2023 Bold Beautiful Perfect: Vivian
“I am who I am capable of becoming. If we are paralyzed by our past, then we cannot grow into the beautiful beings God has planned for us to be.“
Tell us about yourself, Vivian!
I am wife to an incredible man, Mom of two brilliant young women, and “Vivi” to my perfect “grands.” I am grateful to be turning 65 this year. I say that because I have so many precious friends who did not reach this milestone. I am a retired speech and debate teacher (finally–it took me three times to make retirement permanent). Most importantly, I am a daughter of the King! I am a living, breathing example of Jesus’ forgiveness, power, and love.
What parts of your story can you share to help women to understand their own beauty?
I am not what has happened to me, nor am I what I have accomplished; I am who I am capable of becoming. This realization has helped me to embrace my actual inner self. If we are paralyzed by our past, then we cannot grow into the beautiful beings God has planned for us to be.
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?
We lost all of our material possessions in Hurricane Camille when I was 10 years old. I vividly remember going from playing the lead in the school play (“ruling the school,” in my young mind) to having to work in the lunchroom in order to get a free lunch. This started a downward spiral for me–one of feeling “not good enough.” For the majority of my teenage and adult life, I got good at covering up my lack of self-esteem with an over-the-top personality. Later in life, the occasional glass of wine I would drink became 2 then 3–then, before I knew it–my Master.
I realized that this problem was something that I could not handle myself. Once I released it to my all powerful God, He worked a supernatural miracle in and through me. He gave me a new life that I did not even know existed. Because of Him, His love, His strength, His patience, I see myself as the unique and irreplaceable daughter-of-the King that I am. He has taught me to love myself–something that was horribly lacking in my life. And through the grace, love and forgiveness of my children, husband, and friends, I have found my way back home to serenity and sobriety.
Tell us about your experience with the photoshoot?
When Brandi called me, I wondered why I was selected–my past certainly was not pretty, and I was a potion of flaws and mistakes. Why would I be the one selected? I then realized that this project is not a polished version of showing the world what we want them to see (as so often social media is), but a real life scenario in which real women who have overcome real issues are featured. I realized that I had a story to tell, and with the soft prodding of God and the support of my family have finally, I will share my truth. I am honored and humbled that anyone might read or possibly grow from my life’s story.
Brandi is everything I hoped she would be. From the moment I met her, I realized that I had a new friend, yes, but one that would be there for a lifetime. There was no anticipated awkwardness to the process–actually, there were times I thought I would split my pants from laughing. Brandi is a gift. Her talent is daunting, but her kindness, humility, and obvious care is what draws you to her. I arrived a stranger and left a sister.
Is there anything else you would like to share?
Be careful what you pray for. God may answer your prayers in ways you do not expect. I wanted my “mess to be my message” and, in my heart, I knew that other women were experiencing the pain of their past. I needed them to know that the only way to true freedom is through a realization that we are totally out of control. Only when we release this control to the God of the Universe can we be truly free.
The other thing I would like to share is that I believe women should truly embrace other women–competition for who has the best this or that must stop. We must embrace our frailties, humanness and foibles. We need to look at and embrace one another as the beautiful entities that we and they are.
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.