“I’ve regained my confidence and my spirit has been lifted by the positive relationships I’ve made. I don’t ever want to sit and wait on death. Go find your own happiness!” – Bernadine

Today on the blog, we are sharing an essay from our lovely BBP, Bernadine! Enjoy!

My name is Bernadine Wilson Simmons. I’m from a small community in Harrison County in Gulfport, MS. I was lucky enough to become a teacher at age 34 to educate children in that same small community. Many students at my school were relatives (including my boys who hated it, of course – mama found out everything!)

It was one of the best times of my life. It saved me from the grief of losing my youngest son, who was killed in an auto accident. Now, my husband and I are retired. His Parkinson’s Disease has progressed over the past 12 years, so I take care of it. I also have my ill aunt to attend to. Becoming a caregiver has been the hardest job by far. It has changed my whole life and my future.



I tried for many years to stay involved in my usual clubs and activities, but eventually most of my activities were replaced by doctor visits. I stayed busy working, but I didn’t realize I had stopped working on me. Around the time I turned 60, I visited a girlfriend who was dying from cancer (we share a birthday). She died that year. I finally realized that I had been dying too.

I had become someone else. I had always been a caregiver, but it had taken over my life. I was always doing what I thought was expected of me, no matter what I wanted. I lost my self worth, spirit, and confidence. I no longer had fun or experienced joy; I just existed.



I realized that I had no control over my husband’s illness, nor when he or I would die. There was a good chance that I would outlive him, so why was I living as if I was dying?

I began to exercise, I lost weight, and I made great friends that made me feel good about myself again. One of those friends was a photographer who I started modeling for. I started seeing myself differently and I liked it. Soon I was going to photo shoots and applying to senior model agencies.



I have regained my confidence and my spirit has been lifted by the positive relationships I’ve made. I don’t ever want to sit and wait on death. I’m still able to do most of what I want and enjoy doing.

All of these events led me to Brandi and being accepted to her Bold Beautiful + Perfect project. I had the best professional experience of my life. Brandi helped me find my inner light. I felt like I was shining on a rainy day!

My peers, please listen to me and Mrs. Brandi. You are so worthy! Go find your own happiness. People may judge you and your choices, but remember there is only one True Judge. Remember that inner beauty comes from your heart. The heart is as beautiful as you want it to be.




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


Shine your inner light!

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Much love,


International Award-Winning Portrait Photographer