I have suffered from psoriasis since kindergarten. I remember how cruel other kids were to me. I was called Lizard girl & a Lepor. I had kids in high school telling other people that I had the plague. On top of having psoriasis, I have always been overweight. That was always a challenge, too. I would have a hard time going with friends to the mall because they would be able to shop in the cute juniors clothes & I wouldn't be able to, I would just browse and wish that I wasn't me. I wore hoodies to cover my skin, no matter how warm it would be, and I would just try to stay unnoticed. My friends always had boyfriends & I didn't get any male attention until AFTER I graduated (the birth of social media happened my senior year basically.)
The first day of my junior year of high school, I remember a friend of mine's boyfriend brought roses for all of the girls in the group...except for me. He didn't even apologize or anything, my friends tried to play it off like it wasn't a big deal, but it was to me. Obviously, 11 years after graduating high school the way I felt stuck with me. I was the last person in my group of friends to lose my virginity, and I gave it up basically because I didn't want to be left out. I didn't save myself for someone I loved, or who loved me. I just let someone who didn't give two shits about me have it. He was in the Army & he did me wrong in so many ways, but I allowed it because he was the first guy to pay me attention. I did a lot of things with him and for him that I wish I could take back. I had a very hard time with relationships after that.
I ended up moving out of state and staying in a long-distance relationship with someone who I thought I would be with forever. We did our best to make it work but as soon as there was a struggle, he stepped out. My self-esteem went into a tailspin after that. I felt like I had no control in my life or relationships at that point. I made terrible choices of promiscuity with guys that I didn't even care about because those were moments I felt that I was in control. I just plain didn't care about myself. I had a bit of a reality shock when my mom was diagnosed with some health issues & I started to take better care of myself. I would go to the gym every day & I felt great. Fluctuated weight like crazy through out my early 20's.
Then I made a couple more life choices that had me at another low (this time it involved moving to be closer to my sister & we just didn't get along) and I didn't care about myself once again. It sucks when you only have 1 sibling & no matter how much effort you put into your relationship, it just doesn't work out. I wish that was different. She and I still don't have much of a relationship, but it's gotten a little better since I am now with someone who has kids from a previous relationship & I have a child of my own, so we can relate to each other a little more now. I spent most of my 20's trying to find myself and everywhere I searched there wasn't anything there; mostly because I was searching in random guys' beds & bars.
I hit a point when I was about 26 that I realized that the way I was living wasn't going to find me happiness. I slowed down on the random hookups and drinking.
I really started to feel like me when I moved back home to WA and met someone who had a profound effect on my life; I don't think he knows how he helped me because we don't talk anymore, but the best way I can describe his time in my life was he helped me light the spark back up in my heart & the way he made me felt was exactly what I needed to feel and I remember thinking that I want to feel that way forever...and I have. Meeting him was such a turning point for me.
After he and I parted ways, I met my fiancé. I felt confident enough to pursue things with him and I am so glad that I did. He and I have been together 2 years now, we are getting married in November, and have a 5 month old son together. I feel so much more empowered about myself now that I am a mother & the only thing I care about myself is just being healthy enough to be around for my son, whether or not I have a few extra pounds or I lose it, as long as I am healthy I will be happy.
- What made you consider doing a Beautiful Like Me Experience session?
I was scrolling through my Facebook news feed one day and saw Elaine's advertisement looking for models to show off her new studio. I had always wanted to get boudoir photos taken, and I thought it might be a good opportunity. I was so excited when she emailed me back saying she'd love to work with me!
- What made you choose Elaine Turso Photography over other photographers in the area? (Did you look up other photographers to compare?)
Elaine's photos have an ease to them, you can definitely tell the people she takes pictures of are comfortable. There are no awkward poses or smiles, they are genuine and relaxed. It says a lot about how Elaine is as a photographer, and she definitely makes it top priority to make you comfortable.
- What were you most nervous about?
There were 2 things that I was nervous about, luckily modesty wasn't one of them since I just had a baby in February. I was most nervous about my psoriasis showing & being posed in ways that showed off my stomach.
- Inner mean girl... did she try to talk you out of it? How did you overcome that negative mindset?
I was way too excited to let anything talk me out of it, honestly.
- Any advice to pass down to other ladies on the fence about doing a boudoir session? What do you say to the gal who says she needs to lose 20 pounds first?
I would say you should probably spend a little bit of time working on embracing yourself how you are, and finding things you love about yourself. If you feel like you need to lose 20 pounds, and you do- you will probably find another reason not to, like wanting to lose 20 more pounds. The cycle will continue and excuses will keep coming up if you don't find things to love about yourself exactly how you are. Elaine will definitely work with you on highlighting the things you love about yourself & camouflaging things you might not be 100% in love with about yourself. Every person on this planet is unique & there is no compare between you or me, but you should embrace the fact that you are you!
- How did you prepare for your session?
I purchased myself something I knew I would be comfortable in, and tried it on to make sure it fit me right. The day before I got a manicure & pedicure. The morning of, I took a bath and shaved. I didn't have time to dry my hair so I drove with the windows down and stuck my head out of the window so it would dry on my way in! lol
- Did you feel comfortable during your shoot?
I felt comfortable for sure, I have a photo from the shoot where my stomach is showing (the thing I like least about my physical appearance) but I still love it. I just felt empowered & didn't give a shit about what was showing, I had a great time.
I had reached out on Facebook while I was looking for photographers to take my maternity pictures. Someone had tagged Elaine & I remembered looking at her page and loving it but they weren't what I had in mind for my maternity pictures. I liked her page and would see periodic posts and I really liked her photography style. I am SO glad that I got the chance to work with Elaine. Since being a part of the page & group, and how she preaches body positivity, I have had a big turn around on how I look at myself. It's pretty amazing. She has definitely found her niche & rocks it!
- Would you recommend Elaine Turso Photography's services to your friends?