Last Word from the Editorial Director

by Deborah Rogers –

How do you feel about having your photo taken? Do you get camera shy – always position yourself tucked behind someone else? Do you say “I always look awful in pictures!” when your family tries to capture a special moment? I hear you. I was one of those people too.

I didn’t get into writing to have my photo taken; in fact, I thought there was a good chance that I’d be able to hide behind words forever. If you can find a photo of me as a teenager, I will look embarrassed, with a closed mouth smile to hide my braces. I was self conscious and it hung around even after the braces were gone and the hair and clothing started to look more put together.

When I joined Seaside and started adding my contribution to Last Word, we had a small head-and-shoulders photo to accompany the text, and that suited me just fine. But then Sue had the great idea of having local clothing stores dress us for our editorial column photos. These photo shoots are terrifying to contemplate, and yet so much fun, and totally life-affirming. It would be hard to think of a situation further outside the comfort zone of a 30-year-old Deb than “we’re going to dress you in pajamas and have you pose for a full page photo.” I would have died! But look, here I am, genuinely having fun, hamming it up; that’s a real smile on my face (though a pretend cocktail in the shaker).

What changed? Well, I got older. Why didn’t older women tell me when I was 15 and 20 and 30 that the way you feel about yourself doesn’t have to be set in stone? It’s been a revelation to reach my mid-40s and discover that actually it’s not mortifying to have some grey hair. Nobody ever comments on my short legs or round tummy or all the imperfections I find in myself. If people comment it’s about the clothes, and then only to say that they like them. I’m not saying that people aren’t at home judging me; they could well be. It’s just that I find I can’t make myself care about that anymore.

I know many of the women who had their photos taken for our Women to Watch feature will have found being in front of the camera difficult. I’m proud of them all for putting themselves to the forefront of their businesses. You are beautiful, every single one of you!

Photo by Janis Jean Photography. Fabulous PJs provided by Lily Pad Lingerie; self-confidence by me!

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