2021 Bold Beautiful Perfect: Rachel
“Inner beauty means knowing yourself at your core, pushing through rough times and bad hair days, and having faith in what lies in store for you.”
Tell us about yourself, Rachel!
I’m a wife, mother, entrepreneur, and creative sprit. I enjoy using my creative side to entertain my kids, create photographic memories, write articles for our local Moms’ blog, and provide marketing services for my favorite clients. For a long time I felt like I had to pick one thing to be, and so I did. It never really felt like me and I knew there was a lot missing. Now that I know myself better, I understand that I’m most fulfilled when I’m writing, creating, dancing, traveling, teaching, loving, and figuring out what I want to tackle next! My children are my reason for it all: my two daughters, step-son, and baby boy. It’s because of them that I know I can do anything.
How did you come to understand your inner beauty?
In my early 30s I experienced a devastating heartbreak that shook me to my core. With great sadness and a tremendous amount of faith, I went pretty deeply into self-reflection. I was humbled, embarrassed, lonely, and disoriented. Who even was I anymore, and where would I go from here? In the stillness of those first few months after my divorce, two things became abundantly clear to me. 1: I was a strong and powerful force who could be an amazing mother and provide a life for my kids that offered positivity, warmth, and love. (I do believe that my role as a mother gave me the confidence to get through that really difficult time.) 2: I had an overwhelming feeling that God had more in store for me. I just knew it in my core and always believed that He would carry me through. Because of this faith (and new-found strength), I found ways to feel beautiful for myself – both inside and out. I exercised often and tried to eat well. I took breaks to enjoy laughter with friends and other stress-relieving activities. I found clothes that made me feel confident and energetic. I listened when the Lord told me there was more for me. I got to know myself REALLY well and begun to understand exactly what I wanted for my life. Fast-forward to today, at almost 39, I’ve found so much comfort in my own skin. I’m remarried now to my husband who has always seen me for who I am, who appreciates my multi-faceted approach to life, and who has helped me to form the beautiful family I always wanted. Inner beauty means knowing yourself at your core, pushing through rough times and bad hair days, and having faith in what lies in store for you.
What parts of your story can you share to help women to understand their own beauty?
I feel like I had to get really raw myself after my divorce. It was almost like I had to make a list of the worst and best things about myself, then scratch off the yucky stuff and plow forward with the positives. In many ways, it gave me the chance to dive deeply into what brought me joy and what I really wanted to be as an individual, as a professional, and as a partner. I created boundaries where I needed to, and I opened up where I needed to. Maybe it was because I got really honest about my emotional and mental self, it helped me to connect with my physical self. I did the little things that all added up to feeling really good about who I was: I moved my body often, found a great makeup foundation, explored great products for my hair, tried new things and went new places. I explored what made me feel good and tried to capitalize on that! I also walked away from some of the toxic areas of my life that made me feel de-valued and stifled my joy. I found the people who brought me happiness and laughter, loyalty, motivation, and light.
Tell us about your experience with the photo shoot.
The photoshoot with Brandi was so much fun! It started off with an amazing hair and makeup session (which I rarely ever do for myself). It was so relaxing to just sit still and be pampered! Brandi and I hit it off right away! We laughed a lot and had great conversation throughout the photoshoot. She’s a pleasure to be around, and she’s an amazing guide in posing and positioning for the shoot. I loved learning from her and seeing what she could create. I got to see the proofs that day, and was pretty amazed at how incredibly she captured me and made me feel like myself, only elevated. It was a really awesome experience, and I feel really blessed to be part of this project. Thank you for an amazing day, Brandi!
I feel honored to have been selected out of several thousand applicants! For me, the shoot meant spending the entire day on myself, which is a rarity! I felt pampered and spoiled and excited to see what the images would look like! I talk to a lot of women who have experienced something similar to me and are struggling to find hope. By being selected, I hope I can share my story in a way that delivers the message: God’s got you and there’s nothing off limits when it comes to Him.
Anything else you would like to share?
Inner beauty and outer beauty go hand in hand. I would encourage any woman to figure out the things you would like to work on and then dedicate time in your week for self-improvement. If you want to learn a new skill, start going on walks, or begin a skincare regimen. You can do it! It might seem silly or insignificant at first, but little things add up to really big things. The better you feel about yourself, the more impact you can have on the world and the lives of the people around you. With great beauty, there is power.
You are more beautiful than you know!
To book your own fabulous Portrait Session, contact us through the inquiry form below.
International Award-Winning Portrait Photographer
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.