Sarah Roche approached me with a big smile on her face but I could tell she was apprehensive and she seemed like she wasn’t quite sure what to do without a baby in her arms or a child clinging to her pants leg. When we started to do hair and makeup she giggled telling me she could not remember the last time she had her hair out of the standard knotted bun in the back of her head or worn makeup.
I told her she reminded me of the famous Bottecelli “Birth of Venus” image, or a regal princess from the time of King Arthur (sometimes I get carried away but I’m serious on this one) and so… at one point we even photographed her laying with seashells, and If we’d had a crown on hand we would have used it. In any case- without the knot, the baby, and the kiddie boogers, she cleans up pretty well ;)
TRP: Would you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Sarah: I’m Sarah, My husband and I have two awesome little girls that pretty much take up all of my time right now…so thats what I’ve been up to for the past five years. I love good music, and good food and spending time with close family and friends.
TRP: What is the biggest challenge that’s ever faced you as a woman?
Sarah: Becoming a mother. I have two amazing daughters, a five year old and a two year old who both really know how to challenge me and both really know how to make me laugh!
TRP: What are some of the issues that you think are important to explore as it relates to being female?
Sarah: There are so many… but in relation to this I think in general we need to be more supportive and less critical of one another. It’s amazing what women can do when they feel they have the support of their sisters, girl friends, and mothers- we all have our struggles that we are dealing with, whether or not it is apparent on the outside. Sometimes those of us who seem to have it the most ‘together” really don’t, and having the support of other women in your life can make all the difference.
TRP: What’s your idea of a great “girls night?”
Sarah: Wine and desert with some close friends.
TRP: Is there anything in particular that made you feel like being part of The Revelation Project was a good idea right now?
Sarah: Yes. A close friend of mine took part in The Revelation Project and my husband and I were looking through her beautiful pictures. I was admiring her pics and my husband turns to me and says “You should do this” …I didn’t agree. It did get me thinking though, about how I see myself, about how I thought others percieved me, about how since becoming a parent it just didn’t feel ok to have the focus be on me – at all, about how I felt that my friend was so worthy of this photo shoot but not me…and about how no one had made me feel this way except me. My thirty second birthday was coming up and my husband and parents offered to “treat” me to this, if it was what I really wanted. I realized that it was.
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?
Sarah: I almost cancelled the night before. For two reasons, one being that I hadn’t been getting any sleep lately and felt that no amount of makeup and fancy photo lenses would be able to wipe away the exhausted look to me…seriously I don’t think I’ve had a full nights sleep in five years… (and did I really want to chronicle that forever in photos that would be posted for all to see?) The other reason was that I felt like I shouldn’t do it. Basically I felt like “who am I to do this?” I didn’t want to be seen as narcissistic and I felt like I didn’t “deserve” to get these done.. I hadn’t reached a significant age, milestone,or attained some life changing goal. When I told this to my husband he asked me if I felt like the other women who had done The Revelation Project were narcissistic. No, I didn’t . He pointed out that I spent most of my time taking care of everybody else and reminded me that I was important too, and that that was part of the reason that I had decided to do this thing in the first place. He had a good point. Why did I need a major life changing reason, why not just do it for myself, because I’m important too and you know what, it might be really fun! I don’t think I knew quite what to expect as an outcome, I was just hopeful that Monica and Robyn could make me look rested, at least somewhat.
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?
Sarah: I was a little nervous but Monica and Robyn have this chemistry that is just amazing. They are absolutley hysterical to watch together, which made me feel relaxed and let down my guard. It was a lot of fun and not like anything I had ever done before!
TRP: Can you describe in three words the way you felt before we shot?
Sarah: Anxious, excited, hopeful
TRP: Three words for after?
Sarah: Energized, happy, hopeful
TRP: Three words for when you saw the results?
Sarah: Amazed, bashful, relieved
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?
Sarah: What an awesome experience! At this point I wasn’t even thinking about the photos, just that I had had such a fun time and felt, well, very…pretty. The actual taking of the photos was really a good portion of this experience for me- I felt more confident after I left, but then again how could i not after those two primping, “zhooshing”, and telling me how beautiful I looked… not to mention spending a few hours hanging out with two hysterially funny, real, awesome women. Whether youre a mother or not, I feel like in general women spend a lot of their time taking care of those around us, and when all the attention is on you it can be really rejuvinating.
TRP: When you saw the results can you tell me your first impression?
Sarah: I was amazed. I looked so confident, and I felt like it was a side of myself I havent seen in some time.
TRP: Can you talk about the feedback you received from those who saw your photographs?
Sarah: Seeing my husbands reaction to the photos was wonderful…he loved them. But something I didn’t take into account was how good it would feel to get such positive feedback from other women…I feel like most women (and I am just as much to blame) can all be so critical, of ourselves, and of other women. We are our worst critics. Thats part of what I loved about doing this project, I feel like I have joined this community of women who are encouraging and supportive of each other. Each time I see another women’s new photos posted, I feel like saying “you rock! Good for you for taking the chance to feel beautiful!”
TRP: What are some words you would use to describe how you were feeling throughout the shoot?
Sarah: Giddy, silly, shy, and beautiful
TRP: Did you learn anything new about yourself from the experience?
Sarah: I’m starting to appreciate things in myself that when I was younger I used to see as flaws.
TRP: Did you feel empowered? Why? Why not?
Sarah: Yes, in the sense that I was doing something just for me, and learning that that was ok.
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?
Sarah: I have felt more confident…I certainly do not look like the woman in those photos on a day to day basis, but I am reminded that that side of me is there…
TRP: Do you think this was an important/valuable experience for yourself? Why? Sarah: Yes, because I saw myself in a light that I have not seen in a long time, and I love being connected with all these other supportive women involved in the Revelation Project.
TRP: Do you think it’s relevant for other women? Why?
Sarah: Yes, I really feel that confidence is about how YOU FEEL about yourself, not how you look, but I also feel that if you can step away from yourself for a moment and litterally see yourself in a different light that you can gain confidence in seeing this side of yourself. Whether it be the firecenes in your eyes, the confidence in your pose (that you had forgotten you had) or just seeing yourself without baby spitup and boogers wiped across your shirt (ahem) it can change your own perspective of yourself which can then in turn change the way you are viewing yourself in the world… I think that the participating in The Revelation Project can help you do that.
TRP: How would you use the photos moving forward? professionally? personally? as gifts?
Sarah: You know, I’m not sure yet. I think that this was more about the experience for me, and seeing the results. Viewing myself outside of my “Mama” mode.
TRP: What is your favorite song and why?
Sarah: Home by Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros, the up beat music and because its how I feel about my husband and my girls. (Its also my oldest daughters favorite song too)
TRP: If you could sum up the experience what would you say?
Sarah: I got my pictures done, but it was more than that, it was an uplifting, just- for- me- girl- time that was really good for my soul…and now I’m connected to this awesome group of supportive women who were willing to take the risk and do something to make themselves feel confident and beautiful. I feel we all really need this on some level, some more than others. I have a few friends who I really wish would do this.
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?
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond all measure. It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not… serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that others do not feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine as children do. We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us it is in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fears, our presence automatically liberates others.” ~ Marianne Williamson
”my wish, my hope for women everywhere is that they remember who they truly are & why they’ve come into this world & that they never again apologize for being too much or too loud or too big or too anything ~ that instead they choose to live as potently & powerfully & abundantly & as sexually as what moves their own soul & that they …empower themselves & learn from their own journey both the light & the dark; that they never, ever again diminish or devalue another woman on this path. the more women can shine, the more space there is for light, so if we see a woman on the path that is just stunning & beautiful & brilliant & wise, let’s celebrate her even when we don’t feel that ourselves
let’s celebrate her & stand for her & let her rip through the ceiling of disconnection so that she can help create space for us when we’re ready to burst through, as well. my wish is that all of us learn to truly love all aspects of our being, both the parts of us that are joyful & brilliant & funny, but also, the parts of us that are scared & insecure & doubtful & ashamed & allow for those delicate & tender parts of our own nature to become excavated & loved so that we could heal it because if we can heal it in our own heart then we can love it in each other’s heart & that is really when this world will change & i believe as women, we can.
we’re the creators, the poets, the priestesses, we’re the lovers, we’re the mothers & I believe that when we touch that power that’s within ourselves then the way that we raise our families & the way that we communicate & create will reflect that light & that light is abundant & my hope is that me & you & your children & all the children & all the women out there can remember this when they are feeling disconnected & instead, say “yes” to the beauty that is within & let that beauty motivate every word & every choice”