This past weekend I attended, for the fourth time, a women's only event called Pinup on the Plains. Hosted by Yvonne Denault and her best friend/right arm, Nadine Swee, what once started as an intimate "thank you" party for clients has morphed into a sold out, 600+ women's event. When asked "What is it?" I find it hard to explain. "It is a women's only event, for women, by women, empowering women.... you just need to go and then you will get it."
I am lucky to call Yvonne a friend. She is a true artist, not only with her photography, but her visions, her painting and her creations of couture outfits for her shoots and the runway. She has this unbelievable God-given gift to allow women to see themselves, through her photography, how we want to see ourselves, but usually can not see because of the filters we create on our own eyes. The filters of rejection, body image issues, insecurity, and "not enough." But she has the ability to peel back those negative self filters and capture us as we are. A shoot with her has literally changed some womens' lives.
The last few years, as part of the event, Yvonne and Nadine have added a runway fashion show. Originally created to give ideas about what to wear to a shoot, it has expanded to highlight the clothing and lingerie she has in her newly opened boutique Vivies, in Moorhead, MN. The most amazing part of this runway show are the models. They are us. Women. Every Woman. I was fortunate enough to be part of last year's runway show and met a tribe of AMAZING women. We came in all sizes, shapes, ages and backgrounds. There were Moms, college students, teachers, pastors, business women. This years fantastic tribe were no different. Gorgeous women of all ages, races, backgrounds and sizes. To see one of these models strut their stuff, in front of a screaming brood of women, is nothing less than chill inducing.
This year I treated my niece to tickets to the event. She and her lovely roommate attended and I have to honestly admit I was a wee bit nervous they may not "get it." They are young, early 20's before their metabolism has downshifted or their body has been used as housing by fetuses, leaving it feel as beat up and run down as a bad frat house. And they have grown up in the information age and the age of air-brushed perfection. They have never known any difference than the fallacy of edited-magazine standards of beauty.
So my heart SOARED with joy when they found me after the runway show and were ecstatic!
"Did you SEE those LADIES??? They ROCKED it! It was SO amazing! This is SO GREAT!!"
YES!!!! YES, YES, YES!!!!!
Little by little, tweak by tweak, this event is changing the perception of beauty. And these girls got it. At a young age.
I have no doubt that at the end of this night, 600 women's lives were ever so slightly changed by the models that stepped outside their comfort zone and positively displayed what IS true beauty.