Today, my boyfriend, a friend and I all took part in a photo shoot for my mum's charitable organization, which deals with helping vulnerable women and getting them to live independently. The final photos would be put into a leaflet which would be distributed by the thousands to other organizations, councils and charities. I did this as a favour to my mum, as her original models had pulled out at the last minute and she needed my help. My mum has done a lot for me, so I figured this would be the least I could do to try to repay her. I had my hair done at the hairdressers beforehand, which is a whole other kettle of self hatred that I won't go into right now. But in the end, I looked fairly presentable.
I'd recruited the help of my friend, Sam, who was also willing to take part for the charitable cause and we met up outside the studio. Mum had wanted the shoot to look like a big party and had brought along several ridiculous props. This included a sombrero, feather boa's, juggling sticks, a pink bow tie for my boyfriend and some colourful pom poms. We were warned beforehand that the photographer was a complete and total pervert and would likely stare at our breasts. So we went in, though I was far from confident.
As mum said, the photographer was a complete sleaze bag, telling us terrible jokes and staring at everyone (bar my boyfriend of course) else's breasts. But we got straight into it and began taking shots. The studio was tiny and dingy, with creepy Winnie the Pooh and Noddy dolls everywhere. We all squashed ourselves into the tiny backdrop with our ridiculous hats and stupid pom poms and were poked and prodded into certain positions by the weirdo photographer until he found some shots he liked.
After a group photo was taken, he put my friend and I together, saying he wanted the girls alone. He looked at me and said:
"You are a girl, right?"
I instantly felt crushed. My self esteem was shot already and I didn't see what he could possibly hope to accomplish by saying I looked unfeminine. Then I had to plaster a fake smile over my face whilst he took more pictures. My mum thought fit to comment that she could blatantly see my smile was false and that I should open my eyes more. I tried not to sulk as we moved onto individual shots. My friend was obviously the favourite of the group, as the photographer kept telling her how photogenic and wonderful she was and he got her to do some lively, fun positions by herself. When it came to me, he took perhaps two shots and then called it a day.
When we were finished, my mum and the photographer looked over the shots he had taken (over 100, they said) and they both proceeded to talk about how wonderful my friend was and how she had beautiful eyes and lovely hair and all sorts of things like that. It's not that I don't appreciate what my friend did for my mum and I'm glad that she looks so pretty, but all my mum seemed to do was mention how my eyes were closed, or how I'd taken a bad photo because I looked uncomfortable and phony.
My confidence was shot. I looked at some of the photos and I was repulsed by the way I looked. I was disgusting! I had a double chin, yellow teeth, spots all over my face and I looked like a complete and total ****! I've never been so humiliated in my life and now I feel like a fat, ugly, disgusting troll!