One of the best things about doing the Beauty Project is that I get the chance to meet some amazing women. Shelly is one of those women. Not only is she one of the sweetest ladies I've met, she has an incredibly interesting story to share. Please enjoy her story and her beautiful portraits!
How old are you? 60 years old.
Are you from Calgary? If not, where are you from? Born and raised in Taber, Alberta, but Calgary has been my home off and on since 1979 (lived/worked abroad in Middle East and USA for some years).
Are you married? Yes
Do you have children? No
What do you do for a living? Medical Transcriptionist.Medical Admin Assistant/Clerk
Have you ever had a portrait session by yourself before? Not, but it's long been in the top three on my bucket list...
Why do you want to participate in The Beauty Project? My current life situation feels anything but bright. I'm being laid off my job in January 2017. I turned 60 this past July and having a lot of difficulty with that number. I've always had a pretty face, but significant weight loss has resulted in sagging and wrinkling on my facial and neck skin which I feel very self-conscous about. My husband and I were in the process of moving home to Calgary, and he is still in the USA where we've lived for 10 years. he was soon to make the final move to Calgary, however, our plans have come to a halt because I'll be losing my job. It's a very difficult time for us. I need a psychological "lift" more than at any time in my life. I cannot think of a better way than to be "made over", feel beautiful, and have a photo to keep forever.
What does beauty mean to you? I know that true beauty does come from the inside and certainly the kind of person we are on the inside is much more important than the outside.
When do you feel the most beautiful? When I get dressed up for a special occasion, apply full makeup and see my husband smiling and proud of his wife, knowing he loves me unconditionally every day and on all occasions! Also in my job I interact with cancer patients every day. I feel beautiful from inside knowing that my smile and genuine empathy for their suffering gives them some small measure of comfort.
What does being a woman mean to you? For me personally it is about kindness and compassion, to make every person I encounter feel like they are special without regard to society's so-called "differences" or personal circumstances.
What do you love about yourself? My personal gift of kindness and compassion, my strong intuition and being able to put myself in anothers place, my courage and spirit of adventure.
Tell me your story: I am Alberta farm girl who went off alone to live and work in the Middle East. It took every bit of courage I possessed, but I would not have missed it for the world. I met amazing people, experienced different cultures and traditions, and saw wondrous things. Three years ago I wrote and published a book about my experiences, something I am very proud of. All those wonderful experiences helped make me who I am today. In addition, while living in the Middle East, I met and married the love of my life. And I have lifelong friends from my time there too.
Yet my roots still lie in my southern Alberta hometown where I have friends I've known since Grade Four. My roots and those same people will always be of great importance to me. No doubt I have had blessings in my life. I've had grand adventures that others only dream of. But right now, at this time of my life, I'm having a lot of difficulty seeing a way through all the current challenges, and to feel defeated and unattractive in the midst of it makes it doubly difficult.
Shelly, it was such a pleasure and privilege to meet you and photograph you!! Your beautiful spirit on the inside absolutely radiates on the outside for all to see, even though you may not see it yourself. I hope that participating in The Beauty Project has helped you to see that.