Wednesday, May 11, 2011


Life Shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage. – Anais Nin (Diary 1969)

What is courage? The dictionary definition is “a quality of spirit that enables you to face danger or pain without showing fear”.

Carlene, the current Goddess of the Month is an amazing example of a woman with an enormous amount of courage. Most of the time, Carlene’s courage and energy is spent on being the dedicated Mother of not one, but three special needs children. Every day she has to wake up so that she can navigate the world for her children leaving very little time for herself.

I was very flattered when with what little time she does take for herself she chose to do a pin-up shoot with me.

When I asked Carlene to be Goddess of the month, she replied, “I’m a bit hesitant since I’m usually so hard on myself”. I’ve heard Carlene’s inner critic… the first time I photographed her it was very apparent, she was nervous and insecure and made everyone go out of the room as we shot. However, the most recent time that I photographed her, she was quite transformed and her confidence had blossomed. Though her inner critic was probably still in attendance, (as our inner self-critics often are) she had silenced it with her courage.

Once again Carlene draws from her unwavering courage to share her story:

Courage is something I'm still working on, however, being the Mom of three special needs children has definitely given me the courage and strength to do things I never thought I would, including my pinup shoots. My children, although extremely beautiful on the outside, have taught me that what's on the inside is what true beauty is. I have never thought of myself as a "Goddess" but my experience during my shoot brought out my inner beauty Goddess (and thanks to Isis for helping bring that out in me!). It's such a sexy, glamorous, and confidence-building adventure that every woman, especially moms, should experience!

"Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it's better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring."
— Marilyn Monroe

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Who deserves it the most??

I've had this competition on my facebook page... and it ends on April 30th.
Basically women had to write in and say why they should be the person to win a private boudoir shoot with me, valued at $700.00

It is all spread out like crazy and you really have to scroll down to read the entries. So now that it is getting close to the end of the competition... I have decided to post them on my blog here so that you can read them all in one fell swoop... and then go over to my facebook page... find the name of the girl you would like to vote for... and vote by 'liking'.
my facebook page link is!/pages/For-them-or-for-you/75307627461
Get over there and vote for the girl you think deserves it most! Warning... the competition is fierce!!

Jenny Segara
So i had to weigh in on this. I believe its for them and for me! Most of my childhood years were spent being the sarcastic, funny girl that was friends with all the tastiest "thems" out there. Nobody ever wanted to be involved with me. After high school i moved out to Albany and though i never felt more lost I ended up finding myself. I had plenty of fun and built my confidence through the years. It was a hard road but i always say that you have to make mistakes in order to learn from them and i live life without regret. I also feel so lucky to have met a man (that i am marrying next year) that complements me and accepts me for exactly what i am. Even when i am sick and feel disgusting he looks at me and tells me how beautiful i am. Now i do not NEED that as i have come to terms with my inner beauty and believe that i am a good person inside and out but it is always a good thing to hear. Plus I am representing for the big girls as i always think that since we have twice the body mass we also have twice the personality! I would be honored to be shot by Isis as i would love the opportunity to feel as sexy, confident and beautiful as i feel on the inside!

Jasmine Van Brunt
I have been debating submitting an entry for quite a while. You see, I am not what one would call a “sharer.” But, I guess now’s as good a time as any! Last May I was forcibly hospitalized. After being in a fair amount of pain for months, I drove myself to the emergency room. Despite my assurances that I possessed an extensive knowledge of medicine gleaned from T.V., the hospital would not let me leave and admitted me for a week. After months of misdiagnosis, doctor appointments, specialist appointments, scans of all kinds, etc., I was told I had cancer. The recommendation… a complete hysterectomy.

I have two amazingly beautiful boys, a small network of extremely supportive family and friends, so why did I feel completely lost and alone? I suppose I felt as if I was losing everything that made me a woman. When all was said and done, I was left with scars crisscrossing my abdomen, a seriously infuriating case of surgically induced menopause, and twenty or so years worth of hormone prescriptions. In the mean time, the cancer has spread to my abdominal wall and bladder.

But, I assure you this is not a sob story! I will never again have to buy a box of tampons! Everyday, I get to wake up! Everyday, I get to enjoy my wonderfully entertaining boys. I have discovered that the inherent simplicity in all things is devastatingly beautiful.

While I am not afraid of what is to come, there are still times when my heart and body aches for the woman I used to be. I want to be able to look at myself and revel in the woman I have become, not mourn what was lost. I do not know if Isis’ contest would help, but then I remember her art. The women in her photographs are strikingly beautiful in their strength and seemingly at peace within their own skin. That is all I could hope for.

Shannon VanKuren
I am one of Isis’s biggest fans. I don’t have a problem getting naked. I’m pretty pleased with my overall package. I think every woman should have the opportunity to feel that way and I know that with a little help from Isis every woman can. That is why I am one of her biggest promoters. I primarily use her photos as my profile pictures on facebook. Every time I get a compliment it sparks a conversation about the fabulous Isis and how she can do the same for the person making the compliment. I talk about her to women all the time. When she first started boudoir photography I was one of her first clients. When she had the idea to do a class on Pin Up I wanted to be there to support her. I threw a Boudoir Bachelorette party at her studio before my wedding. I have an annual Pin Up Party at my house that is going to be turning bi-annual this year. I believe every woman should see herself through Isis’s lens and I am open enough and confident enough to share my belief. I have been very successful at giving my friends the encouragement that they need to step outside the box that they have put themselves in and to try something new, brave and empowering. I am a master of fanning that little spark of “maybe I can” within them and it makes me so happy and proud of each and every one of them. So why do I deserve to get in front of that camera (again)? Because I would really love some one on one time with Isis. I haven’t had a private shoot with her in over 7 years and that was done as a present for my (now) husband. For Them or For You…most of my “for them” has been for my friends. I love entertaining but it’s a lot of work. There are the invites, the phone calls, the shopping trips and confirmations, even driving to pick people up on occasion. Not to mention prepping several areas of your house for a sexy boudoir shoot *and* a party, in addition to encouraging those who might change their mind at the last minute; bolstering their courage, letting them know that they can do it and should. These are not complaints, just facts about something I enjoy and will continue to do year after year because I love hearing about how much fun my friends had. It thrills me when I see my friends having Pin Up Parties of their own and how they want to share that wonderful girly time with people they care about. I would just really love to do it for me, just once.

Laura Domholt
This is a huge year for me! After being together for an amazing 9 years, my fiancé and I are finally getting married! 3 ½ years ago, we both made huge decisions in our lives, and decided to follow our passions, which took us to different of the country. We each left Minnesota, he to go to film school in Chicago, and me to work at my dream job in Upstate New York. Moving that far away from family and friends was difficult enough on its own, but moving away from my other half was nearly unbearable. We knew that the next four years would be extremely difficult, but at the same time, we knew these were opportunities that we couldn’t let pass us by.
These past few years have definitely been trying at times. With paying for a wedding and college tuition, money for air fare is hard to come by and we usually only have weekend visits every few months. These visits never seem long enough and sometimes feel years apart. Saying good-bye again is always hard, but as we get closer to our wedding, it’s starting to get easier. We are in the final stretch before the wedding in July, and I have succeeded in putting my exercise routine into high gear! My fiancé has always loved my figure and told me so, but when I finally walk down the aisle towards him, I want to completely blow him away. Even though I embrace my curves, my pending nuptials have amped up my determination to finally get in shape.
After living apart for so long, I want the opportunity to do something really special for my fiancé before our wedding. A boudoir session would be something “for him” and “for me”. I would have the opportunity to reward my hard work and celebrate my body, while at the same time create something really unique and special for my fiancé. I have perused through Iris’s amazing photo galleries numerous times, and having the opportunity to create my own would be a dream come true!

Jessica Nadeau Baldwin
I would love to see myself as beautiful. My husband tells me all the time that I am, but I look in the mirror and I cant help but critisize myself.
I try to be as beautiful as possible on the inside. I hardly ever do for myself. Always others come first. Christ, I walk around with holes in my socks, because I think of my family and their needs before my own.
Its actually very awkward for me to be writing this right now. I don't have a sob story or anything like that. I'm just a very self conscious woman,like a lot of women are. Society makes us that way unfortunately. I'm actually glad that I didn't have any girls, because it would be so hard to deal with society constantly pushing them down. I'm sure it happens with boys too, but girls a very different. Very impressionable.
I was when I was younger. I never really knew who I was, until just a few years ago. I had to move around a lot when I was younger and finally when we settled I was going into high school. Everyone already has their friends in high school. My school was very clicky. (I'm sure all of them are) But I never really formed any relationships except for a couple select few. I had my first son at 20 and was married to my best friend at 21.
Just kind of going through the motions for years. I battled depression for a while, and lost a baby. I am an Army wife. My husband tells me I'm in the Army too. Haha. Although I do feel that I have found myself, I also still am very critical of myself. Ive battled with my weight for years. Ever since having my first son really. I'm the queen of weight watchers. You'd think I'd be rail thin. haha..
Basically it all comes down to wanting to see what my husband says he sees. He loves me so much and we have been through a lot over the years. If I won, I'd probably be very uncomfortable doing the shoot, but I would get through it to see the end result.
You're a fantastic photographer and these women in your pictures are all beautiful!
Thanks for the opportunity,

Patti Gibbons
I am 53- an age where plastic surgery and other procedures can make me look 10 years or more younger. Friends who have had botox or other procedures - keep telling me that I will feel so wonderful if I do these injections. Yet the little voice in my head tells me that I am beautiful the way I am. It is a tough battle to fight when so many older women make themselves so many years younger. Yet it is fake. I am not a fake. If nothing else, I hope some of you read this entry and love who you are, at every moment in time. I did a pin up shoot once with Isis and it was one of the most liberating, FUN, and amazing things I ever did. I can't imagine how incredible a private shoot would be. For those who win this certificate, enjoy every second.....and cherish who you are. Only one of you was made, and you all have the beauty of individuality. xxxxx p

Erin Blondin
‎"for them or for you"... what a perfect name for this. Its a question I ask myself probably more then I should. Its in my nature to do things "for them" first and then me, second. I enjoy the feeling I get when I help a friend or family member. It can be something as simple as recommending a good hairdresser, giving someone a recipe I love, or something more complex, like being being a shoulder to cry on and the voice of reason during a time of doubt. Sometimes I think I go out of my way for other people because it helps me avoid looking at myself. If I'm focusing on someone else, I don't have to "work" on me. I've always been self conscious, as many women are. When I look in the mirror, i don't see what my boyfriend, my friends and my family say they see. I see plain, boring, bloated, ordinary Erin. I'm very critical of myself both physically and mentally. Being somewhat of an artist, I am my very own worse critic.
Putting it simply, if i get the opportunity to shoot with Isis, it's about ME. It's a chance to be a little selfish and take some time for myself. A chance to maybe see through the eyes of other people via the camera lens. I know there is a pretty good and decent person inside that is not always so visible on the outside. It would be a breath of fresh air to actually see that person for myself.
Even writing this makes me feel weird because I'm not the type of person who likes to focus on themselves. I feel narcissistic. But, then again, maybe a small dose of that would be good every now and then.

Kelly Reynolds
Who is the most deserving? Probably someone who has not yet experienced the wonders of being photographed by Isis. Frankly, I'm working in a job where I can not be my unique self. I went from being able to express myself freely with wardrobe and attitude to having to wear certain pants, shirts, and feeling like a corporate drone. I feel as though my individuality and spark has been smothered. Perhaps being spoiled by my former employee has altered my perception of reality, but I'm tired of not feeling sexy, unique, valued for what I do, or remotely seen for who I truly am!

Sandra Edgecomb McCormick
Contest Entry. "How old would you be if you didn't know how old you are" Satchel Paige
Recently I looked in the mirror and was surprised at who was looking back at me. On the inside my thoughts and feeling are the same as when I was young. I... still expect to see that same reflection in the mirror but sadly the young me is not there. I am not old. I am not young. I am 45. The satchel Paige quote is one of my favorites. I don't think if given the choice I would assign an age to myself. That being said my body doesn't know this. My body continues changing and aging. I miss my girlish perky breast. My flat smooth skinned before children stomach. I miss my youthful glow. I miss my youthful optimistic outlook on the world. I want to grow old gracefully. I want to embrace this older body but It is not easy.My body is changing but my mind is not. I know what my body was and what it is now not. The thought of a pin up photo shoot is exciting! Just maybe this changing body could be seen in a different light.

Jessica Fisher
The trouble with writing this is that my life is not a tragedy. Far from it. In my scant three decades on this Earth, I have seen challenges and overcome them. I put myself through college twice, learned the craft of welding in the US Navy, earned a yon-kyu (purple belt) in Shotokan Karate, learned how to bake, how to sew, how to paint and write and sculpt. I am happily married to my college sweetheart and I’m working my way to a master’s degree. Friends compare my life to an ice-cream sundae.

But when I look in the mirror…I don’t see any of that. I see imperfections. I see fat. I see, well, probably what any woman sees. And that’s the problem. Just like so many others, I can’t help but compare myself to the airbrushed supermodels we are bombarded with. I can’t see what my husband sees. I can’t see the woman he adores, that he lusts after. And because I’m so bothered by the woman in the mirror, I find it sometimes impossible to accept how he feels about me. The implications are dizzying and painful.

I want to see what he sees. I want to see myself through the lens, to stand apart from myself and see myself freed of my own endless self-criticisms. I want to be able to look my husband in the eye and know once and for all that my man’s endless complements are true. I need to see all that is right with me, rather than what is wrong. And, most importantly, I want to show him that I’m ready to start seeing myself in a new light.

The sundae is still delicious without the cherry on top, but the truth is I want that damn cherry so bad it hurts.

Jan Lauren Greenfield
I had the chance to be photographed by Isis at her studio in the Hudson Valley as part of one of her pin-up classes. In the same week I also attended a women’s self defense class. In that class the teacher did an exercise where he took a sword and swung it over participants heads as they dropped to the ground. It was an exercise in trust and in empowerment. Having done both workshops in the same week I was amazed to find that I felt most empowered by the pin-up shoot not the martial arts self-defense techniques. I noticed myself standing a little taller and feeling of strength and certain smile radiating from deep within. I would love the opportunity to work with Isis again and have a whole boudoir session. However, I hope that any woman who receives it will be blessed and transformed with that feeling of joyful empowerment!

Phew! Glad I'm not making the decision!! Go ahead and vote!!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Girlie Time...

It's important! Taking time to spend with just the girls to do girly things!

It doesn't have to be about anything in particular... just girly time. Our girlfriends make us feel child like, pretty, light hearted, giggly..
We laugh, joke, cry and indulge little whimsical pleasures. And it doesn't matter how old we get, the feeling is the same when we spend time with the girls.

When it is just the girls, we can let go of the world for a little while.

Introducing Kelly... this month's Goddess of the Month! Beautiful Kelly has an unmistakably light-hearted giggle and an effervescence that is contagious!

I met her at a pin-up party that I was shooting at last November... and she had such a lovely girly time, that she convinced a group of her girlfriends (including her Mom) to come to my Kingston studio for a pin-up shoot. It was a great girly time to be had by all.

Kelly Speaks:

GIRLFRIENDS! What is it about friends that gives you the confidence to do crazy, fun and adventurous things? I believe it's the capacity to make enthusiasm and excitement contagious. The first time I had heard of a pin-up party was from Shannon, who had already known the dazzling Isis for years. She told me about a party she was having where you come and get all girly to have sexy pictures taken. Now, I'm an adventurous girl and I love to get dolled up for an occasion but I wasn't sure what to think. I had never heard of Isis or seen her website so I decided to check it out and see what I really thought. And my first thought was "WOW! These women are gorgeous and these pictures are flawless". But I must say I had my moments of doubt. I didn't know all the girls who were attending the party and I wasn't sure what to expect. It took me a while but after talking with Shannon and hearing such high praise of Isis and her abilities and how comfortable the atmosphere is, I decided "What the hell?" So I went to the party.
Let me tell you... I had the time of my life! Seeing myself transform into a pin-up Goddess was so amazing as was meeting Isis and seeing her vision for each of us. And after seeing the pictures, I couldn't believe that I almost didn't go. All I can say is I'm glad that Shannon had the contagious enthusiasm to get me there. It was such a healthy, comfortable, and totally female experience I couldn't resist. I had to have my very own pin-up party!! I got a group of friends and family together (including my Mom) and we went to Isis' studio. Now not everyone was as enthusiastic as me to do this because we all have flaws. Let's face it, not one person had the "perfect" body but we all have things we love about our imperfect bodies, it's just a matter of seeing them. To watch each woman embrace herself and "become" was simply amazing. We had such a wonderful day to bond, have girly time, and in general to be a little selfish with ourselves. I was thrilled that everyone who came had a fantastic time and saw a different side of themselves... a sexy yet vulnerable Goddess who so often hides within. It felt so good to get women together and celebrate our unique selves for what we are and more importantly, what we can become. Thank you so much Isis for showing me another side of myself that I can celebrate. It truly is a pleasure to know you.

Monday, September 27, 2010


It is pink October and it is amazing to me how many of us are affected by breast cancer! We ALL know someone who has had to struggle with this challenging disease... (and if you don't, it may be that that a brave woman that you know, has just never talked about it).
Last year I started doing a photography project called "Grace". It is a photo-based project revealing the courage, beauty and 'grace' with which women who have survived breast cancer embody.
The "Grace" project will be an empowering tool for women with breast cancer, and their partners and families. The project will bring the general public face to face with the beauty and grace of the women who have faced breast cancer and through the braveness which they display by standing before the camera, increase both awareness for breast health and acceptance of the post-Mastectomy body.
I decided to photograph this project after the amazing experience of having a couple of women who had experienced mastectomy come to my studio for a boudoir shoot. One of them a friend of mine Sasha.
When I photographed these women, I sensed that they had a transformative experience in revealing their bodies to my camera. But in truth I also who had a transformative experience while photographing them.
Touched by their bravery, moved by the scarred beauty of their bodies and awed by the metamorphasis that these women had experienced, I knew in my heart that this was a path of photographing women that I needed to further explore. Thus began my project Grace.
In terms of this project, I have some exciting news. "Grace" was recently accepted for Fiscal Sponsorship by New York Foundation for the Arts. It is a huge honor and I'm really excited about the potential for this project.
What fiscal sponsorship means is that "Grace" is now under the umbrella of a not for profit sponsor. This means that I will be able to accept tax deductible donations for the project by individuals such as yourselves. It also means that I can apply for foundation grants, corporate gifts and other means of support.

If you would like to support this project, to see it grow, and allow opportunity for this work to reach its audience, please consider making a financial contribution by CLICKING HERE. The project title for the form is "Grace", and the artist to be filled in on the form is "Charise Isis".
Your donation however small will be greatly appreciated!

Needless to say, In honor of Pink October, and to celebrate this new development for the Grace project, The beautiful Goddess of the month I have chosen for October is my amazing friend Sasha.

Sasha Speaks:

My original collaboration and experience with Charise was very meaningful and intense for both of us. It was a last minute rush job, as I had been recently diagnosed with breast cancer October 19th 2006, and I wanted to be photographed before my surgery and mastectomy. I knew of Isis's work through artist friends and gave her a call, and as it happened we did the work on the Wednesday, before my surgery the following Monday.
It was so important to me in that our experience served as such a release, and a time to honor and accept what was happening. It had been a very extreme whirlwind of days and I was in shock as well, but together we were able to give the moment a relaxed, but ritualized tone. It was calming, and afterwards I was deeply grateful. When I saw them, well, the photos were beautiful.
We decided on meeting again after the operation, which was some weeks later, when I was able to get around and begin to heal. This was another session, in which the artistic effort between Charise and I , two people, two women, were able to create healing and even fun, despite the fact that the scars exposed the grace and brutality of the moment. When I look at the images from before the changes and then at the later group, there is a joy and beauty remaining in her photography.

-Sasha Chermayeff 2010

Monday, September 6, 2010

Glamour Mom...

Most women I know are often self-depreciating, not only in the sense that they never qualify themselves to be ‘good enough’ but they never take the time just for sheer pleasure in themselves.

Juggling life is an act that most women live every day. The ball we often drop, is the one that represents taking time for our selves. I know after the birth of my son it was all I could do to inhale an evening meal.

I remember before becoming a Mother, hours of sitting in front of a mirror with a curling iron, carefully choosing a lipstick color to go with an outfit I was putting together. This all became shades of a previous existence that more or less disappeared from my life after I had a child. Instead, my life became filled with brightly colored plastic paraphernalia, monosyllabic words spoken in modulating tones and reduced sleep. Meanwhile, the fabulous and glamorous me sort of faded into the background.

As my son got older I began to focus on career. Joining the ranks of ‘career’ girls., I then became a Woman who within the scope of professionalism took the time to present well, keeping myself groomed and neat. And yet, still not with the studied sensuality of my younger days.

This time of year is extremely hectic. Summer is over and getting back into the regular work routine along with all of the back to school hoopla can be tough.

That is why I’ve chosen beautiful Amy as this month’s Goddess of the month. Not only does she work a full time job, but she is also a single mother with twin boys. Now there is a juggling act!!

Amy speaks:

A juggling act it definitely is. Every day is a struggle especially with school starting up again just to get everyone out the door and get to work on time let a lone do hair, makeup and be properly dressed for work. Every mother knows that scenario and for the single mother it is just a little more complicated. Getting everyone where they need to be and then picking them up, making dinner, getting homework done and getting everyone to bed after working an 8 hour day makes finding any time for your self almost impossible. Most nights by the time I put the twins to bed, I am too tired to even take off my makeup. However, I have found that the precious “me” time that is so hard to fit into the day is a necessary release to keep you sane. Isis’s pin-up classes are “me” time for me. Since my very first class I have been hooked. They are addicting or should I say the feeling you get from class is addicting and I try to attend one every six weeks or so. It is just a great escape from the every day stresses and responsibilities. It is a fun girlie afternoon with a group of other women playing dress up and finding their inner Goddesses. The whole experience from hearing the background on pin-up to getting your hair and makeup done and putting together an outfit that makes you feel sexy and glamorous is amazing and makes you realize that the person you thought you lost when you had children is still inside you she just needs to be allowed the time to be let out once and a while. And when you get in front of the camera you just lose yourself and become that Goddess which is the most liberating feeling. Of course I have to go back to reality eventually but when things get stressful and crazy and I feel that I don’t even have the time to comb my hair and must look a mess, I look at one of my pictures from pin-up class to remind me that I am Goddess even if I don’t always have the time to look like one on the outside. Pin-up classes give me the confidence to believe that just because I am a Mom doesn’t mean I can’t feel sexy and glamorous. Thank you Isis! Can’t wait for my next class!!!

For Boudoir photos or Pinup photos call isis (914)466-4347

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Mona Lisa smiles!

A true Goddess is surrounded by beauty. Every thing she sees and touches is made beautiful. True Goddess power is transformative. The magic is not that of actually changing the physicality of things, but of changing the way that we see things. What we choose to see is our reality.

This months Goddess is Ckeanna, a stunning example of the power of Goddess magic. Ckeanna is a pole dance instructor at Diva Fit Studios in Massapequa, Long Island. The atmosphere of the studio that she has created is there to encourage and nurture that Goddess presence in each of her students. Not only does Ckeanna live in her own beauty, by choosing to embrace the here and now, but she possesses even more of that magic by transforming those around her, encouraging their beauty by helping to change the way they ‘see’ themselves and others, freeing them up in their bodies and their minds.

It’s easy to be critical of each other… our culture sets us up for it. It is even easier to be critical of our selves. But when we choose to see the Goddess in each other and in ourselves, we are then surrounded by beauty and we are all beautiful.

Ckeanna Speaks:

Mona Lisa smiled at me. She smiled at me with her eyes, winked at me with her thoughts and shared with me the secret of True Power. Here’s my story…

I was never a girlie girl. As a toddler I always tried to emulate my Dad by strutting around in the white t-shirt he’d just taken off after a hard day at work. His shirt fit me like a long white baggy dress, yet I thought I looked just like my Dad! I’d accessorize it with his heavy gold chain and medallion and then march around the room with a kiddie sized broom and a cadence in my head. His gold chain was my “Medal of Honor”. I guess even back then I knew I would one day be a real soldier.

From toddler to twelfth grade, my path in life lead me to the U.S. Army. A couple of weeks after my high school graduation, I shipped out to Fort Dix, NJ for Basic Training. Half way through my training, I was going to turn eighteen quietly and uneventfully, or so I thought. I’ll never forget the thoughtful present I got from my Drill Sergeant… “Private Sanchez, front and center!”, he bellowed. It was a hot summer day at high noon and all of us soldiers were ready for our hard-earned chow. “Front lean and rest position…MOVE!” I found myself by myself in a push up position in front of the entire company formation, staring down face-first at his shiny boots. Since we were right outside of the mess hall (cafeteria for all you civilian folk), I could smell the food as I counted out at the top of my lungs, “One Drill Sergeant…two Drill Sergeant… (you get the idea). I had to knock out no less than eighteen push ups before being allowed to stand up. “Happy Birthday, Private Sanchez!”

If there is anything that de-feminizes a woman, it’s the military institution! I had been trained and “programmed” not to cross my legs and arms or stand with my hands on my hips even! The uniforms are purposely designed to minimize any womanly curves so we all look like camouflaged potato sacks. I get it! The military is no place to be sexy…peace time or war time. Ok, moving right along… for years I had no sense of style in clothes, makeup or anything until one fateful day…

Fast forward four years to my duty station in Oahu, Hawaii one hot Friday morning while getting ready to report for duty, I made a decision that would affect my whole attitude for the rest of my life. It had been a very challenging week of training and Friday had finally come. It was traditional that if we, as a unit, had a productive week, thecompany commander would release the entire company early that Friday afternoon. This tradition was known as “Aloha Friday”. Being that this particular Friday could very well be an “Aloha Friday”, soldiers usually have an extra “pep” in their step throughout their workday. I, however, had a certain swagger of confidence and the poise of a peacock that day. Why? Because I decided to break the rules and wear the sexiest bra and panty set that I owned under my military fatigues. I wore it for me. I did it for me. No one else. And no one else would or could see my sexy pink bra and panty bikini set. The lacy material felt great against my skin. No “White Walls” or “Granny Panties” for me…Not TODAY! (I thought to myself).

As luck would have it, my duties that day included assisting the mechanics in the motor pool and doing maintenance on my five ton fuel truck. Oh joy!!! I was a dirty little grease monkey working in the pit under my truck lubing all the joints. But I didn’t mind because my eyes, like the Mona Lisa’s, were smiling the whole day. I had a secret… a dirty little secret of my pretty, sexy, girlie things!

The Lesson: All women deserve to have a piece of themselves all to themselves. The story I told is true. This really happened. I shared this story because when I met Isis, I knew right away we shared the same desire to help women embrace their essence. The Pin-Up Workshops are a perfect way to experience the positive body image that Isis and I encourage. My very first pin-up shoot with Isis brought back the old familiar feeling that I had over two decades ago when I was standing beneath that filthy undercarriage with a grease gun in my hand and a twinkle in my eye.

Isis captures that “Twinkle” and Goddess in all of us in her fine art prints. Polarize your moment of True Goddess Power!

I often like to remind myself of Mae West‘s infamous motto, “It isn’t what I do, but how I do it. It isn’t what I say, but how I say it, and how I look when I do it and say it.” Yeah, Baby!!

Thursday, March 4, 2010


I truly believe that beauty is something that shines from the inside out, and not the other way around. I love doing the work that I do, because it gives women the opportunity to be present in their bodies. It allows them to indulge in their sensuality, and to express their beauty, and femininity.

It is every woman’s prerogative to express her inner Goddess…

I’m often disheartened by the way our culture treats ‘full figured’ women. Relegating them to frumpy clothes, under representing them in the media, dismissing their right to be sensual beings and making them the butt of our jokes. (We’ve all seen the foul humored greeting cards and chain emails)

I often start off my pin-up classes talking about how the original pin-up Goddesses were represented in the ancient cave paintings. These were images of gorgeous fertile, full bellied, pendulous breasted beauties, the pinnacle of worship at one time in our history.

The renaissance also saw the celebration of what has become known as the “Rubenesque” figure. But those paintings again, were simply a celebration of a full figured sensual female form… another earlier type of pin-up!

The denigration of full figured women at this time in our history does not serve us as human beings. It simply feeds the beast of insecurity that we all feel as women… We all need to make healthy choices in our lives… and making the choice to accept and love our bodies, as we are today, reveling in the joy of being alive and embracing our sensual nature regardless of our shape, size, or age, is probably one of the healthiest choices we can begin to make as women.

The Goddess of the Month for this month is Becky. A full figured Goddess, Becky embodies the joie de vie that I hope that every women gets to experience when she participates in one of my shoots. Becky’s joy clearly emanates from her portrait and there is no denying that she is an absolutely gorgeous woman.

Becky speaks:

My whole life I have been a “plus size” woman. In my early 20’s my weight went up and down as I tried to fit into society’s standards and “be beautiful”. I was the girl that was buddies with all the guys and never the girlfriend…and I remember thinking “What’s wrong with me, why can‘t they like me for who I am?”

I remember the summer I turned 23, I had finally gotten to the point that I really didn’t care how any one saw me, I was just going to be me and that was good enough. And if they didn‘t like it, well tough. I was sick and tired of trying to be something I was not. Battling to lose more and more weight, when I liked the way I looked. That was the summer that I started to accept myself, every last curve and pound.

That was also the summer that I caught the eye of a tall hunk of blond sweetness that I now call my husband. And in the weeks after I met him, I remember thinking, “he likes me just the way I am“. Even now all these years later, he gets who I am and loves me just the way I am. I am blessed.

So, fast forward about 11 years. I was taking a class at a local dance fit studio. When I was handed a flyer for a “Pin-Up Class”. Even accepting who I was and what I looked like, I didn’t picture myself as the curvy, leggy, gorgeous woman I thought of when we think pin ups! I pictured myself more as Rosie the Riveter… jean wearing tough lady with strong arms… that is how I pictured myself. I was raised to be self sufficient, hard working and tough. I am a farm girl, born and raised. I drive a pick up and know more about farming then fashion. I think you are getting the picture.

I don’t know if I would ever have gone to that class, if it was not for the fact that I wanted something special for Valentine’s Day for my husband. I had some real reservations about doing the shoot. So, I found myself checking out the website that was listed on the bottom of the flyer. What I read on that website gave me the push to do the class. The photographer, our own lovely and talented Charise Isis, talked about photographing women of “different shapes, sizes, colors and backgrounds”. I could do this I thought.

But no matter how much I have accept my curves and sizes over the years, that class was the most empowering thing I have ever done for myself.

I felt like a star and the photos, well I didn't know I could look like that. I was that curvy, leggy, sexy pin up girl…so what if my legs are shorter then some….put on a pair of heels and a bustier and I will show you curvy & leggy. The gorgeous part, well that is how I felt on the inside seeing myself looking so fine and because of that it showed in those photos.

There is that old saying “Beauty is only skin deep”, I think beauty is about your soul. It is about the person you are and the person you want to be. It is accepting yourself in what ever outer package your soul is in.

If I can say anything it is to let go of society’s “standards” of beauty. You are beautiful no matter what your weight, size, color or shape. Because whether your 100, 200 or 300 pounds, we are all pin up goddess’s if we let ourselves be. So walk proud, shoulders back and wink at that cute guy as he goes by….that inner Goddess inside of you is just looking for a reason to come out and play...let her!!