January 30, 2024

Portrait Photographer Milwaukee – Magazine Style Glamour – Lauren Roller Derby Style

“Recently, Jennifer had posted about a model call looking for women 35+ for a campaign and I decided on a whim to apply, assuming nothing would come of it. To my shock, I was selected… and then the horror set in. A photoshoot? With a professional photographer? ME? I’m just a normal person, not fancy or famous, just real. I’m a working mom of two amazing girls (17 and 9), married to my very best friend and biggest fan, and have a happy home full of rescue animals.
This opportunity was important to me for a few major reasons.
The last couple years of my life have been a whirlwind of loss, guilt, self-doubt, and rebuilding. In the fall of 2021, I unexpectedly found my mom unresponsive and without a pulse in my home, the day before her 59th birthday. I performed CPR for about 15 minutes until paramedics arrived and, unfortunately, she did not survive. I had grown up as the oldest child, a hard-headed, quick-witted tomboy who was always told (and believed) that I could do anything — but this was the one thing I couldn’t do, and it hit me hard. Though now I know there was nothing I could have done, I still blamed myself for this loss and feared everyone else did as well. In an instant I went from a strong, confident, vivacious, and bold woman to a hollow shell of my former self.
My self-esteem plummeted. I stopped taking care of myself, stopped showering, stopped seeing friends or even leaving the house. I wanted to disappear and neared the dangerous tipping point of considering ending my own life. Thanks to the love and support from my husband, our daughters, and the rest of our family and friends, I have been able to slowly rebuild myself from the ground up. My experience with Jennifer played another part in my journey.
I was first introduced to Jennifer Brindley and her work through a former work colleague who had a photoshoot with her. The photos were STUNNING and the experience sounded wonderful, but I was not in the right headspace to even consider booking something like that for myself — I just tucked the idea away and started following JBP on social media, which is something I am incredibly grateful for having done. While I was very nervous with a photoshoot on the horizon, I was hoping that this could help restore some confidence.
When we met for my initial consultation, I felt like Jennifer and I had an instant connection, almost like we’d known each other already, and perhaps we were fated to meet. She was so authentically warm, friendly, and enthusiastic, making me comfortable immediately. We talked about who I am and what I wanted out of the experience, and it was clear that she really cared and wanted this to be amazing for me. Jennifer had pulled a range of beautiful garments for me to try on, and she sought my input on all of it, making sure I felt good in everything.
We talked about how I play roller derby, a hard-hitting contact sport on roller skates, and how much of a positive impact it has had on my life and my healing. I wanted to be able to incorporate my “skate life” into my photos since it is such a big part of who I am. My name on the track is Kitty Kitty Bang Bang (just ‘Kitty’ to my friends) and when I’m playing, I’m strong, fast, and tough, not sad, anxious, or lost. When I’m Kitty, I am incredible — this is how others see me, and this is how I want to feel about myself all the time. Jennifer was thrilled with the idea and encouraged me to bring my skates, incorporating them into a couple of my looks. Once we settled on the final outfit lineup, I couldn’t wait until it was finally photoshoot day. She took me from terrified to excited in such a short amount of time!
The photoshoot experience itself was beyond my wildest imagination! Katrina, who did my hair and makeup, was outstanding and made me look FABULOUS. I only wish I would hire her as my live-in stylist. Jennifer was such an amazing photographer to work with, guiding me through the entire experience and posing me for the most flattering shots. She hyped me up the whole time, making me feel absolutely beautiful and confident, plus she is just so genuinely funny and energetic that it’s impossible not to have a great time! This was all so out of the norm for me, as I’m usually outfitted in jeans and t-shirts with some eyeliner and mascara, so it felt amazing to be styled by people who know what they’re doing! I definitely felt like a high-end professional model. The entire day was such a great time and I am so thankful to have had the experience.
The reveal was incredible as well on SO many levels. I was so deeply moved by the final photos and absolutely cried, even though I tried not to (happy tears!). I was able to bring my husband, since he is my biggest supporter, and he was blown away and also brought to tears.
I have struggled for years to see myself the way others see me, but somehow Jennifer managed to capture me in a way where I felt I could finally see myself.
She did not just take pretty pictures of a woman in stylish outfits, she captured the whole person, something I feel not many photographers are able to do. She photographed this stunning, radiant, strong, and fun woman — a captivating woman I had so desperately longed to be. But lucky for me, I am already her, and for the first time in a very long time I was able to see and feel that.
I cannot find the words to express how amazing the final photos are or describe how truly touched I feel by them. This has undoubtedly been a major step in the right direction on my journey of self-rediscovery and rebuilding. I cannot thank you enough, Jenn, for your time and passion, or for this gift of self-love you have given me. Thank you for finding that awesome chick who still exists within me, even when I’d felt that I’d lost her those couple years back.
To anyone else who may be in a similar situation, feeling lost and stumbling around in the dark trying to find yourself again, trust me: you are more amazing than you know, and your sparkle still shines, even if you can’t see it for yourself. Maybe you just need a special little boost to catch a glimpse of yourself, much like I did. I cannot recommend working with Jennifer enough, as she and her work are truly something special.” ~Lauren


    Leave a comment