I received a phone call from Sarah of Kicheko Goods inquiring about throwing a portrait happy hour at her studio. I asked for one week to send over my marketing assets to build this happy hour. What she didn't know at the time is that I needed a week to figure out what I was going to call this event and how to develop it into a concept. At the time, I had no idea this would become "a thing". I didn't realize how much the last event it impacted the women attending and I was thrilled and terrified that women kept requesting to attend. So with some pressure, this is what we created. The first, official BEHOLD.HER event in collaboration with Kicheko Goods. The campaign was called "I CHOOSE TO..." and these are what these women chose as their mantra for the evening.
"I choose to SPEAK OUT." Kristin was the first chica to step up to the plate. There is a glow about her and it was prevalent not just because of her cute growing baby, but her positive spirit to move forward with the challenges she faces as an artist, woman, and soon to be, new mother. It takes courage to stand up and speak out to the things you believe in and the things that we can admit to ourselves and others that support is needed.
"I choose to PUT ONE FOOT IN FRONT OF THE OTHER." World, meet Sy. This lady has had the chops to practice different careers, from practicing law, to designing jewelry to founding her business @kokosnest. Moving and starting somewhere new isn't easy and when Sy moved from NYC to DC, she experienced the challenges of just that - finding her footing in a new place, establishing her career, and not to mention embracing life as a mama raising her littles. It can be tough but like Sy chooses, just put one foot in front of the other. Put that positive energy out there. Believe in and seek out good people and things will happen. Love this Sy - keep on keeping on lady! And guys, please check out @kokosnest - her all purpose baby blankets make us want to snuggle in for a nap like a bear in winter.
"You may shoot me with your words, you may cut me with your eyes, you may kill me with your hatefulness, but still, like air, I'll rise." By Maya Angelou. I have never read this poem till @raisaaziz mentioned it to me before she sat in front of my camera. Though our exchanges were small through the evening her words were loud and strong when we spoke about why she chose "to rise". This was a representation of her state of mind. As we exchanged stories it made me realize how much we can relate to one another's past experiences. It takes a moment to listen. We are her to support one another.
"I choose to be GRACIOUS"
What does it truly mean to have gratitude? Do we find ourselves complaining too much about the little things throughout our day or have little patience for others? I was honored to have Brooke, @big.buffalo, in front of my camera, who explained at the table that as life continues to roll, she faces new challenges as a maturing woman. In a world where we are constantly tested as individuals, it takes time and practice to learn how to be thankful for what surrounds us. Try implementing moments of grace and appreciation with yourself, even if it’s paired with a cup of morning coffee. Fill your thoughts with positivity and realization that you’ve got this... and even when you don’t, you’re surrounded by those who has your back.
"I choose to LISTEN."
For many of us, listening is a challenge, especially when you feel that what is being said isn’t doesn’t move your life around. But it is that characteristic that is so valued in an individual that we should keep those even closer to us. As a woman it’s important to support your fellow lady and listen to her when she needs to be heard. Even though the story may not impact you, your attention is priceless to that person speaking to you. This lovely lady glowed in confidence and determination to be a better version of herself and it was a pleasure to in turn, listen to what she had to say as she strives to be a stronger listener for others.
"I choose to MAKE A DIFFERENCE."
In a world that’s constantly changing for both men and women, it takes a lot of compassion and energy to keep things moving forward. The election has been hard on most of here in DC and throughout all the transitions, one of the women who planned to stay strong and be a leader in her community is @mdotross. She expressed how she didn’t want to fear the unknown and ignore those who say you can’t accomplish something. Staying focused is ideal in a world where things continue to get muddy and unclear. But be the change that you want to be, make the difference that is needed for those who may need your leadership.
"I choose to be CONFIDENT."
As a female, the struggles to stay confident in one’s self security, work, self esteem, and philosophies are constantly challenged in a world where it seems like there is always something to be criticized about. @lizcalka is determined to approach every aspect of her life with confidence. As a designer for @natgeo and a freelance photographer, she’s constantly being challenged. It is with those challenges that need to not hinder us, but to provide a foundation of confidence as we acknowledge successes from those bumps in the road.
"I choose to BE ADVENTUROUS."
Heck yeah Prerana (pronounced Prayer-Na)! I’ll say this was the first image out of many we took together, but as much as she attests to seeing it, there’s something so real about this emotion I couldn’t deny sharing it with everyone else. How else to show adventure but to throw crazy hand signals to the world. As a former ITT lady and doer of all sorts, she’s taken a huge leap to take on fashion on a more serious level. There are many fashion bloggers around the world, but not many who are authentic and put their soul to breathe life into why we should feel confident as a boss lady. It’s her own confidence, determination, and strong-headedness that will push her to the top of her game and we all love her for it. Check out her badassness at @_broadcloth. Oh, and for the record, Liz Lemon is her spirit animal.
"I choose to EMBRACE THE STRUGGLE."
How do we pick ourselves up and dust ourselves off when we stumble? How do we find our way and know which path to take? Life doesn't give easy answers but it does offer opportunities along the way, bread and wine for the road, and people around us to lean into and walk alongside with. We might not know exactly where all of it will lead, but we know it's worth embracing and living to the max. Over the past year, it's been a joy working with @theresaearline on Kicheko's markets and events and traveling to Congo with her. She is incredibly thoughtful, caring and her energy and vast interests burst forth into an array of activities and dreams she is working on and towards. In a season where life doesn't offer easy answers, she is choosing to embrace the struggle and the challenge of these questions. I'm so glad to have met her and have her on team Kicheko as we grow slowly and steadily.
"The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of those depths." - Elisabeth Kubler-Ross