Hey Beautiful Queen,
When is the last time you looked in the mirror and saw yourself as beautiful, and dare I say it, perfect?
Based on my personal experiences and those of the Queens I’ve coached, it may have been a while. Perhaps you can’t think of a time you’ve ever felt that radiant. First and foremost, know that you are stunning inside and out — whether or not magazines, television shows or movies visibly reflect the most gorgeous parts of you.
While we’re making progress, our society and culture still identify thin waists, long hair, curvy figures and small noses as the beauty standard. This emphasis on B.S. ideals makes us feel “less than” — less than perfect, less than worthy, less than desirable. The feeling sucks. And know, my Royal sister, that you are not alone. According to the Dove Self-Esteem Project, only 4% of women across the world consider themselves beautiful. Let that sink in – 96% of women across the world don’t realize their their own beauty. How is that possible?! When I look at my Royal Court of friends, colleagues and family, I see nothing but gorgeous Queens.
How Do You See Yourself?
Throughout most my life, I carried the common definition of beauty in my head, one that we as women are indoctrinated to believe. I mean, we still have beauty contests for fucks’ sake! FOR KIDS! We’re taught to see beauty as competitive, comparative and transactional — and that it only exists on the outside. That’s a definition of beauty that feels precarious. It’s the kind of beauty that can’t leave the house without being coated in heavy makeup or relies on ridiculous Instagram filters to feel valued. This is a beauty defined by the absence of imperfection, and one that robs us of confidence. Over the years I’ve learned, in part through photography and the work of brilliant photographers, that my beauty is defined by me, and me alone.
Capture Reality And Build Confidence
Years ago, I revamped my website, and needed new corporate photos. I’d just started doing the inner work, and wanted to lean into actually “seeing” myself as bold, beautiful, confident, and capable. I hired a photographer who took the time to learn about who I was, what I valued and what I wanted for myself — before she even picked up her camera. She encouraged me to do more than take professional headshots and to consider photos of all sides of me – badass yet soft, sexy yet sweet. The resulting images were of a Queen who is all those things. And damn, was she beautiful — it took a moment to believe that it was me in those photos! As mentioned, I had just started doing the inner work and was still learning about my own beauty, my own power. Those images, when I need it, are my go-to for “seeing is believing,” when I need a reminder that all I am on the inside, I am on the outside.
More recently, I did a photo shoot to celebrate the release of The Queen’s Decree and worked with photographer Dena Meeder — and she feels as strongly as I do about helping women develop Queen Confidence. It was an amazing experience!! As you can see in that photo collage below, Dena brought out my full royalty – my Queen Elizabeth I, my Marie Antionette, my Bad-Ass Monarch, my Playful Sovereign — all of Queen Carrie-Ann Barrow! Now, while I wouldn’t leave the house in that Marie Antionette wig, I had a lot of fun playing in the studio and seeing myself in literal Royal attire. Remember, it’s a visual representation of how I feel on the inside. When I look at those photos, my crown is shining bright inside and out, and so is my confidence!
The confidence that photography can help create has nothing to do with the camera. It had to do with showing up fully and working with Queens like Dena that see all of you just as you are — stunning, strong, brilliant and Royal!
Surprise Yourself, Queen! You Deserve It.
One of my Queen clients is a sixty-something entrepreneur that was advised to make her website more personal by using photos of herself instead of stock photos. She had procrastinated for months, as she dreaded the thought of being photographed (been there!).
She shared that she hated the way she looked in photos. All she could think about was how “perfect” she was in her early twenties and kept comparing her sixty-something body to her twenty-something body. I asked what she loved about herself back then besides what she could see on the outside. She loved her lightheartedness, her sense of adventure, the way she loves deeply, her willingness to take risks and so much more. What she described are the Values she holds — the jewels in her crown — and she still has all those things! We worked on how to present them on the outside because that is what really makes a person attractive.
We talked about how to bring those gems into view today and in images of herself. Her lightheartedness began to show up and we had so much fun talking about poses, wardrobe, scenery. I then challenged her to consider adding boudoir to her photography plans. This was a stretch, I knew that, and I also knew, based on my own experience, that it can bring out a side of a woman that we dutifully hide based on societal pressures. Truth is, she’s dying to be seen. I wasn’t suggesting this for her website. I was suggesting that she do this for herself to see that sexy side of her that she loved so much in her twenties. She took a deep breath and then, she smiled big and agreed. She texted me a couple of weeks later and shared that simply arranging the session has already boosted her confidence. (HELL YES!)
She had a ball selecting the perfect outfits and accessories and allowed herself to be the star of the show. Through the tool of photography, her Queen is coming to life! She’s bringing all her inner gorgeousness to the outside, so she can celebrate herself. My heart explodes as I think about the confidence, she was manifesting by giving herself permission to be what she already is, absolutely beautiful.
I encourage you to give this a try, Queen — you are beautiful inside and out! Stay tuned for an email from me with exciting news coming soon. Dena and I are working together on a women’s retreat this coming spring where attendees will have an opportunity to be photographed in their majesty. You won’t want to miss it!