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!
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
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.
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
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.