Last week I asked several good friends to model for a photo shoot. The clothes needed fresh styling that reflects their timelessness and versatility. The women needed to be real – laughing faces, realistic body types, and true self love. Asking for their time, their bodies, and their service felt uncomfortable and intrusive. I asked anyway, but in my mind I thought, they’ll probably be busy - they’ll probably say no. But guess what?? They all said YES.
And not only did they show up, they came with enthusiasm, curiosity, and a willingness to step outside their comfort zones.
What do you need?
What do you want me to wear?
I’m here for YOU, Molly.
I’m so excited!
As a result of their selflessness and authenticity, the day flowed. I relinquished control to the artistic vision of the photographer – who arrived wearing the same Steve Madden shoes and Z-supply t-shirt as me, so I immediately knew I could trust her. The backroom of the local bar that one of the models let us use as our staging area quickly became filled with clothes, shoes, and accessories. Earrings and bags covered the pool table. Heels and sneakers lined the scuffed, wooden floors. Customers arrived for drinks and lunch and asked about the fashion show.
Empty alleys behind the building became our runway. Doorways and overhangs provided a perfect frame, and crumbling brick walls added a soft edge. The sun shined down on us, but not too brightly that it overexposed the photos. Regular women, my friends, posed beautifully despite never having modeled – authentic smiles, laughter, and confidence in their bodies. The vibe was real, and fun.
I’m not sure exactly how we created such a welcoming atmosphere – except that my intention for the day was simple and from the heart – I want the girls to have fun. I want them to be themselves. I want them to be happy. I want them to feel good!
This intention is not different from the entire mission of Soul Ma – the clothing line, the community, the sharing of stories. Women and mothers deserve to feel good. We also owe it to the world to shine our brightest, most authentic light, because not only is it our gift, it’s also our purpose.
The beautiful photography reflects the talent and energy from the day – the end result, a successful shoot.
But beyond the impressive images, I am grateful to all the women for reminding me to always keep an open heart - because even if you think you’ve lost something, you haven’t. Even if you feel like you’re failing, or falling, or grasping, an open heart will save you – it is our natural and most powerful state.
Acting with an open heart is who we are, and closing it means we have lost faith in ourselves and in others.
If I tried to recreate the day, I’m not sure I could. Because sometimes, life just opens up in all the right places - the timing, the people, the details. The work gets done for you, like magic. I think we’ve all experienced this.
Then again, maybe I can recreate it, during every second of every day. Maybe, if we let go, trust others, ask for help, and set a really meaningful higher intention, maybe life is always supposed to work this way – seamlessly, joyfully, and with the perfect outcome flowing right into your hands.
Maybe, this is the entire point.
THANK YOU to all the beautiful women who participated in this day. Thank you to Megan Swederski Photography for seeing and capturing us at our best.