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Jade Beall is a proud mother and a Tucson, AZ based world-renowned photographer. She specializes in truthful images of women to inspire feeling irreplaceably beautiful as a counter-balance to the airbrushed, photoshopped imagery that dominates mainstream media. Her recent work “A Beautiful Body Project” has touched 100,000’s of women’s lives and garnered global attention from media outlets including the BBC, The Huffington Post & beyond. Jade’s book series and media platform feature untouched photos of women alongside their stories of their journeys to build self-esteem in a world that thrives off women feeling insecure. Jade’s dream is to inspire future generations of women to be free from the unnecessary self-suffering and embrace their beauty just as they are. Enjoy her exclusive Business Heroine interview…
BH: How did you end up doing what you do? Tell us your story!
Jade: I call myself a therapeutic or medicinal photographer. I fell in love with B&W film photography my senior year of high school in 1996. Since the beginning, I have been drawn to making images of the female body with a special fondness to celebrate the parts of our humanness that we have been taught to call flaws.
I am primarily self-taught. I never went to college. Instead, I went to massage school in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and I was a massage therapist for over a decade. Massage therapy taught me how to bring a healing element to my photography, that is to say how to genuinely honor and celebrate the divine body before me.
In 2012, I posted a self-portrait of my post-birth body, 50 LBS bigger than my pre-birth body and heavy with postpartum depression, and I wrote about my wish to be free from body shame once and for all.
Those self-portraits changed my life and birthed “A Beautiful Body Project” which is a website/blog that features unphotoshopped images and inspiring stories of women. I also published a book called The Bodies Of Mothers after so many mothers resonated from those original self-portraits and wanted to share their body story too.
BH: What is your ‘Wake Up Call for the World?’ In other words, what is most of the world asleep about that you would love to wake up?
Jade: I would love for my fellow humans to wake up to the fact that our bodies ARE indeed perfect and unflawed! That wrinkles and pimples and rolls or one-legged or no-legged bodies are not a thing of shame but indeed irreplaceably gorgeous! The idea that perfection is only attainable by a tiny fraction of humans is ridiculous and can often paralyze so many women and imprison them to self-doubt or worse, self-loathing, which makes it incredibly difficult to lead an empowered life!
BH: What are the biggest challenges or aspirations your clients come to you with, and what does your work make possible for them?
Jade: The biggest challenges my clients have is feeling like A) they are not worthy of a photoshoot for just themselves, just as they are and B) That I could never possibly get a beautiful photo of them.
My images provide a very important tool on the path to self-love: that we need not be photoshopped to love ourselves or see ourselves as beautiful. We do need to re-learn how to see. That is to say, we need to learn how not to cringe when we see the things we are suppose to resent like wrinkles and dark circles and precious rolls or bones.
We need to reprogram our brains that we need not a thing to make us perfect; we simply are. Any alterations we choose to do to our bodies, I pray we do them with a rooted self-love so that we can fully enjoy it as pleasure and not trying to “cover up” the things we think are flawed. There is nothing to hide when it comes to the differences and uniqueness of our bodies, and there is a lot to enjoy!
BH: We’re curious about your breakthrough moment in business. Looking back, what created the breakthrough?
Jade: My breakthrough moment was when I shared one of my most vulnerable images and story and stated that I was on a mission to redefine beautiful, starting with my own personal healing. As soon as I shared myself in that way, I gave permission to other women to try on the feeling of feeling beautiful with their changed post-birth bodies and that celebrating them might be a pretty revolutionary act.
BH: What words of wisdom do you have for all the emerging Business Heroines out there who are on the cusp of creating their own purpose-based business?
Jade: The best advice I can offer is to nurture your ‘one thing.’ In my case, there are a million amazing photographers out there and that’s really intimidating at times. I tried and failed miserably at wedding photography and senior portraits. I had not idea how I would make it as a photographer when I first started.
It wasn’t until I realized that photographing what I have always been passionate about was the only way I could make it as a photographer, photographing what I personally loved. And while sometimes I get down on myself because I wish my technique was better, I practice coming back to a place of gratitude and remembering that my joy and passion are much larger than a photograph.
It is how I facilitate helping a woman feel like a goddess just as she is whether it’s in her messiest moment in life or the most uplifting time in her life: because it is all painfully beautiful.
For More Jade, Gorgeous & Wise:
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In what ways are you perfect? What is one way can you find beauty in your “flaws”? Leave your answer in the comments below!