Olivia | Alopecia Totalis Empowerment Photo Shoot | Denver Senior Photographer | Denver Professional Photographer | Denver Senior Photos
Spending 10 minutes with Olivia, you’ll instantly realize she is an outgoing girl with a contagious smile. Everyone wants to be around her. She is a Senior at Broomfield High School, plays softball, and is loved by her amazing group of friends - a normal girl who does normal things. What makes Olivia “different” is that she has no hair. At all. But if you ask me, this is what makes her most beautiful.
Experiencing periods of patchy hair loss, Olivia was diagnosed with Alopecia areata at age 13. That changed at age 17 when she eventually lost it all. Alopecia totalis is a rare disease that attacks the hair follicles causing the hair to fall out.
"My world had been turned upside down by a disease of which I had no control.” Olivia writes, "I no longer looked the way everyone else did, and I felt as if I was not worthy of anyone's attention. As a result, I felt that everything was crumbling down into millions of trivial pieces . . . as if my whole lifetime was determined by this disease. This disease was defining me, it was taking away my happiness.”
I first heard of Olivia's story through her posts on Instagram and instantly knew that I wanted to do something empowering for her. Putting myself in her shoes, it was hard to imagine what she was going through. It would be hard to feel feminine, to feel beautiful, to feel confident...
"I wore hats everyday to school. I was trying so hard to keep it from everyone because I was ashamed. I was ashamed that I no longer looked a certain way . . ." says Olivia,
"This began to negatively impact several parts of my life. I didn’t want to go anywhere with my friends. This disease disrupted my softball season; I was no longer confident and that showed on the field. It affected the way I interacted with my peers in the hallway; I walked to my next class as quickly as I could so no one saw me. My lack of hair controlled how I related to others because I thought they only saw my hats. I allowed this disease to dictate my confidence, my mood and ultimately it changed my personality."
But as I continued to follow her journey through Instagram, I saw a strong young woman who would not to give in. She dug her heals in, refused to controlled by her disease, and ultimately she blossomed... "At the beginning of October 2017, I cut off the remaining meager strands of my hair." Olivia states, "For the first time in a long time, I felt beautiful. What I had been trying to hide for so long could no longer contain me. Hats no longer contributed to my collection of fashion accessories. It didn’t take long to realize how happy I’d become. I felt as if I was no longer carrying 1,000 weights everywhere. The mountain of stress I had been carrying with me since the beginning of the school year was gone. Not one person said anything negative about me wearing a hat or not wearing a hat. Everyone was so proud of me and, most importantly, I was proud of me... I realized cutting off those final strands had liberated me..."
After seeing her break free and blossom, I reached out to her to see if she wanted to do a shoot highlighting her beautiful bald head. Her response was a resounding and enthusiastic "YES!".
For her photo shoot, Olivia and I wanted to show off her natural beauty and confidence with a shoot that wouldn't hide her baldness, but instead show it off! We wanted to show the world that bald is beautiful and your hair does not define who you are - YOU define who you are.
For Olivia, I wanted this shoot to be empowering. I wanted her to feel drop-dead gorgeous. But ultimately, both of us wanted to show others with Alopecia that they are beautiful too. They shouldn't be ashamed and hide their hair loss, no, they should embrace it and love themselves!
To those who have Alopecia or to anyone who looks "different". We want you to know that you are perfect.
You are stunning.
You are strong.
You are amazing.
You can do anything.
You are loved just the way you are.
I'm Sarah, owner and professional photographer of Sarah Lindsay Photography!
We specialize in museum quality custom artwork, like fine-art wall portraits and heirloom albums. We do it all for you, so all you need to do is sit back and relax!
We believe our work allows my clients to feel insanely confident and beautiful, not just in front of my camera, but going forward in life by creating an incredibly positive and self-affirming experience.
Click here to learn more about Sarah.
Our Worst Habit | Denver Senior Photographer | Denver Senior Photos | Denver Senior Portraits | Denver Senior Pictures | Sarah Lindsay Photography
This has been something that's been on my mind for a few months now. Why is it that we, as women, criticize other women the most? And we're nasty about it too! When a beautiful woman who is dressed nicely walks into the room, why do we immediately see her as competition, judge her, and make nasty remarks behind her back just to make ourselves feel better? Like, what are we competing for? All of the men? All of the attention? There is an abundance of all of that. So why do we act this way?
Recently, there has been a big feminist movement towards equality and it has been so nice to see women of all ages, races, sizes, etc. come together as ONE to help each other and lift each other up. And yet, in everyday situations, I see and hear women all the time talk behind their friends' backs, make snarky comments about another woman, and generally be a "B" to one another. But why????
In all honesty, I used to be one of those women and it's a hard habit to break since it's been ingrained in us for so long. But that's just it, it's a HABIT. It's something we can and should break! So I made a conscious mindset shift to think about other women differently.
I decided that if I was a real feminist, I should be lifting every woman up no matter what. So I started with my mindset. When I see a woman - pretty, not-so-pretty, tall, short, black, white, young, old - I make a conscious effort to take that knee-jerk reaction judgement and flip it around so it's a compliment. I silently compliment her in my head to make my judgement a positive one. For example, a while ago I was out with my friends and I saw a woman wearing a tight white dress with an open back. My knee-jerk reaction was to judge her and think (please read this is a snotty voice with your nose turned up) "She's thinks she's all that, she thinks she's better than everyone, look at how short that dress is!" but I stopped myself and thought, I would hate it if someone actually thought that of me! I would go crawl in a hole and never come out. So I changed my judgement and thought "That dress looks amazing on her! Look how beautiful that open back dress is! It fits her like a glove!" and it was true, she did look amazing in that dress.
Why do we, as women, immediately go to the negative judgement instead of the positive? Why do we want to tear other women down?
So if you're a real feminist or if you just want the world to be a friendlier place, do this with me. Every time you see a woman, compliment her in your head. Does she have great hair? Great shoes? A nice smile? It will take a while, but I guarantee you will kick the habit and will be a happier person. I'd really love it if you shared your compliments with me so we can do this together!
Fitness and Nutrition for the best you | look your best in professional photos | Denver Senior Photographer | Denver Senior Portraits | Denver Senior Photos
Let me start by saying, YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL JUST THE WAY YOU ARE. However, I totally get it, you want to look your best, especially in your professional photos. So let's talk about nutrition and fitness and what you can do to be the best YOU!
Now, notice I said, "...be the best YOU". That's because everyone's body is different, no two people will ever look alike (except for twins, I guess). Your genetics are different, your DNA is different, your environment is different, your access to fresh foods is different, etc. So the most important thing to accept when looking at fitness and nutrition is that you absolutely CANNOT compare yourself to someone else. I know this is hard - nearly impossible - but you're better off for it. Heck, I deal with it every day! I'm always comparing myself to my friends, celebrities, strangers, and other businesses. But I try not to, because they're not me!
So let's dive into my tips to be the best you:
1. Love Yourself
I know, I know you've heard it time and time again. But it's true! Now, I don't care if you love your body the way it is right now, but do you love yourself? Loving yourself is the first step to becoming a better and healthier you. By loving yourself, you let go of negativity and allow room for positivity thus allowing yourself the opportunity to be healthier. By loving yourself, your outlandish expectations of yourself diminish and your stress seeps away.
Now, I know that you may not love yourself today, or even tomorrow, or a year from now. But each step you take, is one step closer to fully loving yourself. One thing I like to do is write down everything I love about myself on sticky notes and place them around my bedroom so that I see them every day. I write down what I love about my looks, my personality, and my life. Try it!
2. Diminish Stress
In this world, we are constantly in a state of stress, however big or small. But by diminishing the stressors in our lives, we allow our body to repair itself: our skin looks brighter, our acne goes away, the stress-weight we're holding melts away, and our immune system bounces back. When we're stressed, our outer appearance (and our inner attitude) is a little lackluster.
If you're not sure what exactly is stressing you out, here's what I do to figure it out: I'll brain-dump everything onto a piece of paper. Anything that could be stressing me out, anything in the future that is causing me anxiety, or anything that happened in the past that's in the back of my mind. Then I see which of those things make my stomach flip, or my heart beat faster. For me, it's usually a momentary tightness in my throat. Once I've figured out what thing(s) is stressing me out, I see what I can do to fix it.
3. Eat Whole Foods
You don't have to eat at Whole Foods to eat whole foods (I'm hoping that was funny... Was it? Even slightly?). What I mean when I say "eat whole foods" is to eat things like fruit, vegetables, good fats, meat, and whole grain. I used to read a lot about nutrition, so hopefully I can give you some insight, but I'm not a nutritionist or anything, so please do your own research before taking my word for it.
My number one rule for myself, is to listen to what my body needs. If I'm hungry, I'll go through a list in my head to see what "sounds good". Is it chicken? Then my body needs protein. Is it a salad? Then my body needs veggies and fiber. Is it something sweet? Then my body needs fruit.
Now you might be saying... "But Sarah, I'm craving french fries" or "I can't stop thinking about a that Coca Cola in the fridge". Bad fats and refined sugar are addictive because they are fast, high energy sources for your body (they are also empty calories and cause acne - but we won't get into that now). So your body sees them as the easiest way to get a lot of energy quickly. But if we aren't marathon runners or working out all day, every day, our bodies can't use all the energy those foods provide. So our body ends up storing it for later. So if you constantly have crave things like soda, candy, or fried foods. Try weaning yourself off them slowly - your brain won't like you for a few days - it will probably be demanding you give it an Oreo cookie (or 5). But after a few days your mind and body will adjust and the cravings will stop. For example if you crave fried foods (like I do) try eating good fats instead: fresh mozzarella cheese with olive oil, basil, salt and pepper; or smear avocado on toast with a squeeze of lemon, salt and pepper. Heck you could even eat zucchini fries to start, but then slowly wean yourself off those too.
It can be REALLY overwhelming to think about how to exercise. I mean, there are so many exercise videos, workout plans, P90X things, gyms, and infomercials... I'm exhausted just thinking about it! But all you need to do is move. That's it! I don't care what you do, as long as you're moving. I think "they" recommend 30 minutes of exercise a day. But you don't have to start with 30 minutes. You can start with going for a 5 minute walk and eventually work your way up to a 30 minute walk. You can dance, play flag football with friends, play with your dog, run (if that's your thing... it's definitely not mine!), walk on your hands... it doesn't matter as long as you are moving your body.
Exercise not only burns calories, but it also reduces stress which, as we talked about earlier, is a whole benefit within itself!
5. Love Yourself, Again
I know I said it above, but I'll say it again. Love yourself. Loving yourself allows you to exercise, eat healthy, and destress and ultimately allows you to become the best you (and one that will look fantastic in all your professional photos!).
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