This past weekend, I watched my Instagram feed burst into a flurry of excitement over #theREALcatwalk in NYC. A group of nearly thirty women, of all shapes, sizes, ages, colors, cultures, backgrounds, walks of life – gathered in Times Square for a flash-mob style surprise catwalk. I was floored. It was such a beautiful display of diversity and inclusiveness, body positivity and the power of women. #theREALcatwalk is real life and real women.
No, we weren’t there, but this story was too great to not share! I’m Ellie, Tamara’s assistant, and I’m super excited to start sharing stories like this with our readers, in addition to our typical boudoir photoshoot blog posts. Thank you for reading! Let me know what you think in the comments!
The Real Catwalk: NYC | Body Positivity on Display
I’ve followed model and body positivity activist Khrystyana on Instagram for some time. She is a gorgeous, inspiring woman, and her message of inclusivity and acceptance is near and dear to me. I was so excited to see my feed taken over by #theREALcatwalk, her most recent body positivity display.
The timing is perfect, with this year’s Victoria’s Secret fashion show still fresh in the news. Each year I watch the show, excited to see the latest trends in lingerie (it’s no secret I’m a little obsessed!). But each year, I see the same types of bodies, all adhering to one specific standard of beauty. Khrystyana made it clear that #theREALcatwalk was in no way a statement against the lingerie giant’s show, but a call for different bodies – all bodies – to be represented. And that’s precisely what #theREALcatwalk achieved: a beautiful, inclusive representation of the modern woman:
“These women will catwalk for ALL women to reinforce ONE beauty standard: BEING YOU. Because being YOU is the definition of beauty. We have girls flying in from other cities, representing different ethnicities and cultures. Some girls are curvy and some are petite, some are fit and some have never worked out. Women of different cultures, skin tones. There will be transgender women, women of different ages and sexual orientation, full made up face and some with no make up, waxed or unwaxed legs, vegans and carnivores.”
It was so uplifting to see these women, each stunning in their own unique way, send such a powerful message. We have been told far too long that beauty and sexy come in one mould: thin, but not too thin. Curvy, but not too curvy. White, but not too pale; tan, but not too dark… The list goes on and on! These women are raising their voices and donning their lacy best to prove those archaic conventions dead wrong.
Body Positivity and Boudoir
Body positivity is at the heart of Paskey Boudoir. I have struggled with accepting and loving my body for as long as I can remember. My anxiety and depression still get the better of me, and doubting thoughts still plague my mind. I have hard days where I find myself at war with my body. I felt alone in this struggle for so long, and spent too many years at war with myself, trying to fit this square peg into a round hole.
All too quickly, I learned I was not alone in this fight. Through boudoir, I was exposed to so many women who, regardless of their size or shape, had the same insecurities I did. What started out as a fun job has evolved into my calling. Tamara’s own story, and the art she creates with her camera, have so much power. Through boudoir, women are able to see themselves in a whole new light, celebrate their femininity, and take charge of their sensuality.
From early childhood, we are told in no uncertain terms which bodies are desirable. Disney princesses with flowing hair and wasp-thin waists; Barbie dolls with un-touching thighs, physically unable to support their chests. These are the standards Tamara is breaking through her photography, and why I’m so passionate about the work she does.
This is why Khrystyana’s message behind #theREALcatwalk resonates with me so deeply. In fact, it’s the message I want to impart to all women:
“No, you don’t have to wait till another event of your life to catwalk; you don’t have to wait till you wear your fiercest makeup or highest of heels to RealCatwalk. Babe, you are stunning in your skin and bones. You are made of love and even if it takes long time to believe it. It’s only human to doubt yourself. Take just one cat step with the purest of confidences today.. just one step.. knowingly that this step matters. You matter, you have a voice, you are an unfolding flower of love, blossoming to her highest potential”
Replace “RealCatwalk” with “shoot boudoir” and you have the Paskey Boudoir mission statement! Tamara shoots to capture the beauty women have, just they way they are, right now. Not “when I lose a few pounds”, but RIGHT NOW. It’s our goal to make every woman who enters the studio feel like the best, most beautiful version of themselves. That’s why this message is so important.
Photos by Abbey Drucker