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I'm someone who's undergone a complete life/self overhaul. I'm now a professional in my dream job, balancing an amazing relationship, a healthy body, a healthy self image, my passions, my family and surrounding myself with good people. It's hard, not gonna lie. But I'm here to help, to inspire and say "you're not alone."

Me, today. 6.21.12. Living My Passion

sunrise field shoot

Today was not a day like any other before it, nor will it be after. I had made the decision to start modeling again, not for anyone else but myself – to celebrate me finally living my passion for dance and my dedication to fitness and health. I have had a long standing loathing for my body. Many of us ladies do, simply because we don’t look like the models in media. I needed to snap out of it and appreciate not what it looks like, but what it can do. And although putting yourself out there is scary, I needed to conquer that fear and turn it into a self appreciation celebration, and that’s exactly what I did. Ladies, if you’ve never done a photo shoot of yourself, do it. You will never be as you are today, and you will never appreciate yourself as much as when you can look at these beautiful moments frozen in time.

I woke up at 4 am, coffee in hand and still shaking off the sleep to be at an open field before sunrise. The air was peacefully still and damp, the sun warming up the sky but not yet peeking over the mountains. I shook hands with a very kind and soft spoken but strongly worded man who pulled out bags of photo equipment. Following him into an open field, my sweat pants were exchanged for 6 yards of fabric which I was to dance and leap with while he snapped photos. What was a chilly, dew filled June morning, turned into a breathing hard and trying to look pretty while jumping in a field of thistles, gofer holes and rocks exercise. Although the end product is beautiful, the process is no joke. Try jumping and leaping in the air for an hour, tossing yards of drag while trying to look long, lean and beautiful. Heck, just jumpin around without pulling a face. I forced my cold muscles to warm and soon was sweating, panting and appreciating the hell out of what I was forcing my body to do. “Ok, we’re good” were the sweetest words I’d heard all morning as I sipped water, returned to my clothing cocoon, and followed the photographer to the next shoot.

It was time for an attitude change, hard hitting and intense. We arrived at his larger than expected studio, umbrella flash lighting and black backdrop waiting. I searched my brain for all the possible

Michael Quinn Break Dance Studio Shoot

Michael Quinn Break Dance Studio Shoot

break dance moves I could do, while I exchanged pretty dance clothes for torn jeans and sneakers. I couldn’t do 80% of the moves I know because I was placed on an unexpected paper surface. “Anything spinning is out, any ground foot work is out… ok think brain think! Dang it, can’t blow this… ” Emerging from the bathroom and transformed into a hip hop dancer, I puffed my cheeks while letting out a big sigh and got ready. “Ok go ahead when you’re ready” he said, interrupting my nervous pacing. I put on some comforting James Brown funk and got into my groove trying to forget that this was a job, I was working, and needed to work it! I took a deep breadth, put aside my fears of failure and said to myself, “OK, let’s do this!” Jumping, freezing and hair flicking my way through another hour of flash bulbs and panting. I started to kind of feel like a rock star – not gonna lie, it was pretty cool.

“Ok, now to the pool.” He said. I changed once again, stripping down to the dance outfit and grabbing the same yards of fabric. But this time I was to dive to the bottom of the pool, eyes closed and somehow gracefully swim, twirling and tangling myself up in the material. Now, I’m not sure if you’ve ever gotten caught on something in the water while swimming, but it’s damn scary. The drag on 6 yards of fabric through water and the light breadth I could only take so as to prevent a funny faced or puffy chested picture was very unnerving. I hadn’t even realized I had a slight fear of drowning until then. And by then I was also exhausted. Now, having to swim, drag fabric and hold my breadth. I was rapidly loosing it. I managed to keep calming myself, letting go of any fears and got through the shoot.

Michael Quinn Underwater shoot

“Alright, I’ll have something to you by today ok? Good job.” He said simply. Which, to me meant I did only a satisfactory job. The fear of failure started to creep in again, but I reminded myself. No, I’m not doing this to win anything, to prove anything. Sure it’s a paying gig, but I’m not doing it for the money, I’m doing it for me. And I smiled the entire drive home with windows rolled down, singing at the top of my lungs to my favorite songs to arrive home and start my work day at the usual 8am, no one any the wiser that I just gave myself the biggest opportunity of a lifetime – both a huge challenge and a huge reward. Later in the day, I got some pictures via email and a nice text of – can’t wait to do an underwater night shoot and do more studio work. And suddenly I realized another area I need to work on, not being too hard on myself. Ok self, time to fully appreciate everything.

Tonight, I fall asleep, completely and utterly exhausted after the 3 shoots, a long work day and a half hearted attempt at a workout. But, I will also fall asleep completely satisfied at a day where I gave myself the chance to appreciate my body’s abilities, conquer fears and to fully live my passion.

I hope that you give yourself the same opportunity – to love and appreciate yourself and live your passions.

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