If you've never been to a Women with Moxie mixer the premise is this: You walk into a crowded room filled with powerful women hoping to maintain your confidence while introducing yourself over and over again, trying not to fumble your words or your wine. It's definitely not easy.
But it was absolutely worth it.
About halfway through, the event organizer Dill stepped onstage and starting talking about Moxie and how it came to be. Then, all of a sudden without any warning, a fabulous new delightfully-spunky friend Michelle nominated me to go on stage. As if bumbling my way through 1 1/2 hours of introductions wasn't enough, I now had to stand in front of the whole room and talk about who I was and what I do. Of course I was mildly terrified, but deep down I knew it could be a great opportunity. Even though public speaking is America's #1 fear for a reason.
So I got up there and said something like this:
My name is Gia and I own a photography studio for women. I'm a photographer because I believe with every fiber of my being, that photographs have a transformational power.
When I was little, I used to go through old boxes and find pictures of my gram and my mom. They would make me so happy to see how gorgeous they were and I would keep each one as a little treasure.
When I was a teenager, I used to collect images from magazines and tape them up in my room. I would do it to remind me that I looked nothing like these women and I should feel bad because of it. I wasn't thin enough, tall enough, beautiful enough. I would cling to those pictures so I would always remember that I wasn't ok. And to push myself to do everything in my power to look more like them, which often meant not eating.
In the last few years I've realized that most women have gone through something this. It's a type of shaming of ourselves. And as a result, we stop existing in photographs because we believe we aren't beautiful enough to be in them, or we don't want the way we look now to be documented.
My job as a photographer is to see these women, not as they see themselves, but far more objectively. When a client comes in we talk, we get to know each other, and we develop a trust. She trusts me enough to show me her authenticity, and vulnerability. And something really powerful happens in that space.
My goal with every photo shoot is to make the most gorgeous portrait that she's ever seen of herself. Because it's my chance to show her what she's forgotten, that she's perfect exactly the way she is.
When I got down off stage I was shaking. But after that, and for the next 1 1/2 hours I was flooded with warmth. These amazing and powerful women kept coming up to me and thanking me, sharing their stories, and one broke down into tears. It was so incredible to be so open with a room of strangers and be received so completely.
They kept coming up to me and telling me that they'd love to work with us, and they really needed photographs that they could use for their businesses. So after a while of thinking, my amazing studio manager Courtney and I put our heads together and came up with this:
It's a pilot. If it proves to be interesting to our clients it could be something we offer once a month. So we'll see how it goes!
You know what they say, "do one thing everyday that scares you." Well, I think I'm covered for the rest of the month. ; )