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LOVE & CONFIDENCE

Snakes shed their skin to allow room for growth. A point is reached when these reptiles cannot accommodate further growth, so a new skin grows underneath. When this is complete, the old skin will be discarded. This makes it much more comfortable for them. Due to this fact I was always envious of snakes. The symbolism of out with the old in with the new was quite intriguing. Even as a child people would ask me what animal I would be & I’d always reply with “a snake.”

I grew up in a generation where society values vanity more than respect. Where you’re judged by your peers because of your pant size. Growing up I always had a little extra meat on my bones. All my cousins were tall & “skinny.” At holiday gatherings my own family members would ask me “why aren’t you skinny like your cousins?” Being young I didn’t really care too much about what they had to say. But as soon as I went into high school everything changed. I was being judged because I dressed like a boy, or because I wasn’t wearing the coolest shoes. I had lots of friends that loved me for who I am. But in the back of my head I always thought to myself “you’re not good enough.”

By the time I was a junior in high school I told myself “it’s time to shed.” I started eating right, exercising and lost a bunch of weight. By senior year I felt unstoppable. I got my first boyfriend, raised my GPA, and graduated. It was a pretty good feeling.

A couple months after being out of high school I started to gain weight again. I didn’t realize how much weight I had put on until it was too late. I felt self conscious not wearing a sweater to hide my arms, or wearing shorts in the summer. I was always envious of my friends that could wear a bikini during the summer. Then I started my new job at Little Black Dress Photography. My life changed forever. Working with women everyday has really made me realize what it means to be beautiful. I’ve worked with gorgeous women size 0-4 who have asked me repeatedly, almost in tears, looking at their photos if they’re “fat.” And I was in shock literally. I couldn’t believe that these women were so critical of themselves & their own appearance.

They were blinded by societies definition of being beautiful. It hurt me to see that their confidence was buried below the ground. But I also got the wonderful opportunity to work with curvy, plus size, and thick women. They radiated this energy that was unbelievably real. It was then I realized “confidence is the sexiest thing a woman can wear.” It doesn’t matter what your dress size is be confident in yourself & that is beauty in itself. It was also at that exact moment that I realized I did not shed in high school. I was shedding at Little Black Dress Photography. In with the real refined meaning of beauty and out with the old meaning society wants us to believe is considered beautiful. I have finally discarded my old skin. And now live today as a happy woman who is comfortable in my own skin. I have finally grown to love the skin I’m in.

Love & Confidence,

Ashley Lim

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xoxox,

Mistie Simone

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