Transformation

Hey all! As many of you know, my work as a photographer has recently taken a

shift! I’m loving all the lifestyle, fashion & portrait work I’ve been doing! Through

this transition, I’ve learned so much about myself as a photographer! Some of the

most inspiring moments to photograph are the real, raw, everyday ones! I feel so

lucky to be able to empower women and help them through their journey simply

by taking their photo!

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I recently upgraded my equipment- (#levelup) so I hit up one of my favorite ladies

and asked if she wanted to shoot! Meet Ciara. She’s a fellow boss babe,

creative, business owner and a wonderful friend. You know how they say to fill

your circle with people who inspire you?...Yep. She’s that kind of girl. We drank

bubble teas, brainstormed about business, chatted about deep shit & laughed for

HOURS! Oh, yeah… and I got hundreds of stunning photos of her in the process.

I left our session feeling so inspired, so I asked if I could share some of my

favorite parts of our convo when I shared her photos!! She agreed- so here it

goes!

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Let’s just be real from the jump, here- you may look at these photos I shot and

think that Ci is the most confident, bad-ass on the block. She looks it. But over

the years, she’s been candid about her past and how she used to be anything

but. As an adolescent, Ciara was bullied. Yep- I was as shocked to hear that as

you were. Without going into detail, I was stunned to learn that she spent years

being treated for depression & anxiety and was pulled out of school for periods of

time due to bullying. She felt alone, and never in a million years thought that she

would inspire others. Boy was she wrong. Needless to say this affected her

profoundly, but is the reason she is the boss bitch she is today.

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What I learned from her story is to never judge a book by its cover. We have all

had a long journey to find confidence and self-love. On the inside of Ciara’s left

wrist is the word, “Karma.” This simple tattoo is a daily reminder of the golden

rule, “Be kind, treat others the way you’d want to be treated and above all else,

always be willing to pay it forward to ensure no one feels as alone as she did.”

Because I know that her story is something so many relate to, I felt compelled to

share with hopes that it will make a difference for someone out there. To any

young girl who is struggling to love herself- know that there is hope! Perhaps the

girl who you look up to most, was once just like you.

I had a few more questions for her that I thought I’d share…

G: Who inspires you most?

C: My Mom. There is no one in the world who is more hardworking or inspiring.

Growing up, I had the privilege of watching my entrepreneurial parents start their

own businesses and take risks. (Mom, Dad.. if you’re reading this… you’re the

best!) They taught me to work my ass off and be kind. Those are truly the two

most important things.

G: Favorite mantra taught to you by the person who inspires you most?

C: She always said “There’s no such thing as luck!” As I grew up I realized what

she meant is simple.. you have the ability to make choices and create your

destiny. “Luck is what happens when preparation means opportunity.”

G: What gave you the courage to start your own marketing /consulting business?

C: My cousin, Kait LeDonne. She took the plunge years ago and started her own

business, LeDonne Brands. She has been an amazing mentor and friend who

has helped me personally and professionally! Everyone needs someone who

sees their potential and for me, Kait was one of those people. Surrounding

yourself with people who push and inspire you is SO important.

G: Not many people know you’re an Esthetician by trade- if you had to pick one

product that’s most important, what would it be?

C: SUNSCREEN #foreveryoung

G: Other skincare secrets?

C: Dermaplaning! And also… I joke about this all the time when someone

compliments my skin but it’s the truth so I’m gonna throw it out there for my

ladies- Go see Dr. Apgar over at PuraVida Medical Spa in Fulton. She’s a

genius.

G: 5 makeup recommendations that you’re loving at the moment?

C: UGH- anyone who has seen my bathroom counter knows this is hard.

Hourglass Veil Setting Powder, Make Up Forever Ultra HD Foundation,

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette, Laura Mercier Radiance Primer and Urban

Decay Rebound Collagen Infused Setting Spray… nude lip always.

G: Your style recipe for success?

C: It’s no secret that I’m crazy for clothes. A lot of people think I break the bank

and that my outfits are all crazy expensive. My secret is to mix trendy or less

expensive pieces with investment or more classic pieces. Today, I’m wearing a

simple black $40 Zara dress and black Steve Madden boots. I paired it with a

statement belt and investment bag! I consign things I don’t wear and save that

money to purchase more expensive items! Wear what makes you feel great,

there are no rules.

G: Things you’d tell the 18 year old Ciara?

C: Face your fears. Drop shitty friends. Invest in yourself. You don’t have to know

what you want to do when you grow up. Follow your passion. Learn to budget.

Trust your gut. Don’t worry about the future. Listen to Mom- she’s always right.