Week 6 – Finding Beauty Photo Shoot
“Kimberella – Loses Her Hair, Not Her Glass Slipper”
8/23/13 Photographer: Heather Binns, Art Director and 1st Makeup Artist Kristen Arnett, Gown Designer Sophie Chang. See more credit at the bottom of post.
Blog post by NYC/Milan Art Director and makeup artist, Kristen Arnett
We all know the story of Cinderella, how her kind-hearted, beauty threatened her jealous family so much that they made her a servant and attempted to mask her radiance in ragged clothes. However, true beauty can never be hidden by conditions or circumstance, no matter how unfairly or awfully they have been put upon someone.
When Kimberli approached me about creatively collaborating to show a side of beauty in her cancer journey, I asked one question: “When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?” She was very clear that it was Cinderella. In fact, she made people call her that for many years during her childhood. As I explored the story more deeply, I realized Kimberli and Cinderella weren’t that different.
Cinderella was given the opportunity by a fairy godmother to transform her ragged conditions to reflect the princess-like elegance she truly was in order to have just one evening of ecstatic bliss, dancing and falling in love, but with one condition…
At the stroke of midnight Cinderella had to flee as her carriage and beautiful clothes would all return to their prior conditions. As Kimberli describes chemotherapy, there is a time where she too slips into a “mind fog”, when her brain no longer functions as sharply, and her condition feels deteriorated. Just like the ringing of the clock tower, she too can tell exactly when she will “switch over” and plans much of her life now around that clock.
In this photo story we transform Kimberli into Cinderella, just on her way home from a night of blissful dancing, right before the “switch over”. Her pink ball gown subtly reminds us of the breast cancer ribbon. Her bald head strongly reminds us of cancer’s affect on the conditions of beauty. Kimberli’s inner light and her outer beauty simply cannot be hidden, no matter what the condition – just as it was for Cinderella.
As Kimberli is running home from her fantasy night, in her hand she holds a blond wig, which I like to think of as her version of Cinderella’s glass slipper. Though Prince Charming searched the land with one unique memento he carried with him – a shoe that just didn’t seem to fit anyone no matter how hard they tried to squeeze in– he simply couldn’t find the right match. It wasn’t really about finding someone to fit the shoe, it was a quest to find the woman who ignited the intense feeling of love in his heart.
Eventually he found her again – his true love, a woman worthy of being a queen regardless of her conditions. When love reunited with love, Cinderella was given her beautiful clothing back to wear forever.
Here’s my twist: I think Prince Charming is a metaphor for our higher Selves; he’s a catalyst to help us see our inherent beauty, even within of conditions that seem ugly. Once we can see and accept our truly magnificent nature, we will be restored despite of the conditions that were placed up on us.
I believe that when Kimberli has completed her journey through cancer, the love she already embodies and radiates to those around her will restore her health, beauty and radiance in an even more profound way.
Notes from Kimberli
This day I worked with my dream team! Talented, hilarious & ready to roll at 7:30AM. I was belly laughing 5 minutes into the session. I had had a very, very difficult 10 days after the last chemo treatment and focusing on how much fun this shoot would be kept me going. It was all worth it for those 3 hours. I adore these creatives. Check out their websites!
NYC/Milan Art Director and green make up artist (featured in ELLE Mag 2013): Kristen Arnett KristenArnett.com
Master of the outdoors session, 1st Photographer: Heather Binns http://www.heatherbinns.com
Portland Fashion week boss and cowboy: Tod Foulk semperfashion.net
Filmaker & 20 year friend: Dan Ackerman http://ackermanfilms.com
1st Assistant and gown shlepper, Photographer of the Bald Bride session: Colleen Sparks http://www.colleensparks.com/
2nd Make up artist Jessica Belknap http://jessicabelknap.com/
Gown Designer and Portland Fashion Week Goddess: Sophie Chang http://www.sophiebridals.com/
All the way up in Alaska, Post production editor Vanessa Powell http://www.vanessapowellphotography.com/index2.php#/home/
Fabulous skin care products, Britta Aragon, CV Skinlabs www.cvskinlabs.com
Fabulous wig designer & stylist: Brenda Kay http://www.bkhair.com/
Thank you Spartacus for the sexy Cinderella slipper contribution!
Want to join a future shoot? Contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org