Confident. Powerful. Beautiful. Sexy. These are the words that come to mind when I see this photograph, taken by the late Marlene Lillian. In 2010, I started Sultry Soiree, now known as the School of Seduction, as an outlet to educate women in many areas of confidence, life, and intimacy. As a part of this dream brand, I wanted to allow woman a space to have professional boudoir photos taken as a gift for themselves or significant other. In my mind I had a vision of what sexy looked and felt like. I needed a photographer who would see my vision in the same light, then came Marlene. She was funny, passionate, and a true artist. I knew she was perfect.
We set a date, began planning, and the ladies signed up. Some were existing students others were new to the concept of my brand. As the coach, I volunteered to be photographed first, as an example to my students. Secretly, my students did not know this would be a challenge for my shy side. Having my picture taken in a sexy manner was one of those moments of discomfort and insecurity for me. At the time one of my best friends, Lala was my assistant, so she helped, we shopped, as well as assisted others in their boudoir vision. We were ready and prepared to have our first marathon boudoir photo shoot, at the elegant Gates House Bed & Breakfast in Columbus, Georgia.
On shoot day I woke up with mixed emotions about the pending day’s events. I was super excited that a dream for my business would come true. But, I was terrified that I had signed myself up to be photographed. It did not matter that I had sexy outfits, or that I was accustom to being viewed as a sex symbol. Or that I was considered the confidence coach for the women who would follow me in the same task. All I could think about was, the thought of a stranger looking at me through her lens. Not just looking, but capturing the way she see saw me. The mere thought made me crazy and ultimately my assistant too. She was in awe, of the sight of my panic.
My assistant told me to find Harley (my alter ego) and pull it together. So, I drove to the B & B to get this terrifying dream day started. I had my face made and got dressed. In walked, my friend Temeshia, student and my class photographer. She was so supportive and excited, helping me laugh away some of the nerves. More ladies started to arrive for makeup and wardrobe. In that moment I was reminded of the lessons I had shared with the ladies over the previous months. The most important lesson being, you have to be confident, no matter who is looking at you or what you think they maybe thinking. So, after a glass of wine, I climbed on this most gorgeous bed, to have my picture taken. The first few clicks were nerve-wracking, but I never said stop. After more than 200 clicks I began to feel Sexy, Powerful, Beautiful, Confident. It was amazing that what seemed so scary just moments before, started to feel glorious, and freeing, and natural.
The day was a success, as I returned to my role as coach and assisted my ladies in having the best moment of their lives. The boudoir sessions have become an important part of the Alter Ego Series, it is the next step in pushing past our comfort zones into confidence. To this day I have used my boudoir photos as an example to my students that if I can, so can you. At the end of the day I am woman, I am a work in progress.
I truly miss Marlene’s laugh and what she brought to my brand. I learned so much about my self through her lens.
Be Confident. Be Sexy. Be You.