Mint Sweater Girl Interview Series- Laura Quintero

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Mint Sweater Girl Interview Series- Laura Quintero

The Mint Sweater Girl Interview Series is a series where we interview Mint Sweater Girls to showcase their empowering stories and influence in their communities.

Today, our series kicks off with a dear friend, Laura Quintero of Laura Quintero Photography.

About Laura:

Laura recently transitioned her photography business into, now, specializing in boudoir photography and it was quite easy to see why. From the beginning of her photography journey, Laura always had this eye of capturing women in the most beautiful and vulnerable moments where they look effortlessly radiant.

 Laura is now helping women feel elegant, confident, and sexy in their own skin. Through her sessions, she reminds us, women, that we are beautiful inside and out.

Most importantly, Laura uses her platform to encourage and inspire women to feel empowered by their bodies.

“She is transforming our views of how we view ourselves in the mirror through the view of her lens.” 

 

We’ve admired the way Laura’s used her platform and her photography to build a strong message for women and today we wanted to share her interview with you and to allow her message empower you too.

 

What made you make the switch to boudoir photography?

Fine art boudoir photography always called to me.  Whenever I saw it, I felt something in my soul, and I knew it was something I would love photographing.  There’s something about the fine art boudoir approach that’s so honest and vulnerable.  It’s not even about sex or seduction!  Those are just afterthoughts, side-effects.
The true purpose of boudoir photography is storytelling and femininity, grace and honesty.  It’s not about satisfying the male gaze, but amplifying that voice inside your head that wants to shout out “I am enough.”  After my first attempt at it, I knew that this is what I was built to do.

 

Graceful, Feminine, Vulnerable. Three words on your website you chose to describe your sessions. Why these words?

I want to shift the perception of the boudoir photography industry.  Over time, the art form has shifted towards being a way to please and arouse your future spouse with sexy photos.  And while that isn’t inherently a bad thing, I do believe that boudoir is meant for more.

 

It’s meant as a celebration of the female form and the power we hold as women. 

 

It’s meant as a way to honor all things feminine (in a feminist and empowering way).  It’s about consent and bravery and confidence.
In choosing the words “Graceful, feminine, vulnerable,” I’m encouraging women to see this as an opportunity to open their hearts and see their truest self.  The person inside who is in love with of every inch of her body, who carries herself through life with pride, who knows that femininity is a strength, not a weakness, and who is not afraid to bare her soul to the world.  She’s ready to tell her story and use it to raise the voices of those around her to create a better world.

Photography by: Laura Quintero Photography

Through boudoir sessions, do you feel women undergo a transformation? What have you seen women walk away with after a session?

Oh my gosh, absolutely!  Most women walk in very excited but with visible nerves.   As they get their hair and makeup done, we chat and loosen up with a champagne toast.  My sessions always start with a few headshots in the outfit they came in.  It lets them get comfortable being in front of the camera, and gives them some fully-clothed shots they can share online following their session.
Once the clothes start to come off is when the true magic happens!  It’s completely understandable to feel intimidated or nervous when you’re barely dressed in front of a stranger, but it is also such an empowering and liberating moment!  So many women have grown up in a society that teaches them to feel shame about their bodies (which, by the way, is absolutely ridiculous and needs to change).  Boudoir sessions help shake that shame away.  As you’re being photographed and being told that you’re amazing and looking great and working it for the camera, you start to realize that there is NO SHAME in the human body.  Not a single inch of our bodies are shameful.  And that’s when you transform!!
You start to realize that everything you were ever told about being a woman is wrong.  You DON’T need to lose 5 pounds.  You DON’T need to be completely hairless.  You DON’T need to use a push up bra or Spanx to change your body shape.  You DON’T need to be paler or tanner or thinner or thicker or taller or shorter or healthier or more exotic or less queer or more feminine.  You can be proud of yourself exactly as you are!  And trust me when I say that this is a radical thought, and a completely life-altering revelation.

Loving yourself is the greatest revolutionary act that women can take, and it is such an honor being a part of that rebellion!

What words or thoughts would you give to a woman who has fears or doubts of feeling confident and sexy in their body to do a boudoir photography session? 

I always start off by saying that fear and doubt are normal and expected.  We’re taught to be ashamed of our bodies, and that’s REALLY difficult to unlearn!  It takes way more effort to unlearn these ideas than it did to believe them in the first place.  So don’t be ashamed of how nervous you are, just accept that nerves are part of the process!  And the nerves will melt away soon.

Start by recognizing the absolute fact that you are not flawed.  You were created to exist exactly as you do, and by existing as you are, you are fulfilling your purpose. That truth can be hard to grasp, and I know it takes time to get to that point. But, it is the truth!  And working towards making that fact a part of your thought process will bring so much peace and joy to your life.

After you’ve accepted that fact, everything gets easier!  And if you’re still working toward that, don’t worry!  A boudoir session can be the catalyst for this change.  So, step 2 is to book a shoot!  Find a photographer that shares your values and creates photos that make your heart sing!  Then save up and book them.  Because I promise that the experience will completely shift your mindset.

Finally, keep practicing self-love, every single day.  Actively think about your body as your home, as something to be nourished, maintained, and celebrated.  Treat yourself well and speak to yourself kindly.  Surround yourself with people and experiences that fill you in a positive way, and remove the things from your life that cause pain and stress.  Whether you invest in boudoir photography or not, this part is CRUCIAL, for literally every single human.  Self-love is a journey and an ongoing process that you must actively choose, prioritize, and act upon.

Photography by: Laura Quintero Photography

How do you help encourage women to feel confident and comfortable before and during your sessions?

With open communication, personalized attention, positive reinforcement and their favorite music!
We communicate via e-mail and text for weeks leading up to the shoot, and I make sure their session is a reflection of their personality and style.  No two sessions are alike for that very reason!  I consult on locations, wardrobe choices, and hair and makeup styling to make sure the experience is perfectly tailored.
The sessions themselves are just a dance party and a shower of compliments; I just happen to be snapping photos!  My posing is centered around capturing movement, so there’s very little time to feel nervous or unsure.  I’m constantly giving direction and feedback to let my clients know how well they’re doing!  And of course, the right soundtrack is always on to set the mood!

Through your photography, you’ve have been able to capture women and their bodies in a graceful and loving way, what have you learned looking through the lens of your camera?

I’ve learned just how much we are asked to conform and change.  I’ve learned how much shame is carved into our minds and just how hard it is to erase it.  I’ve learned that the shame felt by marginalized groups is far greater, and we need to work as a society to listen to and uplift our friends of color, the disabled, the chronically or terminally ill, the LQBTQ and queer community, and all those who feel like their voices aren’t heard.  I’ve learned that I can use my platform of privilege to amplify the voices of others to create real change.

I’ve learned that humans are absolutely AMAZING and that we should all treat ourselves a little better.  I’ve learned that self-love is not bubble baths and face masks, but an active set of skills we must actively prioritize every day and act upon (and not an easy one for everyone).  And I’ve learned that I have the skills to create change and I will continue to work toward creating that change!

What has your own personal journey to loving your body and finding peace being in your own skin look like? And what have you learned along the way?

I actually had my own boudoir portraits done to celebrate my 25th birthday.  I was so nervous and excited.  This came shortly after ending a long-term serious relationship and healing from a cystectomy, and I had some deep scars from both.  I had cut off all my hair, I had put on some weight, and I was ready for that confidence boost that I kept hearing about.
Let me tell you, that shoot revolutionized my life.  I was so nervous the whole time, but I felt like a freaking GODDESS.

 

After living my entire life wishing I was prettier and hotter and thinner and sexier, I finally felt GOOD.  Good about every inch of me!  I am strong, I am happy, I am in control of my decisions, and I feel pretty for the first time in like…ever.

 

I’m still riding that wave, even though that session was over a year ago.  I feel more connected to my body and my identity and my values than ever before.  I know that I am worthy.  I know that I deserve respect.  I hope to keep the momentum going because this is what life should always be like!

 

We admire the way you use your platform to inspire and embrace self-love, body positivity. What inspired you to use your platform as a way to share your voice with your audience? 

I know that my business is more than just pretty pictures of empowered women.  I can use my business to encourage women to love themselves.  I can use my platform to elevate the experience of women of color and other marginalized people to ensure that everyone has the equal opportunity to love themselves.  I can create a safe space for women to pursue self-love together, and provide resources and experiences to guide and facilitate that process.  I have a responsibility to the world to make it a better place by being in it, and I will gladly make that my life’s and my businesses’s work.

Photography by: Laura Quintero Photography

 

What words of encouragement do you have for the women who are afraid to step in front of the camera because of their shape and size? 

Oh, love.  Your shape is nothing to be ashamed of!  There is nothing to be afraid of!  And I know, it’s so much easier said than done, but it is a FACT: no part of you is shameful.  Your body is beautiful and the joy in your soul deserves to be captured.  Show yourself off!  Buy some underclothes that make you feel comfortable and happy, and then contact a photographer that you want to work with!  You don’t need to lose any weight or attempt to change your body.  It is flawless and worth celebrating, exactly how it is!

How would you describe that feeling of being sexy, that moment of feeling confident and beautiful? How would you describe what that feels like?

It feels like stepping out of a warm shower onto the worlds plushiest bath mat to the smell of lavender.  Like driving with the windows down to your absolute favorite song in the perfect weather.  It feels like a cozy comforter and a perfectly fluffed pillow, where it’s not too hot and not too cold.  Basically, it feels like all of your favorite things wrapped into one feeling.  I want everyone to feel this way!  And that’s why I do what I do.

 

BONUS QUESTION: You have an incredibly empowering story and you are brave enough to share it with the world. How did you find the courage and if you could say one thing to the girl who is still afraid to share hers what would you say to her?

I felt pretty alone while I found out I had a really large ovarian cyst that would have to be removed with a traditional cesarean surgery, my ovary along with it.  And of course, nothing in life happens in a vacuum, and during this time I was also going through a break up with my then boyfriend of over four years.  I was starting up a new relationship, and there was so much uncertainty woven throughout my life.  And I let myself sit with that stress by myself for a while.  I, of course, had the support of my amazing family, without whom I would’ve fallen apart.  I don’t usually share my feelings with others and am a pretty private person.  I knew sharing would lift a huge weight off of my shoulders.  And it did!  It was such an important part of my healing process.
I know my story resonated with a lot of other women, and I have since tried to be as real and honest with my audience as I’m comfortable!  Being open has allowed clients to feel more connected to me, and it provides me with an outlet to share what I may not always be able to say out loud.  Now, I don’t owe anyone my story.  If I want to keep something private, I will!  But stories bring us together, and I know that in sharing mine, I can help others.

Photography by: Laura Quintero Photography

We would like to take a moment to thank Laura for taking the time to share her message, for being open and vulnerable, and for being a beacon of inspiration for all women.

To learn more about Laura and to receive daily inspiration from her you can find her via the links below:

Laura Quintero Photography: http://www.laurajquintero.com/

Laura’s Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lauraquinterophotography/

 

 

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The Mint Sweater Girl Interview Series is a series where we interview Mint Sweater Girls to showcase their empowering stories and influence in their communities.

Today, our series kicks off with a dear friend, Laura Quintero of Laura Quintero Photography.

About Laura:

Laura recently transitioned her photography business into, now, specializing in boudoir photography and it was quite easy to see why. From the beginning of her photography journey, Laura always had this eye of capturing women in the most beautiful and vulnerable moments where they look effortlessly radiant.

 Laura is now helping women feel elegant, confident, and sexy in their own skin. Through her sessions, she reminds us, women, that we are beautiful inside and out.

Most importantly, Laura uses her platform to encourage and inspire women to feel empowered by their bodies.

“She is transforming our views of how we view ourselves in the mirror through the view of her lens.” 

 

We’ve admired the way Laura’s used her platform and her photography to build a strong message for women and today we wanted to share her interview with you and to allow her message empower you too.

 

What made you make the switch to boudoir photography?

Fine art boudoir photography always called to me.  Whenever I saw it, I felt something in my soul, and I knew it was something I would love photographing.  There’s something about the fine art boudoir approach that’s so honest and vulnerable.  It’s not even about sex or seduction!  Those are just afterthoughts, side-effects.
The true purpose of boudoir photography is storytelling and femininity, grace and honesty.  It’s not about satisfying the male gaze, but amplifying that voice inside your head that wants to shout out “I am enough.”  After my first attempt at it, I knew that this is what I was built to do.

 

Graceful, Feminine, Vulnerable. Three words on your website you chose to describe your sessions. Why these words?

I want to shift the perception of the boudoir photography industry.  Over time, the art form has shifted towards being a way to please and arouse your future spouse with sexy photos.  And while that isn’t inherently a bad thing, I do believe that boudoir is meant for more.

 

It’s meant as a celebration of the female form and the power we hold as women. 

 

It’s meant as a way to honor all things feminine (in a feminist and empowering way).  It’s about consent and bravery and confidence.
In choosing the words “Graceful, feminine, vulnerable,” I’m encouraging women to see this as an opportunity to open their hearts and see their truest self.  The person inside who is in love with of every inch of her body, who carries herself through life with pride, who knows that femininity is a strength, not a weakness, and who is not afraid to bare her soul to the world.  She’s ready to tell her story and use it to raise the voices of those around her to create a better world.

Photography by: Laura Quintero Photography

Through boudoir sessions, do you feel women undergo a transformation? What have you seen women walk away with after a session?

Oh my gosh, absolutely!  Most women walk in very excited but with visible nerves.   As they get their hair and makeup done, we chat and loosen up with a champagne toast.  My sessions always start with a few headshots in the outfit they came in.  It lets them get comfortable being in front of the camera, and gives them some fully-clothed shots they can share online following their session.
Once the clothes start to come off is when the true magic happens!  It’s completely understandable to feel intimidated or nervous when you’re barely dressed in front of a stranger, but it is also such an empowering and liberating moment!  So many women have grown up in a society that teaches them to feel shame about their bodies (which, by the way, is absolutely ridiculous and needs to change).  Boudoir sessions help shake that shame away.  As you’re being photographed and being told that you’re amazing and looking great and working it for the camera, you start to realize that there is NO SHAME in the human body.  Not a single inch of our bodies are shameful.  And that’s when you transform!!
You start to realize that everything you were ever told about being a woman is wrong.  You DON’T need to lose 5 pounds.  You DON’T need to be completely hairless.  You DON’T need to use a push up bra or Spanx to change your body shape.  You DON’T need to be paler or tanner or thinner or thicker or taller or shorter or healthier or more exotic or less queer or more feminine.  You can be proud of yourself exactly as you are!  And trust me when I say that this is a radical thought, and a completely life-altering revelation.

Loving yourself is the greatest revolutionary act that women can take, and it is such an honor being a part of that rebellion!

What words or thoughts would you give to a woman who has fears or doubts of feeling confident and sexy in their body to do a boudoir photography session? 

I always start off by saying that fear and doubt are normal and expected.  We’re taught to be ashamed of our bodies, and that’s REALLY difficult to unlearn!  It takes way more effort to unlearn these ideas than it did to believe them in the first place.  So don’t be ashamed of how nervous you are, just accept that nerves are part of the process!  And the nerves will melt away soon.

Start by recognizing the absolute fact that you are not flawed.  You were created to exist exactly as you do, and by existing as you are, you are fulfilling your purpose. That truth can be hard to grasp, and I know it takes time to get to that point. But, it is the truth!  And working towards making that fact a part of your thought process will bring so much peace and joy to your life.

After you’ve accepted that fact, everything gets easier!  And if you’re still working toward that, don’t worry!  A boudoir session can be the catalyst for this change.  So, step 2 is to book a shoot!  Find a photographer that shares your values and creates photos that make your heart sing!  Then save up and book them.  Because I promise that the experience will completely shift your mindset.

Finally, keep practicing self-love, every single day.  Actively think about your body as your home, as something to be nourished, maintained, and celebrated.  Treat yourself well and speak to yourself kindly.  Surround yourself with people and experiences that fill you in a positive way, and remove the things from your life that cause pain and stress.  Whether you invest in boudoir photography or not, this part is CRUCIAL, for literally every single human.  Self-love is a journey and an ongoing process that you must actively choose, prioritize, and act upon.

Photography by: Laura Quintero Photography

How do you help encourage women to feel confident and comfortable before and during your sessions?

With open communication, personalized attention, positive reinforcement and their favorite music!
We communicate via e-mail and text for weeks leading up to the shoot, and I make sure their session is a reflection of their personality and style.  No two sessions are alike for that very reason!  I consult on locations, wardrobe choices, and hair and makeup styling to make sure the experience is perfectly tailored.
The sessions themselves are just a dance party and a shower of compliments; I just happen to be snapping photos!  My posing is centered around capturing movement, so there’s very little time to feel nervous or unsure.  I’m constantly giving direction and feedback to let my clients know how well they’re doing!  And of course, the right soundtrack is always on to set the mood!

Through your photography, you’ve have been able to capture women and their bodies in a graceful and loving way, what have you learned looking through the lens of your camera?

I’ve learned just how much we are asked to conform and change.  I’ve learned how much shame is carved into our minds and just how hard it is to erase it.  I’ve learned that the shame felt by marginalized groups is far greater, and we need to work as a society to listen to and uplift our friends of color, the disabled, the chronically or terminally ill, the LQBTQ and queer community, and all those who feel like their voices aren’t heard.  I’ve learned that I can use my platform of privilege to amplify the voices of others to create real change.

I’ve learned that humans are absolutely AMAZING and that we should all treat ourselves a little better.  I’ve learned that self-love is not bubble baths and face masks, but an active set of skills we must actively prioritize every day and act upon (and not an easy one for everyone).  And I’ve learned that I have the skills to create change and I will continue to work toward creating that change!

What has your own personal journey to loving your body and finding peace being in your own skin look like? And what have you learned along the way?

I actually had my own boudoir portraits done to celebrate my 25th birthday.  I was so nervous and excited.  This came shortly after ending a long-term serious relationship and healing from a cystectomy, and I had some deep scars from both.  I had cut off all my hair, I had put on some weight, and I was ready for that confidence boost that I kept hearing about.
Let me tell you, that shoot revolutionized my life.  I was so nervous the whole time, but I felt like a freaking GODDESS.

 

After living my entire life wishing I was prettier and hotter and thinner and sexier, I finally felt GOOD.  Good about every inch of me!  I am strong, I am happy, I am in control of my decisions, and I feel pretty for the first time in like…ever.

 

I’m still riding that wave, even though that session was over a year ago.  I feel more connected to my body and my identity and my values than ever before.  I know that I am worthy.  I know that I deserve respect.  I hope to keep the momentum going because this is what life should always be like!

 

We admire the way you use your platform to inspire and embrace self-love, body positivity. What inspired you to use your platform as a way to share your voice with your audience? 

I know that my business is more than just pretty pictures of empowered women.  I can use my business to encourage women to love themselves.  I can use my platform to elevate the experience of women of color and other marginalized people to ensure that everyone has the equal opportunity to love themselves.  I can create a safe space for women to pursue self-love together, and provide resources and experiences to guide and facilitate that process.  I have a responsibility to the world to make it a better place by being in it, and I will gladly make that my life’s and my businesses’s work.

Photography by: Laura Quintero Photography

 

What words of encouragement do you have for the women who are afraid to step in front of the camera because of their shape and size? 

Oh, love.  Your shape is nothing to be ashamed of!  There is nothing to be afraid of!  And I know, it’s so much easier said than done, but it is a FACT: no part of you is shameful.  Your body is beautiful and the joy in your soul deserves to be captured.  Show yourself off!  Buy some underclothes that make you feel comfortable and happy, and then contact a photographer that you want to work with!  You don’t need to lose any weight or attempt to change your body.  It is flawless and worth celebrating, exactly how it is!

How would you describe that feeling of being sexy, that moment of feeling confident and beautiful? How would you describe what that feels like?

It feels like stepping out of a warm shower onto the worlds plushiest bath mat to the smell of lavender.  Like driving with the windows down to your absolute favorite song in the perfect weather.  It feels like a cozy comforter and a perfectly fluffed pillow, where it’s not too hot and not too cold.  Basically, it feels like all of your favorite things wrapped into one feeling.  I want everyone to feel this way!  And that’s why I do what I do.

 

BONUS QUESTION: You have an incredibly empowering story and you are brave enough to share it with the world. How did you find the courage and if you could say one thing to the girl who is still afraid to share hers what would you say to her?

I felt pretty alone while I found out I had a really large ovarian cyst that would have to be removed with a traditional cesarean surgery, my ovary along with it.  And of course, nothing in life happens in a vacuum, and during this time I was also going through a break up with my then boyfriend of over four years.  I was starting up a new relationship, and there was so much uncertainty woven throughout my life.  And I let myself sit with that stress by myself for a while.  I, of course, had the support of my amazing family, without whom I would’ve fallen apart.  I don’t usually share my feelings with others and am a pretty private person.  I knew sharing would lift a huge weight off of my shoulders.  And it did!  It was such an important part of my healing process.
I know my story resonated with a lot of other women, and I have since tried to be as real and honest with my audience as I’m comfortable!  Being open has allowed clients to feel more connected to me, and it provides me with an outlet to share what I may not always be able to say out loud.  Now, I don’t owe anyone my story.  If I want to keep something private, I will!  But stories bring us together, and I know that in sharing mine, I can help others.

Photography by: Laura Quintero Photography

We would like to take a moment to thank Laura for taking the time to share her message, for being open and vulnerable, and for being a beacon of inspiration for all women.

To learn more about Laura and to receive daily inspiration from her you can find her via the links below:

Laura Quintero Photography: http://www.laurajquintero.com/

Laura’s Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lauraquinterophotography/

 

 

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