One weekday morning at the start of the summer, I trekked out to Lakewood, a suburb of Cleveland, & arrived at the Old Screw Factory to meet my college friend Tara for my modeling debut. Yeah, you heard me: modeling debut.
OK, OK, it wasn't quite as fancy as it sounds, but it was still pretty darn fun.
This year Tara, ever the entrepreneur, launched the Bloom Beautifully Box, a bimonthly subscription box designed to help women focus on self-care. At $40 (though there's usually a discount available), it's full of goodies to get you to chill out & treat yo'self. She's only a few boxes in so far, but past products have included loose-leaf tea & a tea ball, fizzy bath products, & Start Where You Are: A Journal for Self-Exploration, among others.
When she first launched the box & its accompanying website, Tara was using stock imagery, but as the business grew, she wanted to personalize it. Enter... me! She reached out to me & her friend Siobhan of The BeFree Project, asking if we'd be interested in doing a photoshoot for the Bloom Beautifully Box. Of course I said yes.
I arrived with my makeup done as well as my skills would allow & my hair looking damn fly, if I may say so myself. Tara had asked me to wear a light-colored top & jeans, but I didn't own any jeans (!), & nearly all my clothes are black, which presented a problem. I put on black ponte pants & a flowy white & grey top from Francesca's (even though I'm still mad at them), & I brought a couple alternatives along in case I hadn't hit the mark.
By the time I arrived, local photographer Kamron Khan was already on-site at Bella Ellie, a gorgeous, chic little boutique that sells restyled vintage jewelry, curated vintage clothing, & home goods. Once she'd set up the room just so, we got down to business - the fun part!
Kamron & Tara directed Siobhan & me as we opened & reopened Bloom Beautifully boxes, trying out a variety of facial expressions: "Look surprised!" "Look content!" "Look like your friend just gave you a gift!" I practiced looking much softer & kinder & more feminine than I think I usually do in real life. At one point, Siobhan & I got to talking & forgot we were even being photographed, which really broke the awkwardness as we tried to play BFFs for the camera.
And then, as soon as it started, it was over, & I was back at work, like any other day.
I confess that I am a little embarrassed by the final images themselves. Kamron is an incredible photographer, don't get me wrong. She did a great job! It's just so weird to see myself looking so... unlike myself, you know? It's hard not to be too hard on myself: I should've colored my hair, I could've had someone else do my makeup, I have double chins, I wish I'd worn something else... But I know I'm just being picky. In actuality, it's pretty cool that I got to do this, that my face is on this website selling a thing.
It was so much fun to push my boundaries & do something different & fun, especially to help a friend's company. Do I have a career in modeling? Yeah, OK, no. I know that. But I'm proud & excited to be one of the non-stock photography faces of a great, woman-run, Ohio-based small business.
Want to see the rest of the pics? Visit www.theselfcarebox.com, where you can see Siobhan & me get our model on and sign up for 15% off your first purchase. My fourth box arrived today; check out my Instagram for a look at what I think is Tara's best box yet.
All photos copyright Kamron Kahn Photography & the Bloom Beautifully Box. Do not use without express permission.