Having a bit of a rant today….. A journalist friend of mine tells me that a certain Parisian fitness coach is being very critical of me for enjoying sharing nice pictures of myself. I have been branded narcissistic to mention just one of her “compliments” about me.
To you my dear, who was born with a gorgeous body and who spends 5 to 8 hours a day in the gym teaching classes or shooting fitness videos, I will days this: I wasn’t blessed with being born with such a beautiful figure.
Pictures of me as a child or a teenager? Ugly duckling comes to mind, chubby and smile askew to boot. Very difficult to think myself attractive when society reflected the image of a gawky, chubby very plain kid. Ordinary at best. Unhappy with my image also meant very uncomfortable in front of a lense. Thank goodness Facebook hadn’t been invented yet… Mark hadn’t yet ruined the lives of the camera shy in finding their awkwardness splashed accross the social media despite themselves.
One day, when LeBootCamp was launched, French Closer Magazine asked me to do a photoshoot to illustrate an article about my weightloss and wellness coaching program. I was petrified! Me, face done up by a professional make up artist, in a studio, alone in front of a professional photographer, from the full hight of my 1.58m, chicken caught in the headlights came to my mind. I was going to make a fool of myself for sure. I arrived for the shoot extremely uneasy to the point of being a bit spaced out, bracing myself for what I expected to be a torture session I had to get over with. The make up artist introduced herself with a kind voice, with her gentle manner I relaxed a little and she managed to make me pretty in a few (ok quite a few) brush strokes. Thank you Clotilde for showing me what my assets are and teaching me how to make the best of them.
Here I am with beautiful Clotilde just before a TV show (thank you for beautifying me so my dearest!)
Then, Mano, as I now call him, arrived. A real cuddly teddy bear, who stands me in front of him straight as an arrow and tells me to smile. He quickly finds out I don’t know how and teaches me, with the patience of a saint, how to play with the camera.
Here is wonder Mano !!! I miss you Mano !
Thanks to Clotidle and Mano’s kindness and patience, I learn how to like my body one session at a time, I look at myself differently and I know that if anything bothers me there is always photoshop. Is it very naughty? Wanting to improve things a little isn’t any worse than slapping on anti wrinkle cream before bed or wearing a bodycon dress rather than shapeless clothing.
And I, having spent years finding myself ugly and avoiding cameras (I would hide behind people or try and melt into the background as much as possible), learnt to how love my body, how to hold my head, how to carry myself and re-learnt how to do what children do naturally: smile! … I toned my body to look even better in front of the camera… So yes, without being narcissistic I love doing photoshoots… Because I am still amazed by the results (don’t laugh, but I am equally impressed, after years of travelling, that an aicraft lands after a 12 hour flight haha), by what happens when one lets go of apprehension. And, I like beautiful things…so being thing-ifeid is not such a big deal either. Let’s not take life so seriously, for goodness sake!
There is no shame in clowning in front of a lense… Look into the camera, make friends with it, love it, hate it, show it how you really feel… It becomes a game…and the outcome is always something positive. It is a very liberating exercise. We laught (and release stress), we hate the picture? (never mind, delete), we love the picture? (what a feel good factor!), we are frustrated and annoyed (we shout out and release more stress).
So yes, I used to be photoshopped a lot at the beginning because I was far from being in as good shape as I am now…and despite what one might think, those tweaking and improving sessions motivated me to push myself further for real, to avoid the need for photoshop actually. And I now, am happy with my looks and my figure. I will never have top model proportions or features, with legs up to my armpits, I will never look like a Californian babe with long blond flowing hair, but I don’t care, because it feels great to have finally found my footing and like myself. Making peace with my body and my mind is worth all the gold in the world to me.
And those for those who think you could not be at ease..one day I invited my girlfriends to a shoot…….after a few very awkward minutes, they relaxed and began to have fun too, look how beautiful and happy they are! And after 20 minutes of it they said, wow this is exhausting!
And for those who think they look ugly in pictures… know that you are beautiful inside…and this inner beauty (that always shows on the outside if you let it) only comes out if you open the channel between you and the lense… try it, on your own even…don’t be afraid…try a new look, lighter make up or bright lipstick…flowy clothes or tigher outfits, delete what doesn’t work .. try again and if you would like, the first 5 of you who write to me in the comment sections of this post can have their best picture photoshopped like a magazine cover…life can be tough so there is nothing wrong in taking pleasure in a few superficial joys before going back to reality…I believe fairy tales are meant to be experienced.
Alright now, I’m returning to today’s photo shoot with Aaron who’s been snapping me for years, with whom I’m completely at ease and, last but not least, who really knows how to make me beautiful. The connection we have to a photographer as well as his talent make up a good 50% of the results produced.
WE ARE ALL BEAUTIFUL !