Love Yourself -Inspiring Stories from real women| Seattle body positive boudoir photographer

Updated: Mar 12

One of my favorite things about boudoir photography is the way it allows women to truly love their own bodies, often for the first time. We spent most of our lives hearing how we need to lose weight, hide blemishes, avoid wrinkles, and on and on until we feel like we’ll never look how we should.

Read inspiring and uplifting stories from real women who have learned to love and accept themselves. Stunning Boudoir Seattle Photography has captured the beauty of each woman featured and we are proud to feature their gorgeous boudoir photos and stories here.

Wanna participate and share your own story? Apply here: Application

Learning to love myself meant coming to terms with my plus size body. This wasn't easy. It has been a journey. Growing up, I never considered myself as fat or plus size. I always had a booty and I always had pretty thick thighs, but I attributed that to my figure skating. I was a competitive figure skater for nine years. I was fairly athletic as a kid, but I definitely was on the larger size compared to my family. I always describe my mom as the woman who complains about the weight she gains in the winter because she has to start wearing her "size 6 pants." As a child, I had an aunt who would describe me as "bigger boned" or "sturdy." I think that was a nicer way to say I was not petite like my mother and older sister. It should not have been a topic of conversation in the family, but it was. It was no wonder that I was different in shape and size than my sister and mother because I was adopted as an infant. I was not genetically related to these petite women in any way. It wasn't until I turned 25 or 26 and was able to meet members of my birth family that I realized that I was exactly the size I was supposed to be. Ten years later, I did my first photoshoot and discovered that there is beauty in my size. It took ten years to come to terms with my genetic background. It also took many doctor visits and tests to convince my adopted mother (she is my mother, but to eliminate confusion I use the descriptor of adopted) that I am not unhealthy and that there is nothing wrong with me. I think the most difficult thing about learning to love yourself is trying to teach others to love you the way you are. Society puts enough pressure on us as women, we don't need it from those closest to us too. I realize that health is a concern. But, health cannot always be measured by the scale, and your worth is definitely not measured by it. It has taken me years to realize this, but I truly think that it was getting in front of the camera helped me to believe it. Loving yourself means finding your beauty and owning it-both inside and out.

"Learning to love myself has been an ongoing journey. From experiencing my own body issues, to pressure from societal views of beauty, I had to learn that what I come with from head to toe is beautiful. If I could go back in time, I would tell my younger self that I was beautiful, no matter what people said about my dark skin and larger body, I would tell myself it doesn’t matter what people think and to love myself no matter what is "considered" beautiful; because peoples opinions are simply just that, opinions. As a child, I was body-shamed into a size 00, and bullied into a size 16. Throughout my life, my body unfortunately has been a looming issue for me, and learning to love it no matter what was the most challenging part. I’ve always cared too much about what people thought and that led to chronic stress and constant insecurity. At the age of 24, I was diagnosed with premature ovarian insufficiency, meaning I was no longer able to reproduce and my body had gone into early menopause due to stress. Finding this out was devastating and made me even question my own womanhood. In the process of loving and rediscovering myself, I learned to love myself and my body by taking care of it regardless of its capabilities. In doing this photoshoot I was hesitant, I really wanted to feel beautiful regardless of what “beauty standards” said. However, ridding myself of those ideas was undoing years of conditioning. I was worried I would see myself in those pictures and point out every flaw imaginable, but I didn’t. I saw pure beauty. This experience truly made me feel beautiful and put me back on the path to loving myself unconditionally. For women with similar insecurities and struggling to overcome them, my only advice is to put a big middle finger to the world, know that there is only ONE you, and EMBRACE THAT."

Hi my name is Audris. I’m 31 years old I’m a mother of three beautiful children and married to the man of my dreams. I’m a Pacific Islander (Samoan to be exact) and as you can tell that has a stereotype behind that which you may hear like “Big, Fat, Ugly, Manly, Cow, Bulldozer & Much More” growing up I always thought of myself as a fat & ugly person because of that stereotype people think of and when that popped into my mind all I could think of was gosh I’m hoping make up would help cover this horrendous person I see just so no one would see the real me which is ugly, hideous, fat, rolls for days, stretch marks city, discoloration everywhere, unnecessary hair growth, chicken wings, arms & thighs & so much more but I had this amazing man in my life telling me something EVERYDAY i mean I would wake up and he says “saying good morning beautiful” or “you look great in anything or nothing” even would say “wow babe look what you do to me” and with that I felt wow if he loves me for me it’s time for me to do the say and I can thank Michelle Wall and Katey Stevens
for helping me see and feel what my husband & kids see everyday and I honestly love what both these women have done for me and can't wait to do more.

Have you struggled with self love throughout your life? Tell us about when it started and what has contributed to the way you've felt about yourself.
I have always thought of myself as big. I had slimmer friends growing up and I was always that friend that went to the bathroom to change or perfected the changing clothes with clothes on. I was never able to share shirts or pants because I was always at least 5 sizes bigger than my friends. That really effected the way I looked at myself, accepted myself and loved myself. And since I struggled with that, why would anyone else see something different than I saw myself as? I am still relatively young and I have just recently started to change my view of myself and started to love and accept me and my “bigger” body.

As you've gotten older have you learned to love yourself? What would you tell your younger self?
What really helped me start to love myself? It was actually finding/opening up to my partner I am with now. He pretty much side stepped the wall of insecurities I built to keep people at an arms distance and helped me see that I am actually beautiful. It didn’t stop there though. I then became a mommy and have a 10 month old. She makes me feel beautiful and strong and I love that combination. So thinking of what I would tell my younger self, or aka my daughter, is that clothing sizes are trash. Secondly that everyone is the size they are supposed to be and that is what makes each one of us unique and beautiful. There are many people out there that will love you for you, the way you do others.

Were you hesitant to book a boudoir session? What were your feelings before the session? (self doubt, thoughts of cancelling, worried you wouldn't like the pictures)
Yes I was. I have wanted to do a shoot since I was like 21. So 7 years later, on my birthday, I decided to go the next step and treat myself and book a session. I was so mixed with emotion. I thought the pictures wouldn’t turn out good, or that I should do a good cleanse for a month and then book something. Leading up to the day of my session, I thought the lingerie I picked out all the sudden didn’t work.. I mean the list went on. But I challenged myself and said what is there to lose? Seriously I couldn’t come up with anything. Then money I was investing in this experience would have gone to take out for the next month and I was tired of spending my money that way. So I stuck to it and am SO HAPPY I DID!! I love my photos!

Tell us about your boudoir experience- has it changed the way you view yourself or helped with self confidence? Were you nervous during the session at all?
I had a wonderful experience! I was welcomed and pampered and it was just the self care I needed (especially during this crazy 2020). Michelle was amazing and coached me through poses and how to not nervously smile the whole time. Hahah after seeing my photos I am ready to do it again!

Do you have any words of wisdom to help other women who are struggling to overcome their own insecurities.
That I can totally relate to feeling trapped or shut down by them. But challenge yourself to push through them. You may be pleasantly surprised of the outcome that a little (or a lot) uncomfortableness will bring.

I have always struggled with my confidence. I always thought I was fat and not pretty at all and nobody would love me. I was married at 20 and had 2 beautiful kids. I found myself alone and depressed and so I would eat to comfort myself. I ended my marriage cause he was a drug addict. I then got into another relationship thinking that it would be an easy fix. He was verbally abusive and I couldn’t ever do anything right. I was married and together with him for 17 yr. He moved me out to Arizona and I didn’t know anyone. I really felt alone so In 2018 I decided that I was gonna try to lose weight and signed up for a gym membership and to meet some people to help with my depression. I had lost 75 pounds and still didn’t think I was good enough cause I was never told by the man that I was with. In November of 2019 he decided he no longer wanted to be married and kicked me out. I came back to Washington to be around family. I was so broken and started to eat to comfort my sadness. I later found out he had been cheating on me. I learned more and more about myself and just focused on myself through the sorrow. I knew that I deserved to be cherished and loved. I decided I wanted to meet people and to see what was out there. I met an amazing guy who is now my fiancé. I never thought I would be able to love anyone ever again. But he makes me the happiest I have ever been! He makes me and tells me all the time how beautiful I am! Like Michelle, I too obsessed over beauty magazines as a teen and wished to be more like the models. Its been a long hard road to get to a place within myself where I love who I am and feel beautiful. For the last several months I feel good about how I look! I'm proud of the woman I have become and most importantly I value how I feel vs only focusing on the outside. I enjoyed doing my shoot and it has given me the confidence that all woman should have! Beauty truly comes from within. #loveyourself
Have you struggled with self love throughout your life? Tell us about when it started and what has contributed to the way you've felt about yourself
Yes! I always thought I was ugly and fat. Always was doing diets to look better. Me getting out of a abusive relationship and me taking care of me and finding a man that treats me the way I should has helped me and continues to help. Once I started middle school is when self love was something I did not have. Everyone around me was starting the to wear make up and dress more revealing and through out my life I felt I was more big then what I really was.

As you've gotten older have you learned to love yourself? What would you tell your younger self?
I have learned to love myself after my divorce and found a man that treats me the way I should be treated. I am actually still learning self love. It is something I really struggle with since I am my biggest critic.

Were you hesitant to book a boudoir session? What were your feelings before the session? (self doubt, thoughts of cancelling, worried you wouldn't like the pictures)
Yes I was hesitant, and was afraid they weren’t gonna turn out good! I was absolutely scared to do the session. I strongly believed I was not pretty enough and that I am to big to wear revealing clothes. I did not think any of the pictures would come out good and I would want to puke once I saw them.

Tell us about your boudoir experience- has it changed the way you view yourself or helped with self confidence? Were you nervous during the session at all?
The experience was absolutely amazing! It has changed the way I look at myself and it has helped me with my self confidence! It has shown me that all woman are beautiful in their own way! I feel beautiful and self worth! From doing the boudoir shoot I do see that I am beautiful. I am still working on myself to love my self for how big I have gotten after 3 kids and just learning to appreciate myself. it has made me realize I have a lot to work on with my own self. it has also given me more motivation to get up and get ready to do the little things to get me feeling good for the day.

Do you have any words of wisdom to help other women who are struggling to overcome their own insecurities.

If you are on the fence about doing a Boudoir shoot, you will feel amazing afterwards! It shows you that you are worth and beautiful in your own way! The best decision I made!
Ladies if you have not ever done a boudoir I totally recommend doing it. Especially if you are fighting the battle on self love. It totally makes you appreciate yourself. and even if it just is a little like in my case. that little bit actually does a lot.

Have you struggled with self love throughout your life? Tell us about when it started and what has contributed to the way you've felt about yourself.
Short answer, yes. I feel like I've always struggled with self love, from being underweight as a kid - and getting asked if I was anorexic to getting into high school and college and adapting to a suddenly average weight body. I remember the mantra of "I'm in healthy weight range" that I would tell myself every time I looked at myself in the mirror throughout high school and college, not exactly a message of self love.

As you've gotten older have you learned to love yourself? What would you tell your younger self?

Learning to love myself is definitely a work in progress. I have a lot of days where I love my body and I feel good in my own skin, but I still have days where I struggle to find anything physical about myself that I like. On those days I remind myself of what my body does for me, I've worked hard to gain muscle, I have body that lets me stand and cook for hours, and that helps. Its still a work in progress, but it helps

Were you hesitant to book a boudoir session? What were your feelings before the session? (self doubt, thoughts of cancelling, worried you wouldn't like the pictures)

In a lot of ways I was nervous to book my session, like I mentioned; I don't always have the best relationship with how I look. The thing that pushed me to book is that I want to like my body more, I want to see what other people see when they tell me I'm pretty, I want to have the same confidence a classmate of mine from college had when she did her own boudoir shoot.

Tell us about your boudoir experience- has it changed the way you view yourself or helped with self confidence? Were you nervous during the session at all?
My boudoir experience was a lot of fun, I was definitely nervous but having Kate and Michelle around to walk me through everything and to do my makeup was awesome. I think I will always be a little bit of awkward, but the photos Michelle took of me remind me that I am pretty, which for me, was the whole purpose.

Do you have any words of wisdom to help other women who are struggling to overcome their own insecurities.
Overcoming insecurities is a work in progress, some days are going to be great and you feel on top of the world and somedays you'll struggle to find something you like. Just keep working at it.

Have you struggled with self love throughout your life? Tell us about when it started and what has contributed to the way you've felt about yourself.

I have struggled with self love, confidence & body issues most of my life. I had been teased & bullied since kindergarten. I got food poisoning when I was 13 & every time I ate I had convinced myself it made me feel sick & became bulimic, and then anorexic because I was afraid to eat because I didn’t want to be sick.
I didn’t do it all the time to where it had started to affect me like it does a lot of women. I was skinny but I was also athletic & could tell it was slowly affecting my sports because I was losing muscle. A couple months later I told my cousin and she of course told my mom. My parents started watching me like a hawk.
A couple yrs later I become close friends with this gal I had a class with. She had issues also & noticed signs. She had a slumber party I finally confided in her when she asked me and pinky swore she’d never tell. In HS pinky swear meant something. But later playing Truth or Dare-I picked truth & she asked me if it was true I was anorexic & bulimic? That was end of that friendship. None of my other friends talk to me the rest of the day & think her & I talked only one more time. I always hid it from others after that.
I’d look in the mirror after throwing up & I was proud but yet ashamed at the same time. I started throwing up little bit of blood. It was wake up call that I had to stop. I slowly realized I was skinny enough and always had been. I wasn’t proud to be that person. It wasn't a road I wanted to continue down but I still struggled with anorexia over the years but luckily I always found the strength to convince myself it wasn’t worth it.
When I was 14-15 years old I weighed 105-115 lbs until bout 6 years ago. I’m 41 now. If I was busy in the day & skipped a meal I’d lose a few lbs go from a size 3-5 to size 0 in a weekend.
About 6 yrs ago is when I experienced the other side of body issues. I took Zoloft because I was extremely on edge & had a lot of anxiety & even though I told my doctor I didn’t feel comfortable taking it she insisted it’d be the best thing for me and I gained 80 pounds in two months. Before I could skip a meal and lose weight, but now I actually work to lose weight and it’s incredibly hard. I have gone back-and-forth with losing at least half of the weight and gaining some back.
The worst part was friends, coworkers, drivers that came into my job, the janitors at work-basically anyone who saw me on a daily basis & had known me for several years asked me if I was pregnant. How far along was I? It’s bad enough that I knew I’d gained weight & was not even two months. But even when I was skinny I had people tell me I wasn’t skinny enough. So to be told I was fat & was I pregnant. Killed me inside even more. I’ve had people tell me you should’ve stopped taking it sooner, you had to of seen the warning signs. Maybe you should’ve been working out and eating right, or your body just went through changes because you were older. Almost always putting the blame on me-wasn’t really much for warning signs. I was always eating good & working out. I loved working out. The first month I gained 3-5 pounds- I didn’t feel concerned because it was normal to go up/down a few pounds. I didn’t even finish my 2nd month worth. I thought when stopped the weight would all fall off-Quick. Only a little did slowly over a couple of months. Working to lose it has been hard. It's been an up/downhill battle and I get very discouraged. That negative voice in your head is hard to ignore when it’s been there most of your life tearing you down. I’ve spent many days and nights since then looking in the mirror hating myself and crying because I wasn’t skinny anymore and people thought I was lazy and worthless. That I’m happy being this way or I’d do something about it. Judging me & making assumptions.
I was no longer that pretty girl w w great body & lucky to be skinny w curves. I was that fat girl now. Guys used to want to date me because I was skinny and therefore I was automatically considered pretty. Gaining weight made me not girlfriend material anymore-guys didn’t want to date me, but would ask if I was down for one night stand. I thought, I’m never going to find somebody unless I’m skinny again.I am only worth something if I am a size 0 to max maybe a size 5. I thought no one ever saw any of my qualities before it was all about looks so I really believed I had no worthy qualities. I had nothing to offer anybody. I’ve had more than my fair share of unhealthy friendships and relationships. I thought I didn’t deserve better so I settled.
When I was 14 I had my 1st unhealthy relationship. He was also 14. We dated 6 months and slowly was verbally and emotionally abusive. He’d do it in joking way and I became used to it and he was no longer joking -never had been. He also cheated. The last month was the worst & I finally broke up w him. A guy I dated for short time when 16, we reconnected when we were 19. That also lasted about 6 months. He was the 1st guy I was intimate with (at 19) and right before I broke up with him I found out he cheated on me before we ever slept together. I found out he cheated on me multiple times & had another gf (put pieces together on that one) I was going to break up w him because he’d become controlling, possessive, verbally & emotionally abusive and being liar and cheater made it easier.
Since I was skinny with curves I got my bellybutton pierced and wore mini skirts and tops that would show my belly ring. He’d tell me how to dress and was MAD when I got my belly button pierced because I did not ask his permission. When I broke up with him few weeks later he told me that he was going to break up with me anyways for his other girlfriend. These words still stay in back of my mind which is so bad and for SO many yrs I think how is the worst person I’ve ever known RIGHT?!
He said : I wasn’t pretty enough, young enough, tall enough or skinny enough.I was to independent. He needed someone he could control. We lived an hour away so used distance as an excuse to cheat. No man would ever love me because there was nothing about me worth loving. I had no good qualities and nothing to offer. No man would ever care about me and only be w me to use me. Since he cheated if I tell any guy they will lie and cheat too thinking I’m okay with it. I’m going nowhere in life. I have no hopes, no dreams.
I am worthless.
So even though I ended it. It was my most damaging relationship I ever had. It was close to 5 years before I dated again. After that I sadly still had a good handful of unhealthy verbally, emotionally abusive relationships or guys I dated but wasn’t a bf.
I had 8 unhealthy ones total from 14 to early 30’s. I always got out right away but damage was always done. This was when skinny-I can’t imagine if I’d been with one of those guys when gained the weight. I always meet a guy who starts off nice & then his true colors show.
FINALLY I’ve had 2 healthy relationships.
The first one ended up being my first love about 9 yrs ago just didn’t work out. Still friends & learned a lot about myself and how relationships should be. I realized I deserved better than my past. Finally after yrs of dating I knew MY Worth. I refused to settle or lower my standards. I met another great guy almost 2 yrs ago who sees my worth. I took what I learned from my 1st healthy relationship & used that. Being with 2 men who I could see myself through their eyes helped me so much. They didn’t just say they knew my worth but actions proved it and helped me find confidence I was never able to see or afraid to see.
I’m able to do that with my friends now too. I’ve had a lot of friends who were friends with me for the wrong reasons and even though sometimes I still feel like I’m on the outside looking in with a lot of them (due to my insecurities) I am able to see myself through their eyes to see what they see and that’s helped me find confidence too. I am grateful for everyone in my life right now because after years of being mistreated I have positive uplifting people who truly care about me & SEE ME FOR ME!
As you’ve gotten older have you learned to love yourself? What would you tell your younger self?
I’d 1st tell my younger self to never take Zoloft because I know whats going to happen! Haha. But most of all I’d tell my younger self that I never should’ve settled whether it came to friends or relationships. I do deserve more & never let anyone tell me different. Never settle. Never lower your standards. Like the saying
“Keep Your Heels, Head & Standards High”
When someone is being verbally & emotionally abusive find the strength right then & there in that moment to make sure that person is out of my life. I know each one was a learning experience and I am who I am now because of each person. Not all experiences are easy. But we have to go through it even if it hurts like hell so we can grow & realize our worth.
Were you hesitant to book a boudoir session? What were your feelings before the session? (self doubt, thoughts of cancelling, worried you wouldn’t like the pictures)
I was a little hesitant thinking I’m not skinny enough, pretty enough or young enough. A few weeks after booking my session I started having a lot of doubt & confidence issues-been in funk off/on the last couple months. Thinking WHAT IF this & that w the session & photos.
Tell us about your boudoir experience- has it changed the way you view yourself or helped with self confidence? Were you nervous during the session at all?
I was nervous as day got closer then super stoked then mix of both night before and day of. Michelle was so sweet & welcoming. She got me (Peach) Moscato since I said was my fave and it was perfect.
Getting my hair and make up done was so much fun. I was in shock when I saw myself & said WOW!! I love it! Is this really me under here? I felt beautiful & flawless.
I was little nervous & self conscious during the shoot for few min.
Wearing lingerie is something I never did until bout 1 1/2 yrs ago and having areas I am working on I know some lingerie looks sexy but doesn’t fit how I want-yet. But I tried to ignore the voice in my head and listen to Michelle telling me how great I looked and the support she was giving me. I felt how she has you pose helps to make you feel more confident. I do feel more confident since leaving because you see a different side of yourself.
I loved that my guy was waiting for me when I got home from my shoot (he didn’t know why I was glammed up-it’s going to be a surprise) so got to show off my hair & make up & felt so sexy around him that night.
Picking photos was SO hard. Michelle does amazing work. I wasn’t self conscious & felt very confident looking at my pics.
Do you have any words of wisdom to help other women who are struggling to overcome their own insecurities.
It is true that you have to love yourself before you can love anybody else. Here’s one of my fav movie quote from What A Girl Wants
“Why are trying so hard to fit in when you were born to stand out?”
So Ladies ALWAYS be Yourself!!
Have people in your life who see your worth whether it is friends or relationships.
If someone can’t see your qualities & what you have to offer & can’t see your worth you don’t need them in your life.
It’s true you should never judge a book by its cover because you don’t know their story.
As you get older you realize what true friendship means.
If someone cares about you they’ll build you up-NOT tear you down

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