Bold Beautiful Perfect: Toy
“Beauty comes in all hues, shapes, sizes, hair styles, and ages – that include me (and you)!”
Tell us about yourself, Toy!
I’m hard to sum up. I’m a believer. I know that God is with me every step of the way as I navigate reaching for my best self. I am a wife and I’ve been married to my husband for 21 years. We have three fabulous children: two girls and a boy. I’ve been an educator for 24 years. I love working for kids. I love people. I love giving back. I love to travel – especially to places with lots of sun and a beach! My favorite meal of the day is breakfast and I have been going to the same breakfast spot for almost 25 years. Dancing is my favorite activity. My friends and I would dance all night as teenagers. My husband and I live on the dance floor at every event we attend. My life is stressful often and I work hard to keep it all together. I’m not perfect but I am perfectly happy with the life I have!
How did you come to understand your beauty?
I have always been plus sized, so I had to own my beauty early. I grew into loving myself as I am. Once I gained confidence in my beauty, it began to attract others to me.
This project is all about inspiring women to see their beauty. What parts of your story can you share to help women to understand their own beauty?
As a mom, I would get into ruts. I wouldn’t buy myself anything, I wouldn’t go to the salon, and I didn’t want to be seen. Soon, I realized that I was putting myself in this “woe is me” place. I got onto that hamster wheel of “if I could just do this, THEN I’ll feel better.” When I fell short, I would feel worse.
For me it was like flipping a switch. I snapped out of it. I decided that I’ve got plenty to celebrate about myself and I was going to do a better job of doing just that. There is no standard formula for beauty. Beauty comes in all hues, shapes, sizes, hair styles, and ages – and that included me! I started going back to the salon, I bought some new jeans, and I started wearing make up more often. I made it a thing. I would tell Alexa to play Beyoncé (the guru on feeling fabulous and sexy) and I would take my time and enjoy getting ready. When Mama starts taking care of herself, everyone is the house benefits from it. There is no truer saying: “When Mama is happy, everybody is happy!”
What was your experience with the photo shoot?
Booking this photoshoot was an action I took toward being better to myself. Work and home life was getting the best of me and I needed a push. I booked the shoot and started taking better care of my health leading up to the shoot. The biggest benefit to the shoot was the mindset shift. I decided I was worth this investment. I wanted to have beautiful pictures of myself, and I wanted my kids to have pictures of their mom when she was young and beautiful.
Working with Brandi was true artistry. I felt like a model. It was so personal and it felt good to have someone give their full attention to creating these beautiful photos.
What did the shoot mean to you? What did it feel like to be selected?
It meant me putting myself first for a change. I was grateful for the opportunity to share my story. So many of us struggle with the same feelings and we don’t share enough. We need constant reminders that caring for yourself is necessary and totally okay!
Whatever your body type, skin tone, hair color, age – you are beautiful!
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International Award-Winning Portrait Photographer