The Beauty Project - Missy

I'd never met Missy before she signed up for The Beauty Project. This lovely lady saw some portraits I did for an acquaintance of hers and decided to apply for herself. Even though she was a bit nervous during her session, we had a great time, and her portraits turned out just gorgeous! Please enjoy her story and her beautiful images.

 

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How old are you? 43 - 44 in July

Are you from Calgary? If not, where are you from? I'm originally an American and grew up in Michigan, Pennsylvania, then Georgia. I followed my husband here 19 years ago and have called Calgary home ever since.

Are you married? I have been married almost 20 years...and I still like and love him.

Do you have children? We have 4 daughters and it has been a huge adventure. They are currently 16, 14, 12, and 10.

What do you do for a living? I am a stay-at-home mom that still dabbles in graphic design via little jobs. I also work at my husband's company (a family business) a few hours a week in the front office.

Have you ever had a portrait session by yourself before? Never by myself. Just with the hubby and kids.

Why do you want to participate in The Beauty Project? I have been avoiding the camera for YEARS. I have gained a lot of weight through my pregnancies and since I have spent time, energy, and money desperately trying to change myself. I decided I want a photo of myself NOW so if I do lose the weight I can still look back on this time of my life and see happiness and beauty.

What does beauty mean to you? Beauty is being yourself full-out and that takes bravery and vulnerability. I love getting to know people because their beauty grows before your eyes.

When do you feel the most beautiful? I feel the most beautiful when I'm snuggling with one of my girls. The love just shines off of us and I can physically feel it. I also feel beautiful when I am being creative (I write books) or have a great idea.

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What does being a woman mean to you? Being a woman is an important part of who I am. I am a feminist that believes strongly in the equality of women. Growing up in a patriarchal society my girls have an upward battle ahead of them to prove their worth beyond their obvious beauty and that makes me feel sad. Being a woman means being fierce and gentle, soft and hard, and solid in your beliefs, but quick to extend grace.

What do you love about  yourself? I love my creativity, my wild ideas, and my ability to love all-out. I love my sense of adventure and spontaneity. I love that I get enthusiastic about all things and I am a natural encourager. I love being intelligent. I love my quirkiness, my big laugh, and my intuition.

Tell me your story:  I moved around every 4 years as a kid and was forced to make new friends and start over. I learned how to be adaptable and open to new people. My father worked long hours, and my mother and I...let's just say she didn't see my value beyond my beauty and she enjoyed criticizing even that. I went to University and blossomed. I was sorority president and beauty meant access to events, a world full of opportunity and more. I met my husband and to him my beauty was an afterthought. He saw me as me, understood me, and let me be my full self - crazy ideas and all. I started having kids and my life revolved around them - how could it not, I had four young girls? I spiraled into post-partum depression and clawed my way back to me, a different version of me, but I was back.

Somewhere along the way I stopped being beautiful in my own eyes. When did it happen? When I was too busy to notice myself? When I gained weight? I'm not sure but the negative self-talk started and slowly I lost the outer glow and sparkle of my personality along with my external looks. There are flashes of beauty in powerful moments of protecting my children, in my creativity, and various places, but I don't live deeply rooted in my beauty (internal and external). That's where I want to be and that's what I'm working toward. I build my girls up to know they are amazing and wish I treated myself in the same way. This photoshoot is another step in a journey of self-acceptance.

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Wow Missy! I LOVE that you have deliberately and intentionally taken the steps to capture your beauty where you are at right now! That takes courage and bravery! I hope that doing this photoshoot has shown you that you truly are beautiful now, both on the inside and the outside. I'm so glad you decided to participate in The Beauty Project. It was a pleasure getting to know you and working with you!