Written by Lelia, studio manager April-September 2023
Do you remember the first time you saw a post from LeZandra Photography, or the first time you walked into her boudoir studio? I remember seeing these moody, sultry, wildly emotive photos from a couple’s boudoir session last Fall that had my heart aching. When I got the chance to interview for the Studio Manager position back in March, I could feel everything inside catching on fire and falling into alignment.
The last six months, the last year really, of my life have been incredibly transformative. As LeZandra has moved into a place of authentic acceptance and reflection for her birthday, I found myself doing my own personal evaluation. Working behind-the-scenes with her has given me a great sense of empowerment. I also am accepting that this is a season where I need to step back from the studio and pour some energy into myself.
My first week of boudoir sessions was an incredible series of moments. We had a maternity boudoir session for one of the stylists who frequented the studio. We also had an individual photography session for a young woman who was becoming more self-aware and loving towards her body and sexuality.
A few years ago, I had my first boudoir photography session. I was 39 weeks pregnant with my second son, had experienced infertility, a miscarriage, and had been hospitalized during that pregnancy for a complication. The boudoir session helped me connect to my body after weeks of sheltering myself from pain. Reviewing those images after the birth reminded me of how strong I was, how beautiful, how brave.
As women, as wives, as mothers, we go through so much and we grow. A boudoir session gave me the opportunity to crystalize those feelings in front of a camera. I can look back and pinpoint the moments where I was nurturing myself to allow space for feminine strength. I felt like a goddess.
These women came in at pivotal moments of their lives, deciding with intention to have a photography session that captured their experience. How much more present can you be, than looking at yourself in the mirror and pouring love, validation into yourself? Especially when you have a team of women lifting you up and cheering you on? I fell in love with the experience.
Through the studio and tribe of “LeZandra’s loves” of online followers, I found myself connecting with other women on so many levels. When I first started working with LeZandra, I needed this job, because I was recently separated from my husband of ten years. I had been a stay-at-home mom for three years, and needed to support myself. So I could talk to everyone about boudoir, marriage, divorce, motherhood, finances, work-life balance, and mental health awareness.
The boudoir studio is a sacred space, a sexual safe place. We have talked about ethical non-monogamy, purity culture, the BDSM world, creative content, sexual and gender identity, and so much more. Working in a place that is wide-open exclusive is unbelievable.
I learned how to openly receive these people exactly as they were, with all of our freak flags flying. We lived that core value of LeZandra’s with pride. It takes confidence to be yourself, and humility to allow room for others to do the same. Love and acceptance is a practice that is preached and lived in that photography studio.
One of my favorite things that LeZandra does during a boudoir session is to set intentions for the day. You’ve been in styling, picked out your outfits, and had a chance to comfortably open up with the team. Then you sit down and LeZandra asks you what three adjectives do you want to embody during the session.
If you were to ask me, my three words would be resilient, loyal and fierce. As the clients pick their words, they transform into these palpably real versions of themselves. You ARE sultry, you ARE badass, you ARE fearless, you ARE worthy. You are all goddesses walking around with divine gifts just waiting to be flexed. To be a person helping you see your own crown on your head has been truly an honor.
My last week of boudoir sessions will include a bridal boudoir session and a same-sex erotica session. There is going to be so much love and acceptance, so much flirtation and joy. It seems appropriate to step into my next stage remembering the entire journey with these women. We have connected on a personal level and it feels like I am celebrating their lives with them.
Having a boudoir photography session is a financial investment, sure. It’s also a chance for you to give yourself one of the best presents ever. I have gained such an appreciation for women in so many different categories- the bonus moms, the warriors, the dancers, the business boss babes, the creators. You are all unique and beautiful and I have loved meeting you in LeZandra’s boudoir studio.
It has been amazing working with you! The lessons you have taught me are helping me to move through a difficult chapter of my life with strength in the powerful moments, and grace in the transitory periods. While I may not be actively working with you right now, remember that I am in the background cheering you on. Just do the damn thing, for yourself. You never know how that boudoir session might change your life or the future.
Thank you all for allowing me the chance to work with you and for you! See you around. XO – Lelia
September 27, 2023