Customer service and logistics administrator
Why did you say yes to this campaign? What was your WHY to participate?
I’m challenging myself to become more capable of self-love and stepping outside of my comfort zone.
Tell me a little about you and your story:
I am the oldest of a family of 9 siblings, I have 6 younger sisters and two brothers. Growing up my mother wasn’t always very well and so I had to take on a lot of responsibility with regard to the rest of the family. As I’ve gotten older I realize that in reality I never really got to experience a lot of things in my youth that other people experience, because I had to mature very quickly due to circumstances. Being one of seven girls people always compared us to each other, I was always the clever one, never the pretty one and that left a lasting effect on me in terms of how I feel about myself. Since I turned 50 I’m trying very very hard to practice self-love, I have always hated photos of myself. I have done photography for over 20 years and I am very aware of how women feel about having their pictures taken and how self-conscious they can be. I have always stayed behind the camera never in front of it. During the lockdown, I began challenging myself to take regular selfies, and I perfected the pose and the angle so that I am comfortable enough to share an image of myself. Going through albums and old photos at home I realized that there were little or none of me and as I have always told others, when a person is gone that’s when you realize how important the photographs are. I realized my son may want some pics of his mum in the future. This spurred me to challenge myself to try to become more comfortable with having my photo taken. Taking part in this campaign is the next step for me. I have always struggled with my weight and I’m prone to anxiety, part of learning to like myself is putting myself out there and taking the risk. I absolutely love your work Olga, and there was no doubt for me, that if I was to be photographed, I would want it to be by you. When I saw your campaign I decided this was a sign. Being creative myself (I love art and photography), I love how creative your work is, and I am excited to see what you can produce.
What do you see when you look in the mirror?
I see somebody who has overcome a lot of obstacles and hurt in her life. Someone who is kind and tries to help others whenever possible. I see a wife, a mother, a sister, a daughter, a friend, an artist, someone who loves to make others happy. I also see a woman who doesn’t feel comfortable looking in the mirror, who doesn’t like what she sees 95% of the time. I want to see myself differently, to be comfortable with the person looking back at me. In no way is this meant to sound negative as I try to be positive always, but it’s the honest answer.
Describe yourself in 3 words:
Strong, kind, creative.
Do you feel like you have changed since turning 50?
As I said earlier turning 50 made me realize that I need to challenge my mindset about myself. Really it’s just a number I don’t feel like I’m 50, I try to stay current and live life as fully as possible.
What advice would you give to your younger self about caring for yourself?
I’d say in order to take care of others, you must take care of yourself first. You cannot give the best of yourself to anyone if you aren’t feeling your best.
What do you consider self-love?
Learning to forgive yourself and not beat yourself up over things. Feeling confident in yourself. Being proud of your abilities and achievements no matter how small. Not comparing yourself to others, we are all individuals. Accepting compliments gracefully. Making time for yourself and your well-being.
What do you love most about your new portraits? Is there something new you discovered about yourself?
I love how natural they look and I’m amazed at how comfortable I looked in front of the camera, obviously this is down to your lovely manner and your capacity to make me feel at ease. I honestly didn’t ever think that I could look so at ease and enjoy the experience as I’ve avoided it for the majority of my life. Olga, you have a natural ability to bring calm to the nervous anxious feeling that I had. You encouraged me to step completely out of my comfort zone and be brave enough to try ideas I had admired and aspired to but was never able to bring myself to do. You were totally on board with it and made it all so free of stress and fun. Alongside Jodie, who did an awesome job of my makeup, you made me look and feel like a different person. Thank you so much for allowing me to feel confident and a little bit sexy. What I’ve learned from the experience is that I’m often far too self-critical, which is true for most women I guess. I’ve also learned that life begins at the edge of your comfort zone, you just have to be brave enough to take that one step. I’ll be forever thankful to you for the experience and for allowing me to see myself in a completely different way from how I’ve always felt and viewed myself. It has meant so much to me.
I’d encourage any woman to consider working with you if she wants to discover an inner confidence and version of herself that she might actually love.
What was your favourite part of working with me?
My favorite part of working with you was how effortless you made the whole experience, the chat while we worked, and as I said previously, your openness to different ideas. You really allowed me to see a lot of different sides to myself, as women we are many different people all rolled into one and sometimes we forget who we really are, you brought out the demure side of me, the sexy side, the confident side, the playful side, all of which have been hidden away for a long time. Thank you once again for an experience I will never forget, for making me feel special and for allowing me to rediscover a little bit of myself. Thank you for capturing unforgettable and beautiful moments, I will always treasure them.