Bold Beautiful Perfect: Brooke

Bold Beautiful Perfect: Brooke


“My story isn’t over yet!”

Today on the blog, we’re thrilled to share Brooke’s story!


I’m Brooke!

My name is Brooke Rivera and I’m originally from Baton Rouge, LA. 6 years ago, I moved to Ocean Springs. I absolutely love living here on the beautiful MS Gulf Coast with my little sweetheart, a Maltipoo named Suzie.

I am a Realtor with Expect Realty and I absolutely love helping my clients make one of the biggest investments of their lives. It brings me so much joy watching them get so excited about purchasing their home!

In my spare time, I enjoy having dinner & drinks with my friends, a casual stroll down the beach, shopping in Downtown Ocean Springs, or relaxing at home watching movies with my furbaby.


Coming to understand my beauty

I have definitely learned to embrace who I am with my beautiful flaws, but I’m still working on being more confident in myself. I have a huge heart, and though I can be cautious with new friendships or relationships, you better believe this big heart will open up to you. I love to smile, laugh, and I have learned not to take myself so seriously. I’m a bit of a spastic weirdo with a fun personality and I’d never change that about myself.


My fight against mental illness

Women are amazing and beautiful beings. Understanding our own beauty is so important, because we all have a story… and your story is beautiful no matter your journey.

My story is a bit complex and not always easily understood, but I hope if I can inspire just one woman then I have a good mission happening. I suffer from mental illness (anxiety, depression and borderline personality disorder). I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression at the age of 20. It was difficult to accept. No one wants to feel alone, sad, anxious, or angry all the time. I was very resistant about taking my medication everyday, but all that did was land me in the mental hospital. I learned quickly that if I wanted to feel better and live a good life, I had to take my medication and practice self care daily.

As if anxiety and depression wasn’t enough, I was also diagnosed with borderline personality disorder at the age of 38. It hasn’t been easy, that’s for sure. Not everyone is interested in understanding me and this invisible disease. I’ve lost people (including family) after my diagnosis. It’s okay; I don’t blame them.

Mental illness is complex. It is invisible. It presents in many forms, but it does not discriminate.


I’m still here. My story isn’t over yet!

I’ve become a big advocate for mental health awareness and have participated in many events to help spread my story and spread awareness. I also donate and participate in many events through NAMI (National Alliance of Mental Illness). After my last suicide attempt that landed me in the hospital, I decided to be an advocate for mental health awareness. I got a semicolon butterfly tattoo when I was discharged. In reference to mental illness, the semicolon means “my story isn’t over yet.” When I look at my tattoo, it stands as a constant reminder that God has a bigger and better plan for my life. He didn’t allow me to pass away the 3 different times I tried to commit suicide, so I know He is using me to help the world. I truly believe His plan for me is to be an advocate for mental health awareness.

Mental illness is not many people’s favorite topic. Some people perceive me as negative and dramatic because I’m outspoken about it. But I gladly use my social media as a platform to tell my story. Even days that I’m feeling depressed or anxious, I’ll share that in hopes that other can relate and be encouraged to keep fighting.

The amount of people who reach out to me in support of my awareness or who simply say “thank you for not being silent; you helped me” means the world to me! You better bet I’ll continue God’s work of mental health awareness. I’m honored to help anyone who needs my support.


What you can expect at the photoshoot

It felt simply amazing to be selected to do the photoshoot and to be able to share my story. I rarely take the time to pamper or invest in myself, but I’m so glad I did this. My experience with the photoshoot was AMAZING – one of the best experiences of my life!

As soon as I got there, I was kindly greeted by Kasper, who made me feel right at home and relaxed. He transformed my hair and makeup so beautifully – I didn’t know who I was looking at in the mirror. He made me look and feel so beautiful! I had never had professional hair and makeup before. What a treat!

Brandi is one of the most genuine and kind-hearted people I know. She’s so sweet and, like Kasper, she made me feel right at home with her in the studio. Brandi’s photography skills are simply amazing – my pictures came out STUNNING! I could not believe that was me in all those gorgeous photos!

Kasper and Brandi, thank you so very much for this awesome experience. I’m honored and blessed to be part of the Bold, Beautiful & Perfect global project!


A few final things I’d like to share!

I highly recommend doing a photoshoot with Brandi for yourself and/or with your loved ones! It will boost your confidence x10!

I also want to share some important information and numbers. If you or anyone you know suffers from mental illness or has not been themselves lately, immediately check on them. We are not always ok and we fight unnecessary battles in our mind on a daily basis. Let us know you care.

If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, please call 800-273-8255 or 911. I’ve been in your shoes before. I understand the empty feelings and the dread of feeling like your life is dark. Please don’t hurt yourself. You are loved and you are admired. I will gladly with honor be there for anyone who is contemplating suicide.

If you are too scared to say anything about your mental illness, I suggest finding at least one person who you can trust as a support system. There are also confidential groups on social media that you can join. These groups have helped me tremendously, because the people in these groups are just like you and I.

It is OK not to be Ok. Don’t beat yourself up over a bad day. You are worth it and your health is worth it. Take some guilt-free time for yourself. Practice self care and seek professional care for medication purposes. I’m here if you need me!



White woman curly hair portrait and headshot photographer standing confidently arm on hip wearing black top and earrings


Your life matters!

To book your own fabulous Portrait Session, contact us through the inquiry form below.


Much love,


International Award-Winning Portrait Photographer

White woman curly hair portrait and headshot photographer standing confidently arm on hip wearing black top and earrings

Brandi Stage is an international award-winning portrait photographer based in Bay St. Louis, MS. She creates an exceptional magazine-style photo shoot and timeless heirloom portraits for women, men, children and pets in her studio or on location.