Surviving and Thriving | Boudoir : Judi

The first time I met Judi was at the opening meeting for Brushes with Cancer. Brushes with Cancer is a program I participated in last year which pairs artists and people who have been touched with cancer, and together they embark on a meaningful six-month program.

While Judi wasn’t my partner in Brushes with Cancer, something immediately drew me to her. Judi told me she was from Memphis, Tennessee. Within minutes we found out that we had a first cousin in common through marriage, and that was it. Judi was instantly family, and getting to know her was a special experience for me. From our first encounter, she was nothing but honest and open, and it was easy to be inspired by the strength she held within. Being a survivor, a mother,.a wife, and an artist in her own way while wearing a thousand different hats as a woman was unimaginable to me. And here she was, laughing and bubbly, with wine in hand, enjoying life, even though she was still in physical pain.

5 years ago she was diagnosed with tongue cancer.

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Judi said, “I felt that my body betrayed me, failed me, didn't do what it was supposed to do. I am a five year tongue cancer survivor, and like many survivors, I was having a hard time accepting myself after the shock of what I had been through. My life will never be what it was, some of my disabilities are permanent and it's sometimes hard to feel confident and beautiful when so much has been taken away.”

When Judi contacted me specifically do to a boudoir session, I was already hoping that I would be able to have the opportunity, and I was super excited about planning everything with her! We settled on a date which happened to land on her 5 year surgery anniversary! That was just the beginning of all the special moments we shared together.

With the talented Jaquelyn Mowszowski Lawrence, we began the day on her beautiful, little farm in Moshav Herut…

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After the session, we enjoyed a homemade breakfast with fresh eggs and herbs from her backyard. It was so relaxing and connecting, and I think that we were both feeling a sense of freedom from the boudoir session!

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Any concern that Judi might have had over the next few weeks before receiving her pictures were put at ease when she started going through them. “When I look and the photos I see a beautiful me, and more important, a confident me. I can see the strength, courage and fierceness that I wish will stay with me always.”

As a boudoir photographer and Judi’s friend, there is nothing more I can ask for, and I’m so grateful that I was able to help create this space that gave her the ability to see herself this way. These boudoir experiences mean everything to me. Thank you, Judi.

Makeup by Jaquelyn Mowszowski Lawrence