#1 Faces Project - Emily

Last Year I launched a small personal project to showcase ordinary women overcoming ordinary daily issues - insecurities, lack of self confidence, low self-esteem and self-love, or just wanting to rediscover who they are after challenges in life. The aim of this project was that by showcasing different women with common issues to us all, I could reach out to all women and let them know that they are not alone in their feelings, but can also change their point of view, increase their own confidence and live a life true to themselves.

Emily, who is the first of my brave participants, reached out to me with one of the most amazing stories:

I decided to nominate for 15 faces because there was a side of me that I was unable to see. My family and friends were telling me I was strong and inspirational, I saw myself as a nobody.

I survived attempted murder after I plucked up enough courage to leave a domestic violence relationship. I thought I did what anyone would have done. But I have come to realise that I would have died that day if I had done anything different to what I did. People said I should write a book about my experience, I didn't want to just write my story, so I wrote a book that would help other women survive domestic violence.

Emily wanted to see the side of herself that everyone else saw.

I felt small, I was hiding. Yet I wanted to promote my book, speak up and stand out - things that are hard to do when you don't want to be seen.

I could see that Emily was feeling unsure and vulnerable with the shoot, but we were able to design a session that was about Emily, no one else. When Emily returned to the studio with her partner to view her photos I could see we had produced something that touched her, that spoke to her.

The photos allowed me to see a softer side of me. I have a lot of barriers up to keep myself safe. The photos have helped me see what others see, and allowed me to accept myself.

For participating in the project all nominees were gifted an image. Emily chose one to use on her book cover, to show the world who she is. For anyone who is experiencing domestic violence, or knows someone who is, I highly recommend her book “Let My Voice Be Yours”. I have read it and it touched me very deeply on a very personal note, and helped me understand what someone very close to me had gone through.

Emily is one of the strongest women I have met - truly inspirational in her strength she has had to show in her life, in her bravery to tell her story so that she might help others find their own strength, and in the caring she shows by doing all of this

Emily Archer_2018-07-07_Amelia-McLeod-Photgraphy-4.jpg

When asked if Emily had enjoyed herself and would consider doing this again, her response was:

Amelia and Leah made me feel very comfortable right from the start as I felt very vulnerable… I had a great time, it was great to spoil myself, something I don't do often enough! The photos were very professional, and I would do it again.

Hair and makeup by Leah Metaxas.