That’s why we get so excited when we see a nurse in the studio. These women are strong, fearless, and stunning in so many ways. And every nurse deserves a crown for the incredible things they do to care for complete strangers. But, as every royalty story goes, crowns aren’t given, they’re taken. And that’s why we’re honored to celebrate Nurses Week by telling Selena’s story.
But, before her royal boudoir session, Selena was a woman who found herself struggling with the concepts of self-care and self-love. Like many women in our society, she and her body had endured a challenging relationship since childhood.
“I danced all through my elementary school and high school and I ended up stopping in college because the experiences I had were kind of rough,” Selena said. “I was in a really competitive dance company; we had a downtown program that partnered with the Pennsylvania Ballet and everything. It was really high stakes all the time. And I mean, different from what I see today with young girls going into dance. When I was there, the dance competition world was body-image focused. If you ever watched the movie Center Stage, that was how hardcore our place was. So it really did a lot of damage to how I perceived myself, and how comfortable I perceived myself, and how comfortable I felt in my body. Even though I was a size two at that point, I still felt like I was the biggest person in the world. It was crazy.”
The unrealistic and unhealthy standards set by Selena’s dance company forced her to leave the competitive dance world behind her.
“Work was just out of control, crazy. I felt like I was drowning every day,” said Selena. “I really lost more and more focus with myself. And my body image got worse, because I had gained all this weight really rapidly. And I was stressing out about that.”
Selena was burnt out, physically and emotionally. It was time to make a change for the better.
“I needed to accept myself and feel comfortable and just live in the now,” she said.
Selena had been looking for healthier ways to cope with her emotions and body image, like going to therapy, keeping an affirmation journal, and meditating with positivity-reinforcing chants. She drew strength from her incredibly-supportive husband and friends and also stumbled across Silk & Lace Boudoir’s Facebook group.
Eventually, Selena had built enough confidence to buy a crown, which, to her, symbolized a huge step in her recovery from low self-esteem, and gave her a feeling more valuable than the Crown Jewels.
“I was shopping with some friends,” Selena said. “We went into this one shop in Old Town and they had these great corsets. I really wanted a corset, but then I saw this crown and I was like, “I REALLY like this crown.” But I was on the fence about buying it.
“I was like, alright, if I buy this crown, I’m going to schedule a boudoir shoot someday,” Selena said. “I don’t know when, but I’m going to do this, this crown will power me to do this.”
For two years, the crown sat on a shelf collecting dust… until one day, Selena saw a special and very rare flash sale announcement on Silk & Lace Boudoir’s Facebook page. She jumped on the opportunity immediately.
And it was. Just look at her dazzling photos.
“I’m a nurse,” Selena said. “That’s pretty much been my identity – doing a lot of things for and helping a lot of other people. One thing I’ve always struggled with is doing things for myself and being okay with doing something for myself. And it was just such an empowering feeling. Like, this is my decision, this is my choice. And this is for me. People get to enjoy the ripple effects afterwards. But this was mainly just for me. Part of me just felt so at peace too, weirdly in a way, like I soothed some inner part of my soul I didn’t know really needed this. Even before I saw the pictures, I put my crown on. And I could feel it. I felt like a queen, and I owned it. And that’s how I’m going to tackle stuff in my life.”
Selena’s advice to other women who are hesitant to take the plunge into the art of boudoir is simple: “Just do it! Maybe have a glass of wine before you make the decision, if that makes you feel better, but really, just do it! You’re going to look back on this. You’re going to look at your photos and remember this amazing feeling forever.”