THE BODY I BROUGHT by Crystal Gwinn

The Body I Brought

A boudoir shoot. Maybe you’ve seen boudoir photos and thought, “Oooh YES – that is for me! Get me in a corset and bow to my beauty!” or maybe, “A boud… what now? Hard pass!” or possibly, “Cool for other people, but I’d look terrible…”

I’d occasionally flirted with the idea of doing my own photo shoot, but never seriously considered it until I met Kristina. She told me what she does (transforming people into who they dare to be) and I was intrigued. There are so many reasons to have your own boudoir shoot (a gift for your partner, for yourself, to encourage body confidence, to add to a modeling portfolio, for a bachelorette party, etc). I decided to do this shoot for the experience and to see what I could learn about myself. And yes, also to share with my partner.

I have a complicated relationship with my body; I’m probably not alone. There are moments of strength and happiness, paired with moments of frustration and insecurity. I don’t always love my reflection and can easily point to areas I’d like to change. Sometimes I feel that the reflection I see in the mirror is a “before” picture, always in pursuit of becoming an “after”.

And yet, deep breath…

I did it. I scheduled my appointment. I bought new lingerie, got in my car and drove to Kristina’s cozy in-home studio. There, Kristina and I spent several hours taking photos.

Of me.

In my underwear.

Here is how it went: I arrived and Kristina showed me the space. I loved the aesthetic – warm and inviting, but keeping a professional vibe.  I’d prepared by getting a wax (my choice) and brought as many lingerie options as I could. I came with a clean face and even though I was nervous for the shoot, I was really excited to have my makeup done. I’m hopeless with make-up, and this was my chance to see what a pro could really do. Kristina offered refreshments, took inventory of the clothes I had brought, put on some music and…

It. Was. Happening.

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Kristina put me at ease as she went over what to expect and I was surprised how quickly I felt comfortable. I appreciated how Kristina spoke and directed me, someone who’d never been in front of a camera like this before.

America’s Next Top Model I am not, so my goal was to just be a good listener and follow instructions, which Kristina gave in abundance. She had great props to use, including the best fuzzy blanket imaginable, and offered suggestions to lift my chin, move my arm, maybe adjust my fingers – girl knows her stuff! She’d show me a similar pose, ask if I was comfortable trying it, and go from there.  This session was dedicated to and in celebration of my body- the body I brought, the curves I have, the angles that work for me. There was no template. The focus was on what made me feel good.

And that was huge for me.

I felt beautiful. Once I let go of the ohh-if-I-sit-that-way-my-stomach-will-roll-type worries (because that is what stomachs do!), the session became about me celebrating my own damn self.

The bonus part: showing my partner. I was really excited to show him, and had fun keeping the details a little hush-hush to build up some anticipation. But the reaction isn’t what I expected! What wowed and entranced my partner was not my butt, not my boobs and not my (flawless) make-up – it was the love I showed for myself. My confidence blossomed even bigger through the love and pure delight in my partner’s eyes. There was no nervousness or bashfulness – only excitement to share this special experience. And the message I received in return was pure in it’s enthusiasm, support, and just the overall joy for trying something so intimidating.

We basked in the fun of it, and I was able to freely enjoy myself alongside my partner. I felt a new comfort in my relationship. For the first time I saw myself not as a ‘before’ or ‘after’, but perfectly me, in the body I brought.

What to Expect

– Come with a clean face – you are a canvas for Kristina’s magic!
– Bring many clothing options – you may be tempted to stick to a single color pallet, but consider mixing it up! Better to have more options than fewer.
– Don’t feel obligated to spend! I borrowed from friends, dug way back into my closet, and yes, purchased a few new special items.
– Messy hair- don’t care. You have the option of getting your hair done by a professional or doing your own. Boudoir is about intimacy, and loose messy hair can fit right in.
– Nerves – yes, expect those! If you come with an attitude of experimenting and having fun, it’ll show in the final product. This should be fun, so don’t overthink!
– Comfort – come in cozy clothes – skip the tight jeans, socks, bra, and any other items of clothing that may make an impression on your skin. You want to be just like the ocean under the moon (smooth).

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