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My Pretty Woman Experience

We all remember that classic scene from Pretty Woman, right? Where Julia Roberts gets denied and shamed out of a posh Beverly Hills store because they don’t think she is the type of woman who can and should be in their store? If you don’t remember here is the clip:



Well today I kinda had my own “Pretty Woman” experience… Or shall we say NOT-so-pretty-woman experience.

I had heard of a lingerie store in town that I did not knew existed. I am always looking for the BEST lingerie stores to refer my boudoir clients to. In a dream world, there would be a store here in town with great selection and helpful sales people who I could collaborate with, so I know if I refer my clients to them, my clients will have a great shopping experience and leave with just the right items for a shoot. I just wanted to check the store out and see what they had, maybe introduce myself but it was mostly a stop-in-see-what-you-got outing. Was I dressed up? No. I was in the middle of a busy day. This morning I threw on a (what I think is) cute romper from Forever21 and I haven’t changed since. Was I in make up? No. The fact is despite having a love of glamour, I am also a no-muss-no-fuss kind of gal, and most days I don’t bother with make up. The clerk asked why I was there and looking for and I explained what I do, showed her one of my cards with photos on it, and explained I was just checking out the store’s selection. That’s when it happened.

She told me **I** was actually the  one in need of make over and I should be practicing what I preach. According to her, I was not made up nice enough to be introducing myself to another business  and looked like I was 8 year old the way I was dressed. According to her, I should also have taken the time to wear make up, because it’s not polished to introduce yourself to a business without wearing make up. She said I should know better. And maybe I should have.


The whole experience got me thinking about my shoots and why I do what I do. To be clear, I do not shoot glamour and boudoir because I think every woman needs to dress and look her best on a daily basis. No, quite the opposite. I understand that women have a lot on their plate. We are employees, business owners, volunteers, mothers, daughters, sisters, friends, wives, girlfriends, lovers, caretakers and more. There are days we don’t put make up  on, eat lunch till three, or ever get  out of the yoga clothes (yoga clothes I should add that we never actually got around to doing yoga in that day). I understand that. For most modern women, every day is not a red carpet experience.

And yet, I believe that is what most of us our longing for. For one special day to be made to feel beautiful. To be celebrated. To be dressed up as close to a Hollywood starlet as possible. And to have a magazine worthy photograph taken of us to remember the whole experience by. So when we have that day where we aren’t feeling enough, or someone has cut us down, we can look back at that picture and remember that fabulous woman is in there all the time. And that you are beautiful and should never forget that.

So that’s why I do what I do. Maybe a glamour/boudoir shoot seems superficial on the surface. But it is truly about empowering the inner beauty. It is truly about celebrating who you are. And it is truly about loving yourself– loving yourself dressed up and loving yourself dressed down.

I want to give every woman this experience. I want to give every woman this powerful message. And I never ever ever want to make another woman feel the way the employee at the lingerie store made feel today.

Here is a picture of me today after the whole experience. Yup, it’s a selfie. Trying to smile through the salty tears I had just shed. Trying to remember that I am beautiful and stylish and sophisticated and mature no matter what anyone else thinks or says. I am showing it to you to keep it real. This is who I am. I am not a glamour girl 24/7 and I am definitely not perfect. Most days I am just Ashleigh, trying to conquer the day, and trying to take the best  care of my clients, friends, family and cats the best I can. That’s who I am. And that is beautiful.

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PS- after this whole thing happened, the friend I was with contacted the actual store owner and told her what went down. The owner was EXTREMELY nice and personally called me to apologize for her employee and affirmed that she owns a lingerie store to also help women feel beautiful and was really upset that this happened in her store. I truly appreciate that kind of customer service and try my very best to give that same care and service to my clients as well.

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  • Sherry - You are beautiful and you helped me personally feel beautiful!!! I love the experience that you gave to me and I tell every woman they need to have a day like! I love my photos, but most importantly I love how you helped me to feel beautiful and comfortable!!! I’m sorry you had a rough morning

  • Karen - To my hip, stylish friend… I am so sorry to hear you had this experience. Sadly, I have a feeling most of us have had that pretty woman experience and good for you for putting it all out there! And shame on them. I’m so happy to see your boudoir business grow so you can pass on the feeling of empowerment to all us women!

  • CC - That’s absolutely awful that that happened to you! I’m so sorry! Where does someone get off thinking they have the right to comment on another person’s body like that anyway? That being said, I’m glad you decided to write about it — for the sake of the middle school girls that I work with every day, I wish there were more strong and powerful women out there voicing that a.) who you are and what you do is so much more important than what you look like and what people think, and b.)as strong beautiful women, we can be successful and get through anything regardless of what the haters say. If only this kind of stuff was making front page news instead of Miley Cyrus! Thank you for being awesome and sharing your awesomeness!

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