So, Emily, the pictures are absolutely stunning, how do you feel now it’s all over?
I feel really positive about the whole experience. It has stuck a smile permanently on my face. I am definitely happy that the run up period is over, I was so nervous and anxious about doing it, not just physically getting in front of the camera but the whole “how would the pictures come out”, “would they require photoshop to make me look decent”, “what if I don’t know how to pose”, “what if I don’t know how to make myself look nice”, “what if my smile looks dorky, or shows off any weird teeth”, and so on. The waiting period was probably the worst, so I am glad it is definitely over and done with!
I have come out of it feeling remarkable. It is something I would recommend – to do something scary that will really test your courage and what it is that bothers you. In some ways it became comfortable to be in my underwear in front of two people, one I hadn’t met before, after a few hours and although the direct topic was to do with the nude shoot, it was like the focus wasn’t the shoot at all. It was the having fun, getting good poses, having a good laugh.
In the morning I was so hyperactive, but not in an uber-excited way, I was much more nervous. I was following the schedule I had set myself, where I needed to be, what I needed to do, checking everything I was bringing, making sure I was at the hair appointment on time. It was very ‘work’ based, as if I had just been doing a project for work. I got nervous when I got there and got into the first lingerie set, to start off the shoot. We started on the most comfortable set and went from there, with a cheeky sniffle of Jack Daniel’s just to loosen up (not the whole lot!). As we went on, I got more comfortable, it just became fun and a delight. We had some good laughs whilst doing it, came up with some great ideas, and we are all proud as a collective of everyone who was involved about how it came across in the photos. We put on some great music including KISS and Van Halen and then some really poppy dance tunes and really just had a great time.
I don’t have regrets as such, I have things that I would like to change if I do it again, or anything similar to it again, such as my hair colour going back to crazy bright colours, or what I’m wearing. I certainly think it is addictive, as it makes you feel so good to be done up and look really nice and to have professional photography.
I definitely don’t regret doing something which is so out of my comfort zone, as I am definitely the type of person that needs that push and needs something more to prove to myself that I can do it, regardless of what anxiety condition I may have. I mean, I may have it for life, but this has definitely lightened up my days and every day I spend less on the routines that I was doing, or focusing and obsessing over certain features. So I don’t regret it, even if I was nude!
What has the reaction to the pictures been like? How does that make you feel?
The reaction as a whole has been very very positive, both in respect to how I look in the photos and to what I have done for charity, which I think are two separate things. It makes me feel absolutely incredible to have done something which has made £5,400 for Mind, it just makes me feel like I have participated in helping a charity which has helped me. As for how people have reacted positively to me aesthetically, I have really had moments where I didn’t really absorb it – I sort of appreciate and thank for the comment, but it doesn’t sink in, or I kinda just joke about it, or on some I’ve been so taken back that I took it really personally and it made me well up. It’s one of those odd things that I struggle with. In the end, I still will probably always believe I look a certain way, or find things I hate – most people do, with normal low self-esteem – but I am proud of the photos, regardless of how I look because I am proud of what I achieved.
How much have you raised so far?
What advice would you give to someone reading who suffers from the same disorder?
I would say about all the inner beauty you have and to treasure it, but I know if someone told me that I would be like, laughing my face off. The reality is, you see what you believe you are seeing, and it is likely a lie. A lot of the thoughts you have about you looking a certain way or being a certain way, are just thoughts, they don’t have to be listened to. The absolute key, what I found really helped to get me on the road to recovery were these basic (and at the time, patronising) techniques of just things like smiling at myself in the mirror. Or when someone gives you a compliment, instead of counteracting it with a compliment to them or arguing against it, to accept it outright. Both of these seem really stupid and lame, but actually, after a while, you just feel more positive. Try new clothes on, new make-up, keep trying new things. Don’t believe that covering yourself in pallet loads of make-up will resolve the issue. Have a day where you only wear eye shadow and no other make-up. Or have a day where you go uber smokey eyes and lipstick. The key is to keep mixing it up, find things you like, things you like that fit you. Try not to let yourself believe that any eating habits are going to help you – because the likelihood is, if you’re like me and you stop eating for periods of time, you will get very sick and it will just make you feel more depressed about yourself.
It really reminds me of the amazing Audrey Hepburn, who said the following;
I believe in pink. I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner. I believe in kissing, kissing a lot. I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day and I believe in miracles.
This is such a great cause so please check out Emily’s fundraising page and share her story. Help us spread the word so other people can feel that that it’s okay to talk.
Many thanks to all those who have provided their services and facilities for the charity fundraiser: