Arthur and I took a break for a couple of weeks before we resumed shooting together. When we were ready to get started, Arthur suggested a studio session which honestly are becoming my fave. I bring in my inner top model thanks to watching the first three seasons of America’s Top Model. Smizing anyone?
Since we always have a creative direction for the shoot, I asked him what he had in mind. His reply.
“Annie, bring something that you have always wanted to shoot.”
Well, that made me extremely happy because I had something special in mind. My darling friend Hanh had purchased tickets to the Met Opera for a February performance. Gowns and Operas went hand in hand like peas and carrots. After scouring the sites for a gown, I got frustrated and decided to make one myself. With that beautiful African print. I have never worked on such a full scale project. Armed with courage and undiluted resolve, I wanted to see this gown come to fruition.
It being winter, purchasing an African Print fabric, is close to finding a needle in the haystack. I wanted to feel the fabric rather than purchase something online. Optimism was my friend and off to MOOD I went. One of the associates was not sure if they had any left but she suggested I go to a floor below I might lucky and boy did I. Right underneath the stairs was a bin with Ankara Prints and at the bottom lay my gem. I could not believe it. All 6 yards of pure gloriousness sprinkled with gold hearts and stars as if to say we have been waiting for your Ro Ro. XOXO
Oh the joy!
I dashed back upstairs, grabbed an invisible zipper by the checkout and skipped home like a young girl who just got a bag full of kit Kat.
I sketched a few designs, zeroed in on one that I figured would be a straight shot. Simple bodice. Full skirt.
The simplest design that I went for gave me a massive headache carefully undoing and redoing. Everyone deals with this part of the creative process differently. The part where things are not going sooooo smoothly.
Anyway, after countless undoing, redoing, start stop, scissors, bobbin and threading, I seemed to gain a little traction. Phew!
This process is so frustrating I need doses of inspo to get me through. The dosage of choice comes through the Pharmacy of Youtube. Ted Talks and commencement speeches with the recommended dosage four times a day. In taking this said dosage, I happened to be listening to a Ted Talk on “The Art of being yourself.” By Carol McHugh. First of all she is uber chic and her lilting scottish accent is beyond adorable. Anyway, in it she mentioned someone who is supremely herself and placed a video of her.
It was my girl Jill Scott (bff in my head) and she was talking about QUEENDOM. Jill Scott was about to go on stage right after Eryka Badu. The interviewer then asked her if she was nervous. Jill laughed, smiled and asked
“Have you ever seen me perform.?”
Ugg yess…. I did a slow clap.
Then she went ahead and said,
“ We all have our own thing, that’s the magic that every body comes with their own sense of strength and Queendom. Mine could never compare to hers and hers could never compare with mine.”
So freaking beautiful.
I had to go and find the video in it’s entirety.
It got me thinking about us women and how each of us have something special within us. Each and everyone of us. But first you have to know who you are, that way you do not get shaken by anyone else’s identity since you already know yours. Jill was not threatened by Eryka’s performance, she knew she had her own set to kill once she got up on that stage. I get inspired all the time by women around me and some that I follow on social media. Beautiful women doing there thing, mastering their craft and staying true to themselves. It’s inspiring.
You should have seen my face when I finally stood in the mirror, wearing this gown for the first time. Tears. There I was with a head wrap on, face scrubbed off all makeup and a few acne spots glaring at me. Eyes wide in awe.
I DID THAT!
I knew I had to give this dress all the shine it deserved. Getting to the end product came with a few struggles but it’s in overcoming them that makes the results much sweeter.
In my Queendom, I get frustrated, I struggle with things, sometimes I have good days, sometimes I have bad ones, life at times comes at me fast, I cry, I laugh, I get back up, I sing really badly, I get pictures taken, pictures that blow my mind away and remind me that despite the acne being my bff, I am beautiful. Why are we not allowed to say that to ourselves? Embrace it. If no one has told you so, you are beautiful. Yes you!! :)
I am forever a student. I am learning that it’s ok to say how I feel. To share my magic. To follow my dreams. To be patient with myself. To enjoy the journey despite the pitfalls, nothing worth having came easy. To have quiet time. To pray. To take a break when the zipper aint cooperating. To laugh loudly. I now understand that sometimes when things are falling apart, they are actually falling into place. That silence is also an answer. I am learning that the same way I physically protect myself, from being pushed around or controlled I should do the same mentally. It’s easy to willingly hand over your mind by digesting social media, television and what other people are doing or thinking. To look inward than outward. To stay focused. To be more present, self - aware and do the things that set my soul on fire.
I am sure you go through different things in your Queendoms. Whatever it is my friend, I salute you.
And like Jill Scott said, we all come with our sense of strength in our Queendoms. I am embracing that strength wholeheartedly.
Gown: Roshie Anne
Headwrap: Roshie Anne
Carmen at the Metropolitan Opera was absolutely divine!! I want to go to more Operas so I can wear more gowns. lol
I still listen to Ted TALKS. Currently overdosing.
I am still blown away by these pictures. Arthur is a G.
The extra fabric that remained after I made the dress was made into the headwrap on the DIRECTION post..>>
As always thank you for stopping by. :)