Anshu took part in my Discover YOU series showcasing everyday women to help the uncover and discover how incredibly awesome they are! One of the very best parts of my client’s photo experience with me is their image reveal: it happens in person, and this is where people get to see themselves reflected back to them. They see their beauty, their strength, their vulnerability, their badass side, their fire. These sessions are often filled with a lot of emotions and “OH MY GOD!” and a realisation they are truly beautiful.
I have always been confident and independent and I think this is due to moving so much when I was younger and always have to join new schools and make new friends. My parents are wonderful and definitely the reason I am who I am as they are great role models and always encouraged me to explore my creative side and to be brave enough to try rather than run away and hide. When we stopped moving I spent the rest of my younger years in a small town where I finally made life long friends and met my first husband, but it wasn’t to be and we were divorced by the time I was 28. Life then took a bad turn and in 2005 life just fell apart when my Dad was diagnosed with COPD and we were told he had 3 years to live. Sadly on Christmas Eve that year he was rushed to hospital and he died on Boxing Day, I have never been able to get over the terrible choice we had to make and turn his life support machine off and it is something that haunts me to this day.
After my dad died I met a wonderful man just when I thought my life was over. We struggled with people’s perceptions of our age gap (he is 13 yrs younger) and we had to prove how much we loved each other and that we were serious. I was still dealing with grief and terrible debt and he definitely showed how much he loved me and wanted to be there especially because we had so little money at times sometimes we only had £10 a week to buy food which would challenge any new relationship. I am childfree and always knew that I didn’t want children and this has been something that other people have been unable to understand, which has led to personal attacks on my life choices, but it is something that as a couple we knew was right for us.
I started perimenopause in my late 30s and felt like I was going mad, I didn’t understand who I was and my mind was foggy all of the time, I struggled with everyday life and avoided going out and interacting with people. I started to hate myself and feel like I had turned into someone else and really didn’t like what I saw in the mirror as I have put so much weight on, my skin has changed, my hair has changed and I often feel awful, but I try to stay positive. My husband has been a rock through all of this and took up the fight to get my menopause recognised and treated, after 15 years together he has been my constant support and best friend, and one day I hope to feel as beautiful as he sees me. Despite challenges in my life, I am now in a positive place and am now teaching, which is something I really enjoy. It really is never too late to achieve what you want, something I have learned as I’ve got older and wiser, now I just need to get through the menopause!
What do you want most out of life?
To be happy and to live my best life.
What do you remember learning about beauty from a young age?
I have always believed in natural beauty, I have never been particularly vain and I was brought up to be proud of who I am.
What is your definition of beauty?
Kind, funny and natural. I love a beautiful smile.
What would you advise other women who struggle to see their own beauty?
Try not to judge yourself too harshly and be kind to yourself
How would you describe you/ your personality in 3 words only?
Strong, gregarious and honest
What are the things you love about yourself most?
I am true to my beliefs, independent and have a wild side
What do you want to do more each day?
Sleep and also to create more art.
Who do you want to be and what experiences do you want to create?
I want to be me and have more adventures
Who inspires and motivates you?
My Mum inspires and motivates me, I have never known anyone work so hard and care so much, she is a character and I love her for it and hope that when I am 70 I will still be as feisty and funny as she is!
Why were portraits important to you now?
They were important now as I like to step outside of my comfort zone, this is so far from something I would normally do and I thought it would be a great way to challenge my perception of myself.
Photo & Retouch Renata Clarke
Makeup & Hair Styling Aleksandra Guz
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Renata specialises in magazine style portrait and boudoir photography. Her main focus is to empower women through the tailored experience and beautiful fine art portraits that will last a lifetime. Get in touch to reserve your complimentary consultation and talk about your dream portraits.