Meet Miss P:)
She’s British Ghanaian woman, a fantastic plus size model, an advocate for health equality, and has impeccable style. It was such a treat to photograph her in the Big Apple.
An odd thing struck me as I was working on these images though. I grew up in a small, rural American town. It’s a place where the benchmark of feminine beauty is very narrowly defined as a thin, blonde cheerleader type who shops at The Buckle and Abercrombie. Tans and fake nails are key, tattoos and piercings are scorned, and a nice car or truck means you’re making good money. It’s also a very homogenous place – in my entire community, there was not a single African American person, and 90% of the people belong to the same church. It’s a place with plenty of positive attributes, but tolerance isn’t one of them.
Although Philomena is undeniably and obviously beautiful, I feel confident that my high school would have tried to tell her that she wasn’t. In a million little ways she would have been too much for them – too black, too curvy, too bald, too different. Too threatening to their small town ways.
I was struck by what a SHAME that is.
I don’t think Miss P would have listened anyway, but still… I hope that if you’re a woman reading this and you are struggling, that these images will inspire you to take heart. The opinions and criticisms of those around you are not necessarily correct or important, and there are many different ways to be beautiful (and only some of those have anything to do with physical attributes).
If you feel less than, perhaps the people trying to bring you down are just threatened by your potential. Maybe, you’re surrounded by idiots who don’t get you. Even more likely, is it possible you’re letting the little self-hate voice inside your head speak too loudly and too often?
Here’s the truth; you are beautiful as soon as you decide you are.
Anyhow, let’s start things off with a sultry black and white of Miss P. Three separate magazines wanted to publish this shoot, but unfortunately we weren’t able to give any of them permission due to some contractual issues, so you’ll just have to revel in Philomena’s beauty here:)
A simple white cotton lingerie set reads relaxed and casual. How cute is her cheeky grin here?
Effortless expressions and bare feet – a lovely combo.
I love this deep blue on Miss P. A strong colour like this is a great way to add a visual pop to a boudoir album, and I thought it contrasted really nicely with this vintage velvet chair.
I stuffed all this netting into my suitcase and dragged it across the ocean just for these shots. Totally worth it if you ask me, P looks positively dreamy.
For you photography people, I used only window light and a reflector for these images.
A last few of my favourites from this blue lingerie look.
Simple. Beautiful. I hope CoverGirl calls Miss P. soon, she’d be amazing for that.
For the next look we added in a black sheer wrap. This is a great piece for boudoir shoots since it gives us lots of fun posing options, and can also work well to help downplay any body areas you’re not so keen on.
Moody and seductive is always so much better than trashy and obvious. Le sigh.
I wanted to make sure we got a few silhouette type shots for Miss P to show off her curves. These always seem to look better in black and white than in colour.
Oh, you know…just hanging out in a NYC loft looking fabulous:) Love a good bodysuit. If you don’t want to show your stomach, this is a great wardrobe option.
Sometimes you just have to stare straight down the camera like you own the place. Miss P can teach you how.
We finished up our shoot with a few simple, clean images to show off Miss P’s shape and natural beauty. She’s doing a lot of commercial work at the moment, so images like these are quite important.
Miss P, it was lovely to work with you. Wishing you all the best and loads of success!