“When women support each other, incredible things happen”
Sarah – the incredible photographer behind Red Shoe Makeovers – uses this quote when she shares the stunning photographs she takes of her Red Shoe Girls, and it has fast become one of my favourite quotes. A couple of weeks ago I headed up to Chester with a bag full of clothes and a belly full of nerves, to meet Sarah and make up artist Mandy and have my makeover photo shoot. This is what happens when women support each other…
The traffic was awful, I was 35 minutes later than planned, I’d not eaten a morsel of food or taken a sip of drink, I was flustered and feeling utterly unattractive when I walked into the Red Shoe studio and met Sarah and Mandy. Honestly? I had nearly cancelled so many times; a woman battling depression and anxiety while weighing more than she ever has, with spots popping up all over her face, annoying post pregnancy hair creating a stupid fringe-like growth from my hairline – not exactly the ingredients for a glamorous photo shoot.
But then these two vibrant women welcomed me through the door, sat me down, told me not to worry about being a bit late, and asked if I’d eaten that morning. I was honest in that I hadn’t, and Sarah immediately left the building, returning with food and coffee which I devoured while Mandy got to work curling my hair.
That’s just how they are, right from the moment you meet them. Genuine, caring, friendly, embracing. I melted into their kindness and knew I was in good hands.
The Red Shoe team – Photo from http://www.redshoemakeovers.com/
The Red Shoe Makeover
Mandy curled my hair, then pinned it back to do my make up. She knows what she’s doing, and doesn’t need to ask what your style is because really this isn’t about your usual style, it’s about unlocking a confidence you don’t know you have and holding a mirror up to you which shows the version of yourself that the world can already see, even if you can’t.
The make up is very dramatic, but it has to be in order to photograph well, so I wasn’t shocked by the heavy eye colour or strong shade on my lips. Mandy finished up and tussled my curls, while Sarah looked over my outfits.
I think that choosing the outfits was the part I was most nervous about (alongside how the heck to pose!). I’m not a fashionista, I can’t even tell you what’s in fashion, and I have zero confidence in dressing myself for beauty as opposed to convenience.
- A black denim skirt
- A black gored skirt
- Skinny jeans
- 3 tops
- A lacy cami in case I was feeling brave
I didn’t actually need the skirts, because the whole shoot was focused on the top half of my body, so Sarah picked out which tops would suit different styles of photography, and we got to work.
But how the hell do I pose?
Top question for anyone who does one of these without any modelling experience behind them! Sarah is amazing, and talked me through the poses every step of the way. She’s a total pro, and because she can envisage the final shot, she can quite literally place your arms, body, face, hair, exactly as they need to be.
The final photos
Before I show you the 6 photos that Phil and I chose as our favourites, I want to let you in on the real meaning of a Red Shoe Makeover.
Empowerment and love
It was almost overwhelming, to feel so close to two women I’d never previously met. To open up about everything that has held me back from seeing my own beauty for my nearly 32 years on this planet. To believe them when they told me I was beautiful, to believe that the world sees me as a powerful, amazing woman even when all I see are skin problems and tired eyes.
Sarah and Mandy have changed how I look at the woman who stares back at me in the mirror, and that is the true meaning of a Red Shoe Makeover.
So without further ado, I’m really proud to show you the video that the ladies made of my day, and our 6 final shots!
** I was invited for a Red Shoe Makeover and offered 5 images free of charge in exchange for my honest story about the experience (we paid for the sixth photo!) **