Lindsay Rae, the owner of a luxury boudoir studio in New York, helps women embrace body acceptance and self-love through photography. Now more than ever, women have begun to realize the importance of defining their own worth. As women, we don’t need anyone but ourselves to validate or accept us as we are.
We’re beautiful without makeup or plastic surgery, or unrealistic beauty standards being shoved in our faces. Lindsay Rae has made it her life’s mission to empower other women, helping them recognize their inner and outer beauty.
“I have convinced nearly 600 women to take their clothes off in front of me. Well, not so much me as my camera, and not so much as convinced as much as given permission to,” Lindsay says.
A Woman On A Mission To Promote Body Acceptance
On her website, she talks more about her mission to make every woman feel comfortable in their own skin:
“Boudoir is about embracing your sensuality and feminity – breaking down your pre-conceived notions about beauty to show you how gorgeous you really are. Our sessions are female only and we pride ourselves in working one on one with every single client to meet her needs and bring her vision of sexy to life.
As a woman guilty of this myself, I see so many struggling with negative self-image. We do this because we internalize the unrealistic expectations of beauty that are set out for us by the media and entertainment industry. The truth is, you are exactly as you are meant to be, perfect in your realest form.
It is my mission to be your mirror for the day – to show you the beauty that your lover, friends and family see in you – to bring out your most sensual, vulnerable, and feminine side, and to capture it on camera.”
Lindsay Struggles With Body Acceptance, Too
Lindsay’s own struggle with body acceptance fueled her passion.
“I am a luxury boudoir and empowerment photographer, and if I have learned anything, it is how deeply damaging the beauty propaganda machine is. And it all hinges on one word: IF… ‘IF I could lose some weight, then I would book a session. Or IF my breasts weren’t so saggy from breastfeeding three kids, then I would book a session.’”
While Lindsay’s had many clients, she knows that there are probably thousands more who’d love to have their photos taken. But, their own insecurities about body acceptance get in the way. Their own “ifs still paralyze them.”
Lindsay says they’re probably thinking,‘“Maybe if I can fit into this teeny, narrow-minded mold of what society considers beautiful, then I could be happy.’”
Lindsay proudly reveals that she’s a size 20 with stretch marks and cellulite from having a C-section. However, she no longer feels ashamed. In fact, her journey to body acceptance led her to love herself, stretch marks and all.
Sadly, her own father made her feel insecure about her weight as a child and teenager. Much of her difficulty with body acceptance came from his cruel remarks. He would often say,‘“Lindsay, if you only lost some weight…”’
As she got older, though, she realized she could use her own pain and trauma to help others. She combined her passion for photography with her message of self-love and body acceptance to inspire other women.
“When I became a photographer in 2013, I silenced my ifs, and I set out on a mission to help others silence theirs as well. What you have to understand about the beauty industry is that models don’t have flawless skin,” Lindsay explains.
She says the photographer and cinematographer put diffusion filters over their lenses. This scatters and diffracts light to create a blurred effect on their skin, making it appear flawless.
Lindays Cautions Women About The False Expectations Of The Beauty Industry
“Don’t even get me started about photoshop,” she jokes. “You know, the dirty little secret about the beauty industry is that they have to first destroy your confidence in order to build it back up. And I’m not buying.”
She recalls that in high school, she almost skipped her homecoming because of her body acceptance issues. She couldn’t find a dress that fit that she could afford. Because she wore a size 12 and felt deeply insecure. However, she eventually found a dress she liked and decided to enjoy the night.
“I remember I came home and I had slicked my hair back in this little bun to match the baby blue dress to look like Cinderella, and my dad walks in, and he looks at me and says, ‘Hey Lindsay, you should take your hair down to hide your basketball head.’ And then he walked me over to a mirror, and he pulled my skin back to show me how much better I would look if I was skinnier.”
His reaction only worsened her body acceptance issues, and she felt she’d never live up to her father’s expectations. Her worth depended on his perception of her, and as she got older, she looked to other men for acceptance.
“Being a woman and loving ourselves is a near-impossible challenge,” Lindsay says. “But through the clients that I’ve worked with who just trust me in their most vulnerable moments, I’ve learned it’s the relationship that I have with myself that sets the tone for all of these other relationships in my life, as a boss, a mom, a sister, a wife, a business owner.”
Lindsay says to tell yourself, “No more I could be beautiful IF, I’m beautiful right now!” While she suffers from anxiety and PTSD due to her childhood, she accepts that part of herself, too. She doesn’t let her life experiences hold her back but uses them to help others.
“Simply by confronting your own self-judgment, you’re winning,” she says. “You are taking back your power from a society that tries to tell you that you’re not good enough. Give yourself permission to feel beautiful and worthy, right here and right now. No ifs, ands or buts about it!”