Anyone who knows me personally knows that I’m far from being a girly girl! My beauty routine is virtually non-existent and the extent of my makeup repertoire is a bit of mascara and some tinted moisturiser. Occasionally I might straighten my hair. In other words, I’m quite lazy and nonchalant when it comes to dressing and dolling myself up. I prefer the natural look!
Apart from taking photos flashing my bag in public, I certainly don’t consider myself a poser or exhibitionist, and I don’t like being the centre of attention!! When I saw the post on Facebook looking for volunteers aged from 30-40 for an Ostomy underwear shoot, even I was surprised I put my hand up!!! I was new to London, keen on trying new things and making new friends, so I thought, why not!!
The closer it got to the day the more nervous I felt.
The shoot was for White Rose collection who according to their website are the longest established specialist Ostomy clothing company in the world. “We bring you useful products to make life with a stoma more comfortable, including Ladies and Men’s ostomy underwear, ostomy swimwear and ostomy accessories. Suitable for people with an Ileostomy, Colostomy or Urostomy”.
When I arrived at the lovely Green Lens Studio, I was greeted by the awesomely creative Jasmine Stacey, the photographer Dan (Instagram dk__photos), Ellen from White Rose Collection and our beautiful hair and makeup artists. The male ostomy model Mark was also a first timer and although he’d never modelled before, he easily could pass for a model with that lovely smile of his 😊
It was all very well organised, and I felt I was in good hands. Everyone knew it was my first-time modelling so I would need some coaxing!
We had our hair and makeup done while Jasmine created a super cool set. I had more make up on my face in one sitting than I normally would combined over the whole year!! I felt very pampered, but not at all myself!! Everyone said how beautiful I looked (I really should make more of an effort in my daily life!), but I barely recognised myself! The combination of this plus not wearing my glasses (which have been a permanent fixture on my face for years) left me feeling rather foreign, and naked! And I was still fully clothed!
Once I got my kit off (so to speak – thank goodness I brought my little dressing gown), I took a deep breath, walked out of the changing room, and told myself I could do this!! And I did do it!!!!
I needed more than just a little coaxing and direction though! Jasmine was very sweet asking the others to go downstairs to help me relax a bit. She suggested and showed me some different poses and gave me some props to distract me. I tried to move freely, changing positions and relaxing my body (trying to get the vibe from the mood board Jasmine had emailed earlier in the week), but I was stiff with nervous tension and felt so awkward and unnatural. As my friend Stephie said, when it comes to modelling, I am honestly in the realm of bambi trying to walk when trying to pose!!!
By the end of the day (and it was a long day), I felt much more relaxed and comfortable with it all. I think I’d warmed up a bit, and we had a few laughs, some pizza for lunch (possibly not such a good idea, but my stoma thankfully behaved)! The most fun was doing the joint shoot with Mark (my favourite photo is probably this one with the two of us laughing). And I love that the photographer Dan hadn’t even realised he was doing a shoot for ostomates until half way through the day!
I was almost as nervous to see the photos when they came through a few weeks later. It took me a week to look at them! I was quite happy with the end result, at least from the neck down, which is the important bit for underwear I guess!! However, my facial expressions left a bit to be desired! Somehow my nerves and stress (and probably the fact I couldn’t see without my glasses) came across on my face like I was half way between wanting to kill someone or about to vomit!! The main thing is White Rose liked the photos, and it is all about them and the underwear!
I don’t have the perfect body, but who does?! I am all for positive body image with an ostomy and showing that an ostomy can and is still be very sexy. I’m glad I did the shoot. I tried something new and it was an experience a lot of people wouldn’t ordinarily get, but modelling does NOT come naturally to be that’s for sure. I’m proud to have pushed my comfort zone, but I think it will remain a one-time only experience! Thank you to White Rose for giving me the opportunity and for everyone involved in the day for their hard work and patience.
The White Rose collection is simple and functional, but elegant and comfortable everyday underwear. I especially like their Elegance range, the Tankini and Alicia swimsuits, and some of their nightwear. I found the inner pouch in the underwear (keeps your bag away from your skin, under control and stops it dropping down the leg line) a little strange but probably only because I am not used to it.
Please go check out their website: http://www.whiterosecollection.com/