What makes you feel empowered? Growing up I idolized the fictional characters of Lara Croft (Angelina Jolie), Catwoman (Michelle Pfeiffer) — which were reflected several times in my Halloween costumes — and All-American Girls Professional Baseball League catcher Dottie Hinson, a character who was played by Geena Davis in A League of Their Own.
Their characters broke the mold of what it meant to be a woman. They were equal to a man in strength and power while maintaining the underlying sex appeal of a female. In short, they were badasses who could conquer the world (and sometimes did it in heels). More important, they taught me that being fit meant being fearless.
Being fit is a state of mind for me. When I work out I feel happier, confident and stronger. I sing louder, smile wider, and dance with attitude. I’m unstoppable.
To capture this mentality, I reached out to a friend and professional photographer requesting to do a fitness lifestyle photo shoot. A week later, I was in Astoria Park amid 30-degree weather taking pictures in a sports bra (anything for a picture, right?).
I never did a photo shoot of this nature before. I was completely unaware of how to pose properly or convey the right facial expression without looking constipated or, worse, unnatural. Rather than worry about expectations, I decided to wear what made me feel unstoppable. One look, baggy sweatpants, fingerless gloves and a beanie; another, tights, weights in hand, and a ball cap. The two looks were different, but showed the range within my own personality. Still frames weren’t poses, they were insights. Despite the frigid cold, I found an inner peace.
Andrea Klerides Pellegrino, my photographer at Andrea Kay Images, braced the weather with each click. She informed me, “Your enthusiasm for getting these shots made me even more excited and pushed me to try different angles and lighting and poses that I haven’t done before. We both felt comfortable enough for me to get close so I could get some of those more emotional and powerful shots. We both knew we wanted to capture this new beginning and you had a powerful presence so once we started shooting that translated very easily through the lens.”
True, I was nervous going into it. After all, it was a completely new experience. Yet, being photographed released a self-assurance I hadn’t noticed before. All the self-doubt and self-criticism faded away once the camera was on me. It was my moment, my time, and it’s captured forever.
Pellegrino relayed, “I love to capture all of life’s amazing moments. I’ve always seen the world in frames, so to be able to document anything makes me feel like I am able to give people a chance to freeze their fast paced lives and live in the moment.”
I broke the mold of expectations by being true to myself, and I dare my readers to do the same. Book a photo shoot, unleash your inner strength. Rid the body shaming, stereotyping, and judging by embracing every part of who you are. Plus, it makes for the perfect Valentine’s Day gift — to yourself or hint it to that special someone.
Visit www.akayimages.com, call Andrea at 631-678-3771 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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