Half way through twenty-one
A few months before my twenty-first birthday I decided how I wanted to celebrate and started planning what I would wear. I worked with my lovely friend Sheridan of Skylark the label to create a dress that was inherently me. Even though my twenty-first birthday didn't turn out how I imagined, I'm glad I gifted myself this beautiful custom dress to mark the occasion. The process was long, yet still fun and eye opening into the craftsmanship, time and expense that goes into making designer clothing.
I have many talent friends it seems, and had the opportunity to capture a moment in time where I was youthful with Sian of Expose Photography. We decided to shoot at a pretty little park where I had spent a lot of my childhood to add further meaning to the portraits, and we had a great time. Even though I am usually quite comfortable in front of the camera being a budding TV presenter, "modeling", was a whole different game. It took a little while for me to get the hang of posing, and looking back I can see it would take a lot of practice for me to even fathom being a professional.
One interesting and important attribute of the dress is it was produced under "slow fashion" values. We chose quality over quantity and Sheridan used the little off cuts she produced to embellish the dress. Therefore it is truly unique and true to who I am being environmentally friendly and hopefully timeless.
It was really important to me to take some nice photographs as a young single woman. I want to be able to look back when I'm old and wrinkly and appreciate what I looked like, Appearance is of course not everything, but in these days of Instagram models and photoshop, we're constantly thinking about our imperfections. Yes, I dolled myself up for this shoot, but I don't have perfectly coiffed hair or statement makeup. I'm not always gorgeous by society's standards, but I'm happy with how I look. If this is my peak I'm ok with not being a size 6 or #goals, and I don't feel any shame.
A lot happened in my personal and professional life at the age of 20, and changes and challenges are still testing me every day. At this half-way point, I'm facing the final stretch of my undergraduate degree, a study tour to China and my future employment prospects. Some days I still feel like a little girl, and others an empowered woman. I go through stretches of motivation, and spirals of hopelessness. There is no shame in admitting your troubles, or triumphs. You just have to have balance and perspective.
I hope you enjoyed these photos as much as I have. I urge you to do something you have always been wanting to do and to appreciate what you have right now. Whether that's how you look, the people in your life, or the opportunities you have. This may be hard to do sometimes, but there's always something there to be thankful for or proud of.