Denise is a people person- she loves people and people love her.
Drawn to The Revelation Project after seeing the TRP photos of her friend and colleague Tami Silver, Denise was unsure what to expect, and seemed hesitant when she first arrived. As soon as she got a little more comfortable the thing I noticed right away is her positive energy- and whatever the morning would bring- she was game. In fact, she left to run home and get some of her own props so we could photograph her with a few of her own belongings which were sentimental from her travels throughout indonesia. Sometimes- the project has this ability to create what I will call immediate “openings” in people – and so what is revealed can be rather magical. Denise had some pretty amazing epiphanies about herself that day and kept saying “you guys are amazing!” but we reminded her that it was she who was doing all the work…. we were just there to document and observe… and of course, what we captured was the beautiful, positive, and vibrant energy of a Woman who has given herself permission to just “be” her. Thank you Denise, it was an honor; we love you.
TRP: Would you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Denise: I’m 50 yrs old, wife and mother of 2, and work at the local YMCA . But these things really don’t say much about me at all. I am happy, I am healthy, I am strong, I am loving and I am loved. I like to think I’m good at what I do. I am fortunate in more ways than I can count, and I am grateful for all I have been blessed with.
TRP: What is the biggest challenge that’s ever faced you as a woman?
TRP: What are some of the issues that you think are important to explore as it relates to our gender?
Denise: Self awareness, self assurance, self love. learning to let go of the need for external validation.
TRP: What’s your idea of a great “girls night?”
Denise: Doing anything, anywhere, anyhow, with women whose company I enjoy.
TRP: Is there anything in particular that made you feel like being part of the Revelation Project was a good idea right now?
Denise: I liked what I heard about the project itself, and wanted to be a part of it, plus I thought it sounded like something that might be good for me. (the drop-dead gorgeous photos I’d seen of the other women helped, too!)
About the shoot:
TRP: What did you think about the approach of the upcoming photo shoot (before you got there) and what were the results you were expecting?
Denise: I didn’t know or expect too much before I got there. I figured the approach would be different than your average photo shoot. The results I expected were “some really nice photos of myself.”
TRP: How did you feel during the shoot and was there anything in particular that made you feel more or less relaxed or open to the process?
Denise: Mixed emotions of varying intensity during the shoot. The girls were what made me feel more relaxed. Of course the atmosphere, comfy gorgeous home, music, etc all contributed, but it was definitely these two women, their energy, understanding, patience, and belief in what they are doing that worked the magic of the day.
TRP: Can you describe in three words the way you felt before we shot?
Denise: Unsure, intrigued, open
TRP: Three words for after?
Denise: just one word – I felt like “ME”
TRP: Three words for when you saw the results?
Denise: Pleased, proud, powerful
TRP: After you left but before you saw the results – did you have any thoughts about the experience? What were some of the things you thought about on the drive home?
Denise: Mostly just “wow” — it’s only been one day since, and I’m still trying to figure out what just happened. I’m mostly opting to just enjoy this feeling rather than analyze it.
Denise a couple weeks later : As it turned out, my wait was a little longer than expected, as one of the photographers was involved in a terrible accident, and simply (understandably) couldn’t get to the editing any sooner. I won’t say the wait wasn’t difficult, but I do believe it made this whole experience more meaningful. By not seeing the final product too soon, I had more time to digest the process. As over-the-moon-happy as I am with the results, I get that the photos are a beautiful piece of a much bigger picture…
TRP: When you saw the results can you tell me your first impression?
Denise: “I really do look WAY better when I smile!” There are a few shots that capture a look that I am not familiar with, which made me a little uncomfortable at first (all right – maybe a little more than just a little). But that’s ok – in fact, it’s good. It’s ME!
TRP: Can you talk about the feedback you received from those who saw your photographs?
Denise: so many wonderful, supportive, compliments – but what touched me most was what 2 of my dearest, closest friends said. It’s Interesting because they both mentioned how the photos “captured” me, and that they could “hear me laughing” in them. Funny how your friends just know…
TRP: What are some words you would use to describe how you were feeling throughout the shoot?
Denise: Exposed, vulnerable, naked, – and I say these words in the most positive way. as if layers were being peeled off, exposing “me”
TRP: Did you learn anything new about yourself from the experience?
Denise: Not so much new, but some old familiar feelings that I had left behind somewhere seemed to come rushing back to me, like long-lost (but not completely forgotten) friends.
TRP: Did you feel empowered? Why? Why not?
Denise: Yes. I still can’t figure out why – I guess it’s just this process. I was somehow “brought back” to a place where I once felt more empowered. I was reminded of who I am, and how I got here. After the photos were posted, and the comments (and compliments!) started rolling in, I began to realize how powerful this whole project is – on so many levels. I know it took some guts to put myself out there, for the whole world to see – I took a risk, I came out ok, and for that I’m proud. Now I’m feeling like a part of something big, something with such potential to touch women everywhere – and that, too, is empowering.
TRP: Since the shoot happened -can you talk about the lasting impact of the experience? Has it altered the way you view yourself or your surroundings?
Denise: It’s early yet, but I do believe this experience will have a lasting positive effect on me and how I view my life. Time will tell…not so much a “change” as a “strengthening”. Taking who I am, what I have, where I’ve been and where I’m headed – and embracing it, accepting it, loving it…
TRP: Do you think this was an important/valuable experience for yourself? Why?
Denise: Absolutely. It was 3 hours of just ME, for me. I’m reminded of the value of taking time for my “self”.
TRP: Do you think it’s relevant for other women? Why?
Denise: Absolutely – how often do we, as women, ever spend such an extended period of time solely on our “selves”- and more specifically – time spent exploring, examining, and sharing our selves?
TRP: How would you use the photos moving forward? Professionally? Personally? As gifts?
Denise: Not sure yet
TRP: What is your favorite song and why?
Denise: Wonderful World – either the Louis Armstrong or the Isreal Kamamawiwo’ole version. It’s totally sappy, but I love it all the same. and it’s true – it IS a wonderful world! plus the IZ version reminds me of Hawaii and “I can see clearly now” (Jimmy Cliff) is suddenly touching me, too….
TRP: If you could sum up the experience what would you say?
Denise: REVEALING! In SOOO many ways!
TRP: If someone were on the fence about doing it is there anything you would tell them about the experience or say to encourage them?
Denise: “Just do it”- PLEASE!
To sign up to be a part of The Revelation Project please contact Monica Rodgers @ firstname.lastname@example.org