I'm working on 4 hours of sleep, still wearing leggings from the day before, and I haven't washed my hair in a couple of days. My toddler smeared some mysterious fluid on my arm and I may have a fleck of baby poop under my nail.
She’s not “that” mom. She’s most moms. She’s a woman lost in a fog of sleepless nights and overfilled days. We’ve all seen her and many of our Rebels have been her.
One thing we have to remember about these moms, they are still women. Women who like to feel empowered and beautiful but are often missing those pieces when lost in the whirlwind of duty.
How can we help these amazing women reclaim their spark? Especially when many are feeling more spooky than sexy?
We decided to reach out to a woman who knows a lot about overcoming body image issues and juggling the duties of motherhood. (That was her in the original quote debating the potential for poop under her nail.)
After having children - it is often difficult for women to accept the changes in their bodies. These hang ups can affect many areas of their lives AND it can affect their children's body image.
I believe that working on and accepting yourself is a never ending process.
Here is a little history on me. I've always been a chubby kid growing up. In high school I was considered obese (300lb) and had a negative body image. Right after I graduated I had gastric bypass surgery and lost 120lbs.
I thought all of my negative thougths would be fixed, but I didn't realize that it was mostly mental and postive body image comes from within.
In college, after losing the weight , I tried to fill the empty void with drinking, drugs, and men. All for the need to be accepted by others. To feel comfortable in my new body.
I realized I was on a fast track to hitting rock bottom and something needed to change.
I managed to get a good job and meet Charlie who accepted me for the every single bit of hot mess that I was.
Surprising, I didn't gain much weight while I was pregnant. I had the advantage of having pre stretched out skin, wide hips, and droopy boobs.
I hated being pregnant because I felt like my body wasn't my own. Someone else was in charge of how I physically felt.
Once I had Lillian, my body still wasn't my own. I was just a vessel for her needs.
As a few months passed and I quit breast feeding, I realized that I could rebuild myself again.
But I didn't know what to draw my inspiration from. Unfortunately, my mother has a poor body image. I was never raised in the belief of being comfortable in my own skin because I grew up with constant fad diets and poor body ideals.
I knew that was something that I had to change for Lilly. I didn't want her to go down the same path as my mother or myself.
So Lilly inspired you to inspire her?
She absolutely did. I wanted her to feel how beautiful I saw her. How perfect she is through my eyes. I wanted to set her up with this confidence before society, bullies, and the media tells her different.
So, to get back to the original question. I like the idea of bringing photographed at all stages of life. Even though I was considered obese in high school, I competed in pageants and was always in front of a camera. While in college I started my fascination of pinup and photography. I wanted to look sexy like the pin ups. The problem was, I wanted to look that way for others.
Did being in the public eye for events make you self conscious or was it like a safe zone for you?
Being in the public eye made it easier for me to get acceptance from others. When I got praised, I liked the feeling. I thought I fit it.
But I then realized that it was all bullshit.
You were aiming for the result over the experience?
Yes. I didn't care what it took or what I had to do. I wanted the end result to feel like I was flawless
That no one saw that I had issues.
How did you "untrain" that method when you started participating in events again?
Let's see, after hitting my rock bottom, I didn't have anything to build from. I kinda started with a clean slate. It was a VERY slow process of acceptance from that time till when Lilly was born.
I realized that everyone has their own skeletons. Why was I trying so hard to be flawless?
And maybe having a breakdown is exactly what I needed. It gave me a chance not to cover up things with distractions and it allowed me to actually FEEL.
I think that's what attracted me to pinup so much. They looked flawless but some of the models had some serious pasts. Like many others, I started out with Marilyn Monroe and learned her past. Then I moved on to Bettie Paige. Woohooo!
I figured that if women like them could do it, then why couldn't I? I wanted to set a modern day example.
So would you say Bettie Page was the biggest influence for you since you seem to relate to her the most?
I guess she was the first, then it was a serious love for Dita Von Teese.
There are a lot more options for role models today!
How difficult do you think a first shoot would be for someone unfamiliar with the spotlight?
It seemed to be a good therapy thing for me. You are so much on the spotlight. People are just staring at you and your own perceived "flaws". When you realize that they don't bat an eye at your floppy arm skin, but comment you on your tattoos instead... It means a lot.
And finding the right photographer is very important. I started with Stacey Barich from Atomic Cheesecake Studios.Stacey was straight forward. She asked me if there was anything I wasn't comfortable showing. At that time it was my thighs. Then she positioned me in a way that flatted that area.
She was straight forward and preached body positivity from the beginning. She has to be one of the main influences on me.
It looks like you are having fun during your shoots - Is that because of the photographer or do you have any tips?
You know, starting out, it has a lot to do with an experienced photographer. They are in charge of helping you feel comfortable expressing yourself.
Would you recommend taking a friend for a first shoot in case something like that were to occur? Or do you think flying solo is the best approach?
Oh boy. I could see pros and cons with both. While you are with a friend, they could keep you from being shy. But they could also hinder you from completely opening up.
I went solo first because my first shoot was for me.
I had the first pictures taken to show myself that I could see myself as something beautiful.
Do you see a difference in your daily confidence since you began doing shoots?
Lordy yes! At the beginning, I hated my thighs. Now I've come to terms with them. In the pictures that I had done, I realized that they really weren't so bad. And there were other things that I liked more of myself then focusing on what I didn't.
Day to day life....It's always an up or down day. That's life. But getting pictures done, that holds time still.
So you have them to reflect on during rough patches?
I was just going to say that! Every once in awhile, when I'm feeling down, I'll pull up a picture and be like Daaaaamn!
I pulled up a picture to Charlie and asked him "Where is this woman?!?! And I realized that it's still me. Just underneath of a couple layers that need to be shed tomorrow. Because today was a down day and tomorrow I have the ability to start fresh. Make it a good day.
Kendall feels that a personal photo shoot can be a huge confidence boost for moms (or any woman).
It's a blast! I always suggest taking a before and after picture. Even if it's a quick selfie. The transformation is impressive! So often as moms we put ourselves last. Having a couple of hours to be pampered is glorious.
Having worn many styles for her shoots over the years, Kendall has picked out a few suggestions that would be a great accompaniment to a photo shoot gift.
Shop corsets from RebelsMarket
Shop lingerie from RebelsMarket
All photos of Kendall are from her private collection and were shot by Atomic Cheesecake Studios