Finding Confidence in a Bathtub

Self-love and confidence have, like many women, never been easy obstacles for me to overcome. Years of overbearing thoughts about weight loss and constant comparison to others have often left me feeling incredibly low. This is why I am still surprised I agreed to model at a bath shoot.

          Photo Credit: Becca Serena Model: Chantal Hermetz

On January 14th, Becca Serena, photographer and Editor-in-Chief at Her Campus Western, invited some friends and me to a Facebook event titled “Bath Shoot.” The event’s theme was Quentin Tarantino-inspired, with certain photos consisting of bloody tears and tinted black water.

          Photo Credit: Chantal Hermetz Model: Amy Scott

The event was created to be beneficial for whichever creative medium we wanted to work on (photography, video, modeling, makeup, etc). In the event description, Becca emphasized “this is all about empowerment.” Unwilling to step out of my comfort zone, I initially only signed up to be a photographer because (and I quote myself talking to myself) “I am the furthest thing from a model.” That voice, of course, is one that rarely sees herself as a strong and confident woman. Only when Becca approached me to consider participating in the modeling portion did I decide (and I continue to quote myself talking to myself) “fuck it, what do I have to lose?”

          Photo Credit: Becca Serena Model: Lauren Forster

There were seven of us the day of the shoot: Shelby Hayward (model and makeup artist), Amy Scott (model), Becca Serena (photographer, model, set provider), Ella Purtill (photographer), Helen Heikkila (photographer and model), Lauren Forster (model) and me. The bathroom was snug with all of us in it. Even with just four people it felt like we were at maximum capacity, but for the purpose of our shoot, it added a sense of comfort and familiarity.

We filled the bathtub with water first, then added soy milk to give the illusion of swampy waters. Next, the model would step in and fake flowers were placed around her. While the overarching theme remained Tarantino-esque, every scene varied in its color and flower placement. Lauren’s, Helen’s, Becca’s and Amy’s shots were lighter in bath water, but similar with the use of fake blood, whereas Shelby’s and mine were darker.

          Photo Credit: Chantal Hermetz Model: Shelby Hayward

          Photo Credit: Helen Heikkila Model: Becca Serena

Maybe it was because this was the first time I was shooting on a set in which I could compose the image I wanted to create, or maybe it was because the setting was quite vulnerable, but either way, the intimate interaction between camera, photographer and model made me realize the extent to which I had rarely been surrounded by women who proudly and openly accepted their bodies.

          Photo Credit: Chantal Hermetz Model: Amy Scott

          Photo Credit: Becca Serena Model: Helen Heikkila

          Photo Credit: Ella Purtill Model: Becca Serena

It felt incredibly empowering to set the flowers over the models and mutually trust that there was no judgement whatsoever. With every shot we took, we would pass the camera around the tiny bathroom and gasp “sooo beautifulllllll.”

Photo Credit: Becca Serena Model: Shelby Hayward

Within the majority of my friendships, we tend to poke fun at ourselves and criticize our bodies for humorous reasons. But there’s something to be said about how that affects our perception of ourselves. Joking is all fun and games until it becomes repetitive and, eventually, sticks with you.

          Photo Credit: Chantal Hermetz Model: Becca Serena

All this to say, I encourage you to challenge your insecurities and face them head on. People always say that body positivity means being comfortable in your own skin. I’ve never resonated with that. In fact, I may never feel comfortable in my own skin. But I love myself enough to know that growth and empowerment stems from rising above insecurities, which is something I will never stop working on. You shouldn’t either.

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