Liz came to the studio after seeing that I’d also photographed a client of hers. Liz is a bright, beautiful light and I had such a wonderful time getting to know her and making her portraits. Not only that, but she inspired me so with her energy and smile that she is the new Cover Girl for the Quarter 4 studio magazine! And now I’ll let her share her experience and story, below:
“Hi, I’m Liz. I’m a Florida native who moved to Wisconsin for the love of my life. I like to smile and laugh a lot; people say it’s contagious. I love to travel, take photos, try new restaurants, shop, and go to the beach. By trade, I am a graphic designer. But my official role is being a loving wife to a hardworking and amazing husband and super mom to three beautiful children who are my whole world.
It may seem like I’m self-assured, but growing up I lacked the confidence that I have now. I never felt like I fit in, or was pretty enough or smart enough compared to my peers. I am a first generation Filipino American. I was bullied for being Asian and was called a “chink” because I had slanted eyes. There were even times I was told to go back to the country that I came from even though I was born in New York City! I never liked the shape of my nose because it is flat. I didn’t even like how big my lips were and used to put tape on my lips at night thinking it would help shrink them somehow. I was constantly made fun of for being overweight and was also called “four eyes” because I wore glasses at a very early age during a time when it was uncool to wear them. I didn’t feel comfortable in my own skin.
But eventually, I came to embrace my features and beauty with the help of makeup, Spanx, contacts and knowing that I will always be tanner than the majority of my friends.
About two years ago, I felt like I was failing at life. I thought I could handle it all but I soon hit a breaking point and felt lost. I was constantly being told by my employer that my work wasn’t good enough, I was feeling overwhelmed and exhausted with the responsibility of taking care of a toddler and infant twins without the daily support of my husband (who works second and third shifts), and my nanny decided to leave with little notice or disregard. I couldn’t handle it anymore.
Through acceptance, patience and time, I’ve been able to persevere. Now we have a new nanny (4th time’s a charm, hopefully), I started a new job and I’m in a good place in my life. I’ve come to accept that I am enough, things don’t always have to go as planned and life will go on. I know I am doing the best I can with the resources and knowledge that I have. I am beginning to take life one thing at a time.
A few months ago, I was referred to Jennifer by a former co-worker, Andrea, whose brand I helped establish. I suggested that she take professional photos that were consistent with her brand’s look and feel. I saw the photos of her taken by Jennifer and was absolutely blown away. I loved the natural lighting, outfits, poses and how she was able to capture Andrea’s beauty so candidly. I said that one day, I’ll get updated photos of just myself for my brand. Then an opportunity arose when I was transitioning between jobs and I thought it would be a great time to treat myself and get portraits taken.
The moment I met Jenn, we instantly connected. She was so accommodating — especially since the turnaround time from the day of my consult to the day of the photo shoot was only a few days. Normally it takes weeks of preparation! At my wardrobe styling consultation, Jenn said that I took 1st place for trying on the most outfits in her studio. She had so many amazing outfits, and I had a blast trying everything on. It was so hard to narrow it down to only five outfits. I wanted a professional look to match my brand but I also wanted outfits that made me feel glamorous and poised.
On the day of the shoot, I came prepared with more outfits than expected but I still managed to narrow it down to five choices. I sent Jenn makeup looks and her hair/makeup artist Theresa was able to doll me up. I loved getting ready with Theresa because all I had to do was sit there, and she transformed me from having straight hair and no makeup to luscious curls and a glamorous face.
I never realized that being a model is hard work. I was so exhausted and sore the day after. Jenn had me sitting and posing in positions that I normally don’t do, and I even broke a sweat. She also made me feel comfortable and constantly assured me that I look amazing but would only show me a few shots after she had taken a photo. I told Jenn that I only like to smile for the camera and that I feel awkward when I don’t. But on reveal day, I was overcome with all the feels when I saw my portraits. Not only was she able to capture my big smile, but Jenn was also able to capture me smizing (smiling with my eyes) and I love them all.
I said, “Who is this person in these photos? It doesn’t look like me at all!” And Jenn responded, “It’s how your loved ones see you.” I
What started as a photo shoot for my brand turned into a celebration of everything that I am! My adolescent self probably wouldn’t have believed the woman in those photos were her, but they are, and I want to thank you, Jenn, from the bottom of my heart for capturing my inner and outer beauty so completely.” ~Liz