Be You.

Finding The Beauty In All of You

It’s been a while since the last time I was in front of another person’s camera. Back in the days, if I am allowed to make a statement like that, I used to “Model”. I started since a little girl when my mother would take my brother and I to casting calls and I’ll never forget the day that I went to an agency in New York City and they asked me to walk a cat-walk across this long, shining stage. I had to be no more than 11 years old and I walked that stage like I owned this world. You couldn’t tell me anything. Everyone was so proud of me. But then, I went to Wilhelmina and my dreams crashed. They told me that I was too short to do any type of high-fashion modeling, but maybe I could do print if anyone was interested in my look.

If I am being honest, that was discouraging. Yet, I continued on and I was striving to become a print model. I even ended up doing video’s just because it was the thing to do at the time. I never portrayed myself in an inappropriate manner, but eventually I began to see, that lifestyle was not for me. So as far as photography, I was just doing a bunch of photo-shoots. I was “building my portfolio”.

I’ve done a good share of photo-shoots and I think I may have really loved one out of lets say 15.  The bad thing about that was that the photo that I really loved was a headshot. It didn't show anything above my shoulders. Each time I did a photo-shoot, I felt that I had to portray someone that I was not. I had not yet discovered the woman in me. Confidence was not obvious, though people admired the photos whenever I posted them, I knew there were so many wrongs in the photos. There were times when I would receive the photos and the first thing I would look for were my flaws. Finding my flaws was necessary because, well, if anyone was going to downplay the photographs, it should be me, right? Hmm... I would say things like “my arms are too big. My shoulders are too broad. I don't like my smile. Why are my lips like that? I look fat. I think this photo is ugly” and so on. I believe that for so many years of my life I was forbidding myself from truly loving me. The experiences that came with modeling were definitely worthwhile, but the part where I pretty much started doing photo-shoots just to find a flaw in me is where I had to draw the line and decide that it wasn't for me.

Sometime last year I was a part of this off-Broadway production with amazing folks from Times Square Church. I met this woman who automatically, her aura just made me feel comfortable. She is a make-up artist and recently she asked me to be a part of a project that she is doing with a few of the other girls who were also a part of the play. At first, as I read the message, I began to think you can’t do this. You’re not a model. There will be competition. You're an amateur. But then, I realized that was the enemy whispering these thoughts into my ear and I was allowing him to creep back into my life. I erased those thoughts from my mind and I responded that I would be happy to be apart of this project. It took so many years to find the beauty in me. Beauty is way beyond skin deep. I feel vain to say something like this, but many people would say to me “you’re so pretty, why….” or “but you’re really pretty, you have no issues…” I have learned at a very young age that beauty fades. How many times have you met a woman or man who was incredibly gorgeous but their dreadful interior was burning through so bad that you felt you may catch contact or burn away with them if you got close? For me, I had to find the beauty within. I had to make sure that who I was as an individual, was beautiful. Not only because I want others to see that it’s more important than your appearance, but also because when you are satisfied with whom you are and confident in everything about you, you project positivity and remain happy as opposed to being a miserable person with a crappy attitude and personality.

The photo-shoot finally came and it was one of the best I’ve ever been apart of. For starters, I was surrounded by women who all have given their life to Christ and love Him with everything they have. The conversations were uplifting and insightful. I automatically became comfortable and didn’t feel as though there was going to be any judgment or competition. I felt at ease. Doing previous photo-shoots, I felt that because I had a tiny gap in my mouth, I shouldn't really smile a lot so I had to put this “smize” serious face on. Not with this photo-shoot. The photographer encouraged us to be ourselves. I laughed. I smiled. I didn’t put on an act because I wanted a certain type of photo. 

Through this all, I didn’t decide that I wanted to start doing photo-shoots again because honestly I would much rather be the one behind the camera taking the photos. Instead, it reminded me that I can be beautiful with my flaws. It reminded me that negative thoughts about oneself are just planted by the devil and he will try to win me over, but when you “try” something it doesn’t necessarily mean that it will succeed. I found a new love in myself all over. You are love. You are what you want to give out to the world. So whether it is just posting selfies on the internet or putting a post of inspiring words up on a social network, these are ways that you can also show your beauty. It’s more than skin deep. Love yourself because God loves you and will always-forever-love you more than you can imagine. 

Thank you to Kim T. & Monique for these awesome photos :)


Saphia Louise