jonnelle, 30

I’m married with 2 kittie (cats). I like to think of myself as a retro aficionado; also a packaging engineer by trade but marketer of materials currently. I have always had a love for city life (even though I grew up in the country); which led my husband and I to fulfill a dream and purchase a historic home in the city of Detroit last spring… a city we love so much! I am a coffee & tattoo enthusiast and my most recent hobby is pursuing modeling and burlesque! 

I have always been enamored with tattoos. I lean towards a traditional style. I see them as another great fashion accessory and artistic expression. Also, a great ROI, assuming I live for a long time. 🙂  My sleeve is a representation of who I am and all my favorite things… I really wanted to change my last name when I got married (one tradition I decided to follow) and the queen of hearts was my way to give an ode to my maiden name “card”.

Prior to the shoot I was photographed a couple weeks earlier with a Detroit photographer at the DIA. My sister sent the information on the For Real Campaign and it was something very out of my element – I I love makeup and I am usually described as “extra” so this was a step in a different direction for me… Do not get me wrong, I am happy to go in to public without makeup on but to photographed without it is another story. I was most excited to shoot with Trish and see the outcome! There was less to focus on in a weird way but also more at the same time. It is freeing for it to be “real” because it is about who you are… not necessarily trying to tell an alternate story. It is like your autobiography in a photo; nothing to hide behind and no shits to give. 

It was funny because Trish kept saying how confident I am… which I love because it has not always been that way and has/continues to be a work in progress. I have always been plus size, or fat or whatever you want to call it and that does not always bode well for one when in middle school or high school. I remember being told that my “face was cute but my body not so much” in high school by a boy who clearly liked me but was ashamed by what others would think and what society thought he should “want”.  It is funny how those things can stick with us. I no longer look at it negatively; I only think about how much stronger it made me and how much pain that person was in. I quickly learned that my worth was not described by my size and that “fat” did not have to mean “ugly”. I am very happy being fat and pretty, thank you very much! Lastly, that being said we all have areas we dislike or days when confidence still wains. I definitely do not want to act like that magically goes away, permanently.  

This shoot 100% made me feel stripped down and curious if I would be okay with my blemishes, my forehead crease, my back fat, etc. And it turns out I did zero in on those things but also remembered that those characteristics are me in my truest form and that’s beautiful. Most importantly I love them, my hubby loves them and all others important to me likely do not think twice about them. Ultimately I had a feeling of peace and acceptance, acceptance I continue to work on. Do not get me wrong, I know I am H-O-T (lol) but I also know life is a journey of ups and downs and body image is one of those things that always is there. Lastly, I have recently joined a burlesque community full of beauties and it is such a wonderful place filled with strong, proud, authentic people from all walks of life. It is a community and art that encourages you to embrace what you have and share your beauty / art with the world… body positivity at its finest.