One of the things that drives me to do these magazine-style photoshoots, takes me back to when I was just in high school.
I was NEVER the popular girl in high school. I repelled guys like bug spray, and I was the "fat" funny girl who everyone saw as just a friend. Or so I thought. I would wear baggy jeans and t-shirts to school, and just try to blend in.
But really in my heart I wanted long hair, and to wear cute dresses and skirts! But I was terrifed to show up to school looking like that - because it'd draw attention to myself. And I feared people would say: "What are you wearing? You're fake. Why do you look like that! You're still ugly. You're too fat to be wearing that."
So fast forward, I've always loved photography, and eventually I got a camera and me and my bestie used to go out on a "photoshoots". We'd find a beautiful location, and just go there and photograph each other. But there was ONE precursor: We had to DRESS UP!
So I'd go over to her house, and we'd play in each other's makeup. (Thank you Youtube Videos!), and we'd go through our closets and put together outfits we'd be too shy to wear in public - but it was really what we liked!
So we'd go out and shoot, and I would go home and edit. And I fell in LOVE with the images! I was so amazed that even I could look like that! Me and my friend would share the images back and forth with each other, but one day I got ballsy and decided to post one of my favorites on Facebook.
Mind you - I was the "baggy pants, t-shirt girl"and now I was going to post a picture of me looking pretty different! So I posted the picture, and I went through that whole thing of refreshing the page every minute or so to see if anyone commented "EWW" so I could take it down immeditately.
But something different happened. People were actually like: "Omg Fatima, is that you?! You look gorgeous!!!"
And in that moment, that's when I realized: I can be whoever I choose to be.
I am not defined by others. I was not destined to be Fatima, the fat, funny, baggy pants wearing girl. I could be myself! Whoever that was to me.
I realized that its not the way others see us, it's about the way we see ourselves!
That's why photoshoots are so powerful! They can CHANGE the way you see yourself!
This started a journey of falling in love with being myself, and being happy with who that was! Wearing what I wanted to wear - and just being ME! And the best way to find/express that was taking gorgeous photographs that I could look at and be like: YAAAS! This is HER! This is me.
And FEEL the love I had for myself. To be able to look at a moment captured in time and marvel at it and be like, omg I am pretty!!
And that's why I loved these magazine style photoshoots. When I did it for myself - it was the first time I actually SAW myself as beautiful.
I saw myself as one of those popular girls in highschool that everyone wanted to be. But even better, I realized I didn't have to be them - I could just be ME, and it was GOOD ENOUGH. And more than that, it was even BETTER because there is only one me! And the best thing I can give to this world is the best version of that person :)
Not to say that everything will be 100% all the time - but focusing on loving yourself is the biggest blessing you can give to yourself and to the world!