Daraja’s Boudoir Photoshoot Experience

Jacksonville, FL

Welcome to the HerStory series, where I highlight women I have photographed who want to share their personal stories or experience as boudoir clients.

When Daraja and I met in the studio – it was an instant connection. Her vibe and energy were everything. While she was getting her hair and makeup done for her boudoir session, she and I were chatting and getting to know one another. I asked her has taken professional photos before, and her response was “all the time.” I was like, whattttttt, tell me more. Come find out, she competes in Jacksonville as a bodybuilder and is a health/fitness coach that offers services in person or virtually. Meet Daraja!

Where are you from?

I grew up north in Erie, PA. I’ve lived in Florida for 11 years, currently residing in Jacksonville, FL.

Tell me three fun facts about you?

  • I compete as an IFBB Bikini Pro Athlete.
  • My favorite color is pink.
  • I love helping women discover they are capable and worth of confidence

What do you do as a career, and what is it like being a woman in that profession?

I compete in bodybuilding and am a health and fitness coach full-time. There has always been a stigma around women and their physical appearance in the fitness industry. People have opinions on what the “ideal” woman should look like. Not too muscular, not too lean, small waist, wide hips (hourglass frame), “feminine.” In reality, women come in all shapes and sizes, and I think it should be celebrated more, and women should learn to embrace a “healthy” body AND mind, which is subjective. I think women should be better educated on what is necessary for growth, not just on the outside but on the inside.

Why did you want to do a boudoir photoshoot?

I think there is something so empowering about femineity. In my opinion, women are more powerful and capable than we give ourselves credit for. The Divine Feminine is something we ALL possess, and I enjoy being able to express that without feeling like the sole purpose is to please the opposite sex or to be provocative.

And as a competitor, we are always looking to “fix” things about ourselves. We view ourselves under a microscope, always so critical. It is important to celebrate our shape in all phases, not just when we are stage lean. I like to set an example.

As someone that takes professional photos often because of your profession, how was a boudoir photoshoot different?

I can see why someone might be intimidated by doing something like this. Sometimes, we take photos, and they are for other people. We try to look a certain way, pose a certain way to hide certain flaws. This shoot I did for myself and my partner. I’ve never seen myself in this way, the way I do when I look at my photos from our session, and I feel beautiful differently.

What would you tell someone that’s on the fence about a boudoir session? 

Girl, JUST DO IT! There are great things to be discovered about ourselves when we do things outside of our comfort zone. It’s good to get a little uncomfortable! You never know what the benefits might be. I think it’s good to do things that scare you.

You are SO good at giving direction; I never felt like I didn’t know what I was doing or wasn’t getting a good photo. You helped me find MY best angles.

Interested in a boudoir photo in Jacksonville?

Click here to learn more about the Pompy Portraits Photography experience. Are you ready to tell your story queen? Let’s do it!

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