I knew developing a lingerie brand would have its challenges, but I didn’t comprehend how it would leave me questioning my own body image. Using real women in Emilia Intimates first photo shoot, has made me realise how harshly I judge my own body, especially in comparison to others.
Since starting this journey, portraying healthy and realistic body images has always been a must. So, one evening, sat in a small rustic Italian restaurant, with friends, I decided that I needed to practise what I preach and use Emilia Intimates to promote body confidence. There and then, I promised that the first photo shoot would use real women as models. As a personal brand with body positivity at the core, it felt important for me to ask friends, with no previous experience of modelling to take part.
Embracing beautiful bodies, no airbrushing here!
Both the friends I asked were flattered and honoured, yet understandably nervous about showing off their almost naked bodies in front of a camera. One friend described her thoughts, prior to the shoot, “I felt physically sick at the idea of modelling and all I could see in the mirror was imperfection after imperfection.” Devoted friend and apprehensive lingerie model, 28.
It is a stark reality that this reaction is the norm, there are very few women in this world who genuinely believe their body is ‘suitable’ for modelling. With almost continuous exposure to airbrushed and filter-enhanced images in the media and on social channels, it is no wonder that in the UK, we have a very distorted image of the ‘perfect’ body. We have become programmed to believe that our bodies are not good enough.
Real beauty needs no adjustment
It was soon time for my two gorgeous friends, both 28, living in London, to hesitantly step out of their day jobs and into the shoes of lingerie models. We all agreed that layering on the fake tan or attempting to tone tummies, would not be true to the core values of the shoot. It was to be realistic, inspirational and relatable.
Stood in a Pinterest-worthy Clapham kitchen, flooded with sunlight, on the precipice of the photo shoot, my very obliging friends began to realise that to get the most from this shoot they would first need to accept their own imperfections. One friend explained that “It took a lot of courage (both real and Dutch) to take my clothes off. I was committed, to Chloe and increasingly conscious of the tyranny of unrealistic imagery that we are subjected to. So, because I hope that one day all adverts will represent 'the reality' of being a woman, I had to take part.” Devoted friend and determined lingerie model, 28
Setting the scene for the debut Emilia Intimates real women photoshoot
With my ever supportive friends, a few props and the creative skills of Poppy Maltby Photography, we began. More accustomed to capturing an adoring couple’s big day, or a baby's first smile, Poppy, 26, took on the challenge of photographing two slightly nervous but utterly gorgeous amateurs in their lingerie with unfaltering energy and enthusiasm.
Popping on a pair of heels to get into model mode
After choosing their favourite lingerie collection, popping on an essential pair of heels and putting on a motivational playlist, the cover-ups were ditched and the shoot began. Two action-packed hours later, with a confetti covered floor, champagne corks popped, a handful of outfit changes and four elated ladies we had accomplished our goal; creating fun, workable and gorgeous shots of real women. Though in reality, we had achieved much more than that.
Emilia Intimates is embracing beautiful bodies and banishing airbrushing
In one way or another we had all experienced one of the most liberating moments of our adult-lives, genuinely believing that real bodies were more than just good enough to model lingerie and best of all, we had each enjoyed our part in the action! Not only did we appreciate how amazing real women’s bodies truly are but we all began to realise that we could admire our own bodies in their natural form. One friend described the experience to me with genuine joy, “I was surprised at how truly liberating it was and I was amazed by how I could gently start viewing myself differently. By letting my mindset alter just a little bit, I could start to see a few rather sexy parts of my body.” Devoted friend and liberated lingerie model, 28.
I had witnessed their body confidence skyrocket and I had personally developed a deeper understanding of the importance of using real non-airbrushed images that women can relate to. Society’s current opinion is that cellulite, stretch marks, wobbly bits and scars need to be air brushed out, but through Emilia Intimates we want to to ensure that real women see themselves represented in each and every one of our campaigns. Our images show people that cellulite and un-toned tummies are not ugly. One friend described their personal shift in opinion “For the first time in my adult life, I view my body as a friend with all its female curves. And even better, I see other women with new eyes understanding the huge variety of bodies out there.” Devoted friend and gorgeous lingerie model, 28.
Oozing body confidence whilst chilling in the Aura Collection
I personally am still on my own journey to achieving body confidence and satisfaction, but what I have learned from this experience is to understand your own body, focus on the positives and highlight your best bits. Ultimately, we need to stop comparing ourselves to others; we are all unique and that is what is so beautiful. However, while we still do compare ourselves to others, Emilia Intimates promises to use real, genuine and unaltered bodies in each and everyone of our campaigns. For me, the most important part of this journey is to encourage, empower, support and inspire other women to love their bodies just the way they are.
Celebrating a successful photo shoot; real women, real bodies and real body confidence