gallery, I started crying. I couldn’t believe that was ME! My scars, my curves, my body. Seeing myself from another’s perspective showed me that no one else views me as critically as I do, and the things that I had built up as “bad” or “ugly” were not that at all- I’m human. I’m healthy. I’m blessed. I’m beautiful just as I was.
These days, I’m a brand ambassador and model for lastphoto.kc, as well as her makeup artist, posing and business assistant, and best friend. It’s no lie when I say that I still don’t struggle from time to time with body image because it’s completely normal to, but I’ve found new ways to appreciate myself. Now, I have the opportunity to give women an even more elevated experience than I received, and seeing the joy, confidence, and empowerment others feel is everything for me.
Do you have a body? Perfect! I encourage you to do a session no matter what stage you’re at. Love your body? Do the shoot! Hate your body? Do it anyway! Unsure about how you feel? Celebrating a milestone? Have the session and rock it. Heck, do a few at the different stages of life and enjoy the growth.
You’re beautiful and deserve to feel that way.
Lauren GrayWild Fyre Co. | Kansas City, MO
Photos by Lastphoto.kc | Kansas City | Lastphotokc.com | Model- Lauren Gray