Words Hurt: Anti-Bullying and Self Love Shoot

The belief that there is something wrong with us, that we are not good enough, that we are ugly, plagues many girls, including myself, for much of our lives.  Whether this false belief comes from external sources such a bullying or internal self hate, or a mix of the two, it is an epidemic.  With this shoot I wanted to make visual this struggle and start to change the way we see ourselves.

This is a shoot I’ve waned to do for a long time, as it is so close to my heart, and when I started working with my wonderful senior model team this year I knew it was finally time.  When I presented the idea for the shoot to these girls I was surprised that all eight of them really wanted to do it (although only 4 were actually able to in the end) and had all had issues with bullying.  I can’t imagine people saying horrible, hurtful things to these sweet, smart, beautiful girls, but it made me realize this is a much bigger issue than I had understood.

To visually represent the bullying and self hate these girls had endured we wrote the words that had stuck with them the most on their bodies. Writing these cruel words on these wonderful girls made me physically sick. However, getting these words out of their heads and onto their bodies made them start to loose some of their power.  The girls could see how utterly untrue they were.  After the negative words were written and photographed the girls wiped them away. Wiping them off their bodies and replacing them with positive loving words. We learned though that getting rid of these words isn’t as easy as all that.  They stick and seep into the skin. It took real work to get them off, as it does to get these negative untrue words out of our hearts and minds. It felt so good to finish the shoot with positive loving words. Words that meant something to these beautful girls, words that they coruld carry with them and believe in. We finished the experience by having the girls tell their stories behind the words and I will be making a mini documentary in the coming weeks to hopefully get this message of replacing hate and hurt with love and compassion out to the girls that need it the most. I hope this shoot helps you see all the hurtful things you are carrying inside you and start to let them go and replace them with the infinity more true messages of love and compassion that you deserve.