January 7, 2022

Empowering Boudoir Photography

My top 5 reasons to say yes to a boudoir shoot.

I believe all women should have the opportunity to do an empowering boudoir shoot at least once in their life.

The term boudoir still appears attached to outdated ideas that women who choose this are merely doing it to please a man.  When I first started my modelling career I never imagined I would be comfortable modelling lingerie . I certainly wouldn't have been comfortable expressing the more sensual side of my personality when I was younger. From my own experience I've found it totally empowering.

I had the pleasure of talking with Jane Earnshaw,  the founder of Chique Studios,  a photography and make over business,  for the Out of the Bubble podcast. Jane inspires women to become more confident in front of the camera and embrace their natural beauty.I spent the day with Jane to hopefully help bust some of those fears away and show you just how accessible it is for everyone and what an impact it can have on someones confidence.

Here's my top 5 reasons why I think you should YES to a boudoir shoot

  • When do you get to spend the whole day being pampered?

From the minute you walk in to a good photographers studio you will be well looked after and made to feel special. I would say do your research when it comes to booking , check out there website, look at their photo gallery. Personally I love working with female photographers as I think they can relate to a woman's vulnerability. Try and work with a photographer that has a diverse range of images and women on their books. You may walk in feeling nervous but by the time the hair and make up team have finished you'll feel like a million dollars. Allowing yourself to step into a different world is so much fun.

Rachel Peru model lingerie shoot with Chique Studios

  • It will boost your confidence.

Lots of women struggle to feel happy in their bodies,  insecurity stops them thinking they will look good in the photos. We all have parts of our bodies that we aren't happy with

In 2016, the Dove Global Beauty and Confidence report interviewed 10,500 women and girls across 13 different countries. The results were staggering and women in the UK had the lowest body confidence scores in the world. Only 20% of women and young girls saying they liked the way they looked.

We ALL have amazing parts of ourselves that will always shine through on camera. Being honest with your photographer about your worries, prior to the shoot, will help you relax.  The photographer wants you to see just how naturally gorgeous you are and they will bring out the best in you.

 

  • It will help you connect with your sensuality, whatever that feels like to you.

Expressing your sensuality doesn't have to mean wearing lingerie and lace. You may feel more sensual wearing a trouser suit with a hint of cleavage showing. I actually think the term boudoir should be changed to empowerment. It's such an individual feeling.

We've all been conditioned to think that women after 40 need to hide our bodies away, that our bodies in midlife are perhaps something to be ashamed of. This can only leave women feeling invisible and lose confidence in themselves. I strongly believe we can and need to reclaim our ageing bodies back and learn to embrace them just as they are right now.

When I model lingerie and share my body confidence posts on social media 50% of the population maybe surprised to hear that I am not doing it to please their male gaze. The fact that a woman in lingerie may be viewed as sexy is merely a by-product and not the goal; I think it’s important for us all to remember that.

I do it to show other women that it is OK to celebrate and enjoy your body, no matter how old you are. It’s my choice to express myself this way and I am finally confident enough to own that. I hope you can too.

  • It will push you out of your comfort zone.

Yes stepping out of your comfort zone is a little scary but it's definitely where I've grown the most in the last ten years. I find it helps to build a new memory bank of life experiences that you can always call on if your having a bad self belief day. Having those beautiful images of yourself to go back to will give you that extra boost of confidence.

 

  • To celebrate just how fabulous you are

Doing a boudoir shoot can really be a way of showing your body some self love. A reminder just how amazing your body is showing up for you every day. Every wrinkle, every stretch mark, every scar tells a story of what makes you unique. Capturing that in a lingerie shoot is powerful and something to be celebrated.

(P.S If you're offered a glass of champagne on the shoot take it! You deserve it x)

“Feeling confident, being comfortable in your own skin - that’s what really makes you beautiful.”

#janeearnshaw #chiquestudios

 

You can also watch the behind the scenes video with Chique Studios HERE

Outfits- Pink suit @Zara

Pink bra @Playful Promises

Black Body- Figleaves #gifted

#empoweringwomen #bodyconfidence #bodypositive #embraceyourbody #midlifewomen #boudoirshoot #chiquestudios

 

June 10, 2020

The Impact of Lockdown Life On Body Confidence

How to love your body during lockdown.

I hope everyone has been surviving lockdown and managing to keep well. I am sure I’m not the only that has found this experience to be a real rollercoaster of emotions but what I hadn’t anticipated was the effect it would have on my body confidence.

In normal circumstances I consider myself to be very body confident, it’s something I’ve worked hard on and I guess it’s become part of my personal branding. I’ve modelled swimwear with Ashely Graham and represented older women in several lingerie campaigns, so I’d like to think I had the body confidence issue covered!

During the first few weeks I found myself joining every online exercise class that was thrown at me, some of which I really enjoyed, others began to feel like a chore. After a few weeks, life settled into a new normal routine and I’ve thrown myself into working on projects and recording Out of the Bubble podcasts, so I've had less time available. That’s when the guilt set in, I started feeling bad about myself because I wasn’t doing as much exercise or healthy living as friends and others on social media seemed to be. The saying “Comparison is the thief of joy’ is so true and this was another reminder of that.

I’ve continued to shoot from home and recently completed my first paid home shoot since lockdown began, for a lingerie brand. Whilst I am really happy with the final images it took much longer to shoot as I found myself being super critical and really harsh about my body and the fact that I’d put a few pounds on. For the first time in years I even weighed myself. In normal circumstances I wouldn’t have stressed about this but during lockdown it’s caught me off guard and I admit to having a small meltdown about it. I quickly remembered it's ok not to love your body every single day but you have to accept it, that's much more manageable and realistic.

I am happy to say this blip didn’t last long and I managed to get myself out of those negative thoughts, but it did stop me in my tracks and make me analyse why I reacted this way.

We have been bombarded by social media posts and advertising selling exercise classes and telling us that we should be all improving our lives during lockdown. How many times have you heard someone tell you’ve they’re learning a new language or attending every yoga class they can find? Whilst all this self-improvement is amazing if that is right for you how about those people that are just trying to survive and get through each day in their own way. There is no right or wrong way. Add this to the glib remarks added to articles and posts about weight gain it’s no wonder peoples' body confidence can be knocked.

Here are some tips that have helped me.

Unfollow/Mute accounts that have made you feel negative about yourself. Social media can be such a positive place if you carefully curate it to suit you and can be changed depending on your own state of mind.

If you are wanting to be more active, make sure you do the activities that you genuinely enjoy. I’ve started dance classes with The School of Strutt which I love and it doesn’t feel like exercise.

Don’t be camera shy. Start taking selfies and really look at yourself. Look at your face and recognise the person looking back at you. I found this really therapeutic and it was like reuniting with a stranger. It makes you stop and remember who you are and what you’ve achieved to get to this point, it helps put life and body insecurities into perspective.

Start a gratitude diary. I’ve used this lots of times over the years and began it again during lockdown, it helps remind you of all the positive, often small things each day to be grateful for.

Start the day thinking of one thing that you like about your body and make it your daily mantra, one of mine is ‘I love my smile’ other examples could be “I love how strong my legs feel’ or “I love the colour of my eyes’.

Keep repeating it to yourself throughout the day and you will be surprised how quickly it can make a positive difference. Once it becomes a routine you can then add more body parts and keep adding to your list.

Lastly, be kind to yourself and accept that your body is a vessel that has carried you through so many different experiences in life and is always there for you, so it deserves your love. We don't have to love our bodies every single moment of the day but body acceptance is much more important and realistic. Once we gain acceptance it frees up space in our minds to get on with life and keeps everything in perspective.

Keep being fabulous x

 

 

February 1, 2020

Body confidence on camera.

Body Talk exhibition with Shy Burham photography & poet Sharena Lee Sattit

Many women still feel very uncomfortable talking about their bodies, particularly in a positive manner. We are all so good at complimenting others but often struggle to show self love and appreciation of our own bodies. Photographer Shy Burhan and Poet Sharena Lee Satti came together to create an exhibition breaking this taboo and celebrating body confidence. Women from diverse backgrounds were invited to submit three words describing what they love about their bodies before being photographed by Shy. Sharena then wrote a beautiful poem called 'She is a goddess' inspired by those photographs.

Opening night was a sell out and it so lovely to see the women showing friends and family their photographs proudly hanging on the walls at Kala Sangram in Bradford. Shy ended up with 58 women, she originally asked for 52 to represent each week of the year but had such a positive response she didn't want to turn anyone down. I love that all the women were truly diverse and different, a true reflection on women in society today. Wouldn't it be great if those people who organise fashion and beauty advertising came to events like to see what true representation looks like.

There is something very moving about seeing women embracing their bodies coming together to celebrate. It's so important that we have creative people bringing projects like this to life to help break down body confidence issues and improve our mental wellbeing.

The exhibition will run until 3rd April and I'm looking forward to then buying my own art installation cylinder, it's going to become our new wine cooler and certainly a new topic of conversation!

The word joy sums up the art installations as part of the exhibition, the 58 women all look so different but so happy and free to express themselves. It was such fun shooting with Shy for this project, lots of movement and laughter.

I'll leave you with this beautiful poem "She is a goddess' written and performed by poet Sarena Lee Sattit. The opening night performance saw this poem accompanied by a beautiful dancer, it was a very moving moment.

 

What three words would you use to describe why you love your body?

Mine were.

Gratitude, Strength and Acceptance.

Rachel x

August 28, 2019

Body confidence after 40

Let them stare

I spent so many years dreading the summer holidays, stressing myself out months before with fad diets and manic exercise to reach the unobtainable perfect bikini body. I can't tell you how liberating it is to be free from this now and I really want to inspire other women, particularly over 40 to stop worrying and start enjoying the summer more, just as they are.

What better way to make that statement and continue to challenge my own body confidence by doing a shoot in a lingerie shop window!

Rachel Peru, wearing Empriente swimwear, photographed by Silverymoon Photography

If we saw more women over represented with swimwear brands in advertising perhaps we would all feel a lot more positive about our own bodies. One lady recently left a comment on my social media saying, "I will be 45 soon and I don't feel represented in anyway. I feel women in their forties are invisible". I hear these kind of comments from women all the time and it drives me mad that advertising is making us feel this way. That's my driving force in doing what I am doing.

River Island swimwear, model Rachel Peru, Silverymoon Photography

I think it's important to acknowledge I wasn't always this body confident, infact it has taken me until I reached my forties to feel this way. It's been a gradual process, gained by constantly challenging my insecurities and it's ongoing.

A massive thank you to Debbie at The Fitting Rooms, Ilkley for letting me take over her shop window for the afternoon. https://www.facebook.com/TheFittingRoomIlkley

Boo Hoo swimsuit, Rachel Peru, Trudy Beau Stylist, Silverymoon Photography.

Let them stare, it's time to stop worrying about what other people think and enjoy life right now.

Pour Moi bikini, Rachel Peru, SilveryMoon photography

"Despite knowing they won't be here for long, they still choose to live their brightest lives"

#rupikaur This sums up my thought on life perfectly, no more wasting time on worrying about my imperfections and lumps and bumps. This is me!

Top New Look, Bottoms Miss.Guided, Rachel Peru, Trudy Beau Stylist, Silverymoon Photography
I can't thank the team that worked on this with me enough #dreamteam

Photographer Mya Fawcett https://www.silverymoonphotography.co.uk/about.html

Videographer https://en-gb.facebook.com/aFletcherFilm/

Stylist https://www.facebook.com/trudybeaustylist/

Pour Moi bikini. Rachel Peru, Fletcher Films

"I alone can not change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples" #mothertheresa

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