On April 1st, 2017, I ran a photo shoot for Self Love Beauty’s Beautiful Me Campaign in Central Park in NYC! It was an incredible experience, and I am so glad that I was able to be such a big part of making it all happen.

The Planning

In December of 2016, I started working as a branding intern for the blog Self Love Beauty. When I first learned that I was going to be planning/running a photo shoot, I wasn’t totally sure how it was all going to come together. I had participated in a number of photo shoots before as a model, but I hadn’t organized one before, and especially not one of this magnitude.

However, Lisa Thompson, founder of Self Love Beauty, helped me every step along the way and constantly reassured me that I was doing exactly what I needed to. From casting all of our 14 models (including my mom!), to compiling all of their information and stories, to contacting media outlets, to scheduling every component of the shoot down to the hour, it was a great experience in learning how to connect with people in a professional manner and in trusting myself to be able to get the job done.

The Shoot

After each of our models had their makeup done by one of the three amazing makeup artists who volunteered their time to us – Mabel Jimenez, Erika Mays, and Amanda Hoehl (who was also one of the models!) – we started to take everyone’s individual photos. Each model wore an inspirational shirt that she had picked out.

After each model’s individual photos were taken by our photographer/videographer, Justin Katz, there was a quick video interview where each model was able to share a little more about her story. Getting to hear each of these women speak about their experiences and what made them who they are today was incredibly inspiring. Few things are as powerful as someone speaking freely about who they truly are.

After we wrapped up the individual photos, we started to do some large group photos. It was so fun for everyone to be able to come together as one, yet still let our own individuality shine through.

Reflection

After the shoot was over, I was incredibly proud of myself and how much I accomplished in organizing this project. It was so empowering to see all of these women sharing their stories with each other and connecting with each other even though many of them had never met before. It was also so freeing to be able to share my own story.

I’m so glad that I was able to include women from the ages of 16-61 of a variety of shapes, sizes, and ethnicities for the NYC portion of this campaign. From moms, to high school students, to dancers, to writers, to everything in between, there were so many different stories to be shared. All women are beautiful and deserve to have their voices heard.

Thank you to Lisa Thompson for creating such a powerful brand with Self Love Beauty and for allowing me to help carry out part of her vision!


To see the finished photos and videos from the campaign, be sure to follow @selflovebeauty and @leenahlovesherself on Instagram!