When I made the decision to model, I was worried that I didn’t look like the other models that I had seen online and in curvy ads because that’s what I was used to seeing. It’s funny how our mind and body react to different emotions and experiences. I can be quite shy when i’m put on the spot in any occasion…especially when I’m not included in the plan lols. On the other hand, when I’m in my comfort zone, I can do anything! I’ve always wondered that about myself because this past weekend I did an impromptu nude shoot with renowned New York City photographer Jose Pagãn. Nude you ask? Yes! Me! An everyday full figured woman, nude, showing curves, stretch marks, beautiful chocolate skin, tattoos, belly and all. Luckily, I have worked with Jose in the past and I have already been witness to his work so I felt rest assured that his vision was going to fun and artistic! Lols! He created a head piece with draping beads attached to a white band… when he showed it to me.. In my mind, I’m like “how is this going to work?” Then, all I could think of was that episode of “Keeping up with the Kardashian’s” when Kim did the photoshoot in only pearls and then I thought, I could definitely rock this out! The color of the beads was a beautiful orange/tangerine color so I immediately knew it would look great on my skin tone. It made me think of the photos I see on IG pages like the_blackbeauties and Islandboiphotography….. the dark skin women featured are just gorgeous and I take inspiration from everything I see and experience. I have to say, I felt really free like I didn’t have a care in the world and was very much comfortable during the shoot. I didn’t think about what others would say or how I should move to hide my body because I accepted what God has blessed me with. Above all else, it made me feel great about myself and that self-assurance that I Can do anything I want! (I believe we need that from ourselves and others to push forward sometimes.)
After much needed self-reflection, I realized that my scars and flaws are only a portion of what makes me whole. My struggles and past experiences has molded me into the beautiful woman I am today. With these curves I can be me unconditionally! We are all made of different shades, shapes, sizes, and most have all. We have had our own struggles that make us who we are. We are not perfect, but being imperfect is divine. With that said.. I would like to take this time to encourage women to embrace themselves; fight for what makes you happy, free and liberated in the skin you’re in for the rest of your life!
"With these curves I can be me unconditionally!"
Shenelle is an aspiring plus model from Elizabeth, NJ. She is ready to take the print and runway industry by storm.
You can find her on Instagram @belle_du_jour