I don’t even play one on Facebook. Normally, when the camera comes out, I tend to stiffen up and turn to stone. Despite my guilty pleasure of watching more seasons of America’s Next Top Model than I care to admit, I never seem to know how to stand, what to do with my hands or how to find the best angle for my face. And, I always forget to suck my stomach in until after I’ve already heard that fateful click. So, when the opportunity arose to experience a glAMOUR shoot with Micaela Malmi, I was both petrified and exhilarated. For weeks leading up to the shoot, I tried to counter my growing anxiety with visualization, picturing myself having fun and killing it, and literally giving myself mental “I can do this” pep talks.
I needn’t have worried. From the moment I stepped into the Lemongrass Salon & SPA, I was a model in the making. Makeup artist extraordinaire Sarah did unbelievable job of keeping my make up in line with who I really am – a woman whose idea of makeup is mascara and lip balm – while also making me camera ready. The colors she choose for me were so spot on, I couldn’t help but purchase the lipstick, which I have since found is perfect for both every day and dress up use.
Primped, primed and ready to go, I made my way over to Micaela’s gorgeous ocean view studio in Cardiff with a suitcase full of my favorite outfits. Soft, natural light was flooding in through arched windows, bouncing beautifully off the hard wood floors and expertly placed backdrops, illuminating the beautiful Amanda, whose shoot was already in progress. I was greeted with champagne, strawberries, and Pharell Williams tunes, and was instantly at ease.
Soon it was my turn. First up, Micaela wrapped me in chiffon and had me posing on a couch. Not what I had expected, but trusting her vision 100 percent, I relaxed into the moment and pretended I was looking at my husband, rather than the camera. Micaela gave me the perfect cues on how to work my body and my face without ever making me feel self-conscious. As Amanda and I alternated turns throughout the day, our looks varied from fun and flirty to sexy and sophisticated. I found out that modelling is hard work – I had more sore muscles after that photo shoot than after any of my yoga practices – but we had such a blast that I left feeling elated, alive and empowered in my own self.
When the photos arrived, I confess that my first viewing was with my hands partially covering my eyes and I’m sure that I was beet red. But as I looked at them again and again, I slowly felt my insecurities melting away, as I saw that Micaela had captured so many different sides of who I am. Now, I am blessed to have an amazing set of photos that I can use for professional profile pictures, for more casual social media posts, for future gifts from my husband (so glad I mustered the courage for that set of boudoir shots!) and just to remind myself that I was, indeed, pretty fabulous at 40.