Well since then my whole life's flipped upside down. It sparked a fire in my belly. A hunger inside me. To take ownership for who I am, what I've got to give. At the end of the day, it's all me, on my own, fighting fires and rising from the flames.
Alex took my photo's that day and since then I've found a friend - a really, really good friend. She's pushed me forward in life, be-it taking kick-ass photo's for my outfit posts, road trips with sad music, watching films and eating cake or pushing me toward my next challenge - she's been a rock. She believes...in me. And I'll be forever grateful for all that she's done and continues to do. The Universe pushed us together at a time where we were both searching for something more. So thanks for that, world.
A few weekends ago, I was headed down to Cambridge to help Alex out with a shoot. She's been working on a GIANT series, which you can see here and I couldn't wait to get stuck in on set. Turns out her model was a no-show and Alex looked to me, with those bloody puppy dog eyes and asked if I'd do it instead.
I know I pose for my outfit photos on a weekly basis - but it's not the same as modelling. I was scared and nervous but I didn't want to ruin Alex's day, all the hard work she, her boyfriend, his friends and Claire (an incredible florist) had put in. So I said yes, reluctantly.
It was one of the most incredible afternoons - filled with sunshine and laughter, effort and sweaty bodies. It was amazing to stand back and realise how much all these people cared for Alex, how much they wanted to make it work for her. Her boyfriend Will had built her a 7ft swing, Matthew and Ed (his best friends) helped him put it up high in the trees and Claire, created an incredible floral crown and flower arrangements to climb up the swings ropes. It was totally magical.
Here are the final images...
When we'd finished Alex asked, with a muffled voice and squinting cautious eyes if I'd consider getting naked for a shot or two as well. I think I shocked her and I both by blurting out 'YES! Of course I will!'
To some, getting naked and sharing it on the internet might come across as attention seeking. For me, us, it's about showing the world that we're not afraid of our imperfections. In fact we're going to celebrate the shit out of them. I realised then, at that moment, just how far I've come since July 3rd 2014 when I got naked in-front of another woman for the first time. In the here and now, I didn't care. I felt comfortable, confident even and do you know what? There's no shame in that.
Loving the skin we're in. It's a journey worth taking. A battle worth fighting.
And it's not just about the images at the end, it's about the journey you go on. And there's no photographer in this world that can take away from how special it is completing that experience with Alex.
I know so many of you out there are dabbling with the idea and aren't sure if you're brave enough. Let me tell you that you are. Because if I and all these other amazing women can, so can you.
Shoots with Alex start from less than £100, and boy is worth spending that dollar with her instead of on those new shoes you're eyeing up.
Click here for her contact details. Because then? You're one step closer to a happier you. And what more could you ask for?