Here’s the latest instalment in our new Boudoir Series, focusing on some of the INCREDIBLE journeys our clients have faced and are facing.
We aim to share, inspire and celebrate their strength and touch on how their boudoir photoshoot with Johanna Elizabeth had a positive impact on their journey.
So, over to Kate, what an inspiration!
“Growing up, I was always the “big girl” in the group of friends. The “big girl” in the dance class who needed extra material in her costumes. In reality, I wasn’t fat, I developed boobs pretty early on and I just wasn’t a skinny as everyone else.
By my early teens, as I grew in height and weight, my skin started to tear, revealing deep bright red stretch marks all up the back of my thighs. I remember, aged around 15, trying to do everything to cover up my legs. Never wearing shorts as my friends did in the summer, crying whenever I saw them. I continued growing and so did the stretch marks; my inner thighs, my calves, my boobs, my hips, my stomach.
In the summer I covered my legs as much as I could, unable to wear shorts or dresses as my delicate skin would rub and cause my marks to bleed under the surface – fondly known as chub rub!
Nothing I tried made me feel better
I learnt what I could and couldn’t wear, always being the girl who wore black tights on a night out, hiding the bits I didn’t like and showing off the bits I did. (Well, the only bit I did like was my boobs! I’m very proud of my cracking cleavage!)
By my final year of uni, following the breakdown of a relationship and my parents’ divorce, I entered a downward spiral and was prescribed anti-depressants. The weight continued to pile on.
I’ve tried it all. Going to the gym, swimming, Slimming World, Weight Watchers, protein shakes, diet shakes, just trying to eat better! But, I’d find that I’d lose weight, then lose momentum and gain it all again!
I have a bad day, a bad week, or even a bad moment and I comfort eat. I feel horrid about myself, my weight and my scarred body, and I comfort eat.
Finally, I learnt to love myself
I could keep on at this but I’m never going to be the skinny girl, however much I try. I’ve realised, it’s just not who I am destined to be, and that’s ok… I just need to learn to love who I am.
An old school friend posted a picture on her Instagram, holding a gorgeous framed picture of a stunning woman in bright red heels, stockings and suspenders, and a cracking bum – it was her!
I reached out and she told me all about Johanna Elizabeth and how amazing her boudoir experience was and I took the plunge! What better way to learn to love yourself right?!
An exciting start!
I had my consultation with Ange a few weeks later over Zoom – it felt weird and a bit awkward connecting to the video call, but it’s something we’re all having to get used to in this weird new world.
ALL my awkwardness and fears were gone in seconds with Ange putting me completely at ease instantly! I realised that I could be open and honest, and I felt like I was talking to someone I’d known all my life. The excitement began!
The Johanna Elizabeth team were so reassuring
A few weeks later though, after my first bumper underwear order, I had a big wobble; nothing fit right, it cut in in all the wrong places, I felt disgusting! Why did I decide to do this?!
I dropped a panicked email to the team and Ange called me straight away, giving me some suggestions of styles to try and tips on how to stand when looking at myself in the mirror. She reassured me that I WOULD find something, and low and behold, I did!
The day of my shoot arrived and, my word! What a fantastically empowering day!
The whole team made me feel so comfortable. We chatted, we laughed. I posed, Jo worked her magic.
I’d done a couple of “boudoir” style photos before, with the ‘just use your arms to squeeze your boobs together. Yep, now look into the camera with smouldering eyes.’
Absolutely none of this with Jo – she creates, what I can only describe as Art.
The only time I felt self-conscious about my body was when I finally stripped off and dropped the silk dressing gown for the first time, posing fully naked. But even then, after a moment or so, the worries were gone! Jo wasn’t looking at my body and analysing it, she was was curve hunting. She was creating art.
I was blown away by the results!
On the day of my photo reveal, I arrived at the studio to find a super-excited Ange. She was practically bouncing off the walls and her energy was infectious!
I was blown away by the portraits! I inspected every one of them, not quite believing it was me. That was my body, and it looked amazing!
The only part of my body I liked before my shoot was my boobs, but they weren’t what my eyes were drawn to when looking at my photos – it was my bum! I have a bloody good bum. Even I wanted to squeeze it!
I have a love-hate relationship with my stretch marks. I still suffer badly from ‘chub rub’ and they’ll never leave me. They’ve lightened in colour over the years and more have appeared. But they’re real, they’re human, it’s who I am.
Two photos really stood out to me – the ones where my stretch marks were painted in gold glitter. My ‘zebra stripes’ sparkled. I loved them!
Thank you, Jo and Ange and the rest of the team. You put your heart and soul into every single client you meet. You make magic happen, you bring people up and you change them for the better. You’re truly inspirational and amazing. I only wish I could spend every day with the pair of you!
If anyone reading this has any doubt about booking in for a shoot, I’d say go and do it NOW, I promise you won’t regret it.”
Kate thank you! We got quite emotional reading this! You are so welcome.
To find out how a photoshoot experience can celebrate and honour where you are RIGHT now, click here.
Related reading: More incredible client stories
Jo and Team JE