Welcome back to the Face of Johanna Elizabeth where we share and champion some of the amazing women we get to photograph in the Johanna Elizabeth Studio in Havant. To start 2017 with a bang is no other than Claire Howcroft, whose courageous attitude is infectious and incredibly inspiring. Let her tell you her boudoir story in her own words.
Claire’s Boudoir Story
“Johanna Elizabeth – thank you for making me feel beautiful!
“I had seen the advert on Facebook asking people to apply for a photo shoot with Johanna Elizabeth. The pictures of the ladies were just so stunning. It had popped up on my news feed so many times, I eventually plucked up the courage to go for it, not thinking I’d ever be selected. I was working and staying away down in Exeter and feeling pretty fed up on my own. I was sitting in a pub garden having my evening meal when the phone rang. Imagine my surprise, it was Jo telling me I’d been chosen for a shoot! I was so excited and very, very nervous!
“The whole process was made so easy by the very professional team and I am grateful to each and every one of them that helped to make me feel at ease and encouraged me to have fun along the way.
“My reasons for wanting to do this? I wanted to do something for myself to help me accept and love the body I have.
“Anyone who knows me sees me as a fun loving, confident, outgoing person. Always there for my friends. Always got a smile on my face. Always laughing and joking. But that’s not how I’ve always felt.
“I spent 14 years with someone who ended up making me feel unloved, undervalued and unattractive. I know now it was my own fault for staying and I should have got out sooner, but in the later years he had become an alcoholic and had changed greatly as a person–and had become very destructive. He would say horrendous, hateful things to me when he was drunk and then have no recollection of it the next day. I didn’t want to believe that he meant the cruel things he said, but when someone tells you something often enough you begin to believe it. I wanted to try and help him because I loved him. My parents had always taught me to work at your relationships and they had been great role models and great parents, very happily married for over 30 years. I was very close to them and being an only child, they were my support network. I was devastated when one day I took a phone call at work from the police telling me my father had passed away. He had dropped dead from a heart attack. Nine months later, my mum was diagnosed with terminal cancer and I lost her nine months after that. My world was falling apart.
“I eventually plucked up the courage to leave him. I realised that he didn’t want to be helped and the best thing I could do was leave him to it. Of course, it was the best thing I ever did but my self-confidence was at an all time low and I had gained a lot of weight.
“I was living on my own for the first time ever and it felt scary but it was something I needed to do. I started to rebuild my life.
“Two years later, I met someone and we started dating. Things were looking up. We eventually moved in together and immediately the relationship changed. He became controlling and the intimacy between us stopped. So here I was feeling undesirable and unwanted again. I eventually managed to free myself from the relationship but it was not easy.
“I am fortunate enough now to be with someone who is completely different. I feel respected, wanted and loved. We are four years in and are building a beautiful home together. Life couldn’t be more different. I really believe I have met ‘the one’, but I have years of self-image insecurities that haunt me.
“The team at Johanna Elizabeth have done so much for me. They have helped me to learn to love and accept my body. My curves, my stretch marks and my imperfections are who I am and I shouldn’t feel embarrassed or ashamed. Throughout the whole process they have been incredibly encouraging and supportive.
“We had lots of fun during the shoot and I left the studio feeling ten foot tall! There were tears at the reveal, but happy ones! I remember saying ‘you’ve made me look beautiful’ and the girls saying ‘you are beautiful’ that’s why.
“My photographs are simply stunning and they show all sides of my personality. I gave them to my partner for Christmas and he loves them.
“Big love and thanks to Jo and the team for an amazing experience.”
Big love back at you, Claire! Thank you for sharing your boudoir story with us – you are inspirational, gorgeous and without a doubt a hero to a lot of women reading.
If you have been in a similar situation as Claire, don’t hesitate to get in contact. If you want a chat, our team members are happy to help you and offer you an experience so that you can reclaim your self-worth and beauty through a boudoir photoshoot.
Remember: You deserve it. You are worth it.