I can’t imagine celebrating International Women’s Day today, in any other way, other than sharing Tonya’s story and boudoir session, that’s so full of strength, healing, joy and inspiration…
Her story and experiences are unbelievably moving and beautiful, and so articulately expressed. I was in tears when I read her story for the first time. Tonya, thank you for everything – for being adventurous, so brave, sharing your story and allowing me to share it with others, and also allowing me (and our team) to be apart of your healing journey, it is an honor and I am grateful.
You have also encapsulated, understood and appreciated why I do what I do, and have expressed it better than I’ve ever been able to. You have brought it all full circle, for you and for myself. I appreciate you and getting to know you so much!! Thank you forever!! You are so powerful in every way imaginable. Giant hugs and kisses!!! xo
“I met Angie at a local event a mutual friend was hosting. When she described her boudoir photography, I was intrigued, partly because she’s an “innocent-looking” young woman with a bubbly personality, and not something I expected her to say, but also when she described her photography of showing the beauty of women, natural every-day women, and not model-like women, and helping them to see for themselves their own beauty, it felt like a very honoring experience.
When I shared with friends that I scheduled a boudoir session with her, they asked if the pictures were going to be a gift for my husband of 20 years, and my resolute response was, “No, this is a gift for me – a gift of myself, to myself.”
As women, so many of us are berated with negative body messages from the media, from religious backgrounds, everywhere, we develop beliefs that our bodies are not enough of this and have too much of that – there’s always something we’re not happy with; but I had a deeper reason.
For me, it was about taking a stance, it was about taking back my power as a woman that was stripped from me when I just barely turned 17. It was about embracing my own femininity, sensuality, and all of those things I never allowed to really develop because of the shame of an act that was forced upon me and the hidden secret of that act for over 30 years.
It was about seeing my own beauty in a way I’ve never allowed myself and to express the joy of truly being present in, and owning my body. I’ve spent some time on my healing journey and my boudoir photography session with Angie was an additional step on my path. She came into my life at the perfect time, a time when I was finally ready to embrace myself.
My journey isn’t over, but I’m further along the way…
I’m normally the one behind the camera, taking photos of my kids and their teammates playing the various sports they’re involved with, and taking photos at family events. It’s easy to be the one behind the camera – it can be a way of staying hidden. There’s a vulnerability in being in front of the camera.
Angie made the experience absolutely wonderful. She quickly helps one feel at ease and playful, to be easily self-expressed. It was fun to take on a persona of being free and not a wife or a mother or businesswoman, but just me, freely me.
Angie coordinated a pre-shoot hair and makeup session with Annie Lam, who is an amazing makeup artist. I typically throw on my makeup and am done in about 5 minutes. Annie took her time. Her makeup expertise is fabulous and I received quite a few compliments – even from complete strangers. I wish she was my makeup artist on my wedding day. I didn’t want to take off my makeup after the shoot was over, and I didn’t. Totally against my nightly makeup removal routine, I kept my makeup on and didn’t take it off until the next night. From Annie’s studio in Pleasanton, I headed to Angie’s studio in Concord.
Her studio is very welcoming and easy to get to. It was adventurous preparing for the shoot with what I wanted to wear and I definitely went “out of the box” with some of the items I chose, feeling a bit giggly and very excited about our photo shoot scheduled the day before my 49th birthday! I purchased an authentic purple belly dancing outfit online and beautiful intimate apparel from Victoria’s Secret – too bad they don’t sell the angel wings – would have loved to have had those. It was a bit like playing dress up, only wearing a little less.
Afterwards, Angie and I had our official online photo reveal where she showed me the pictures from the shoot. They were beautiful, and fun. Loved Them!!! I’m excited to be purchasing her entire package. Sometimes others can see in us things we can’t quite see in ourselves, and Angie certainly did that for me.
If you are a woman who is not fully self-expressed, for whatever your personal reasons are, there’s more to you, there’s more to your beauty than you realize, and I’m not just talking about outward beauty, but the beauty of a woman who can tap into her inner self, and be present in her own body to know who she truly is, and it is that place that we can take hold of our own confidence and self-assuredness to handle what comes our way.
And if you are already a woman who stands fully in your power in all areas of your life, that is so completely awesome, and what I would say to you is, this may be an opportunity to reveal your softer side.
We as women juggle a lot of different responsibilities with work and family life and we tend to place everyone else’s needs ahead of our own. Sometimes life can feel overwhelming. It’s time to take time out. It’s time for you to honor you. Schedule a boudoir photography session with Angie. She will help you see the beauty, the femininity, the sensuality, and the loving being that you already are.
Thank you Angie. Thank you, thank you, thank you.” – Tonya