Elsa was the first.
Our morning together was full of slightly nervous laughter and “Hey…trust me…stand in the weeds.”
Her beauty and strength astonished me at every turn and I can’t wait for you to hear her thoughts on beauty, along with her honesty about being herself.

Much love, Elsa.

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How are you feeling about yourself today?

I feel liberated. Liberated from my own expectations of who I should be and society’s standard of beauty. On one hand, there’s a powerful force that’s telling me, “be natural! Embrace the coil-ness of your God-given hair! Embrace your black features!” On the other hand, you have the rest of the world that’s like, “wear it long and straight! It’s more appropriate. You look more exotic that way!” So today I feel liberated. Liberated that above “how” I am “supposed” to wear my hair or how I look, I serve a God who knows each strain that is on my hair. I serve a God who knitted me EXACTLY how He wanted me to be. Not a shade lighter or a shade darker. Not an inch taller or an inch shorter. Above my looks, my hair texture, my blackness, I am an Image bearer. I am freed from any standards; and that is liberating.

Can you describe your daily routine for getting ready to leave the house?

I shower, brush my teeth, put on my clothes, curl my hair, clean up my eyebrows, then put a little foundation on. Depending on what time I wake up or the mood of the morning, I may not use foundation.

Do you have one or two things that you do to make yourself feel more confident?

YES  I have one. I clean up my eyebrows to give them a more defined look. When my eyebrows are done, I feel good. I don’t need foundation or any of that, my hair can even look “off”, but as long as my eyebrows look nice, I’m good to go. 

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How did this session make you feel?

This session made me feel beautiful. I felt Savannah captured how I see myself and how I want to be seen. I felt loved; loved in that my beauty is not only recognized, but also embraced. My skin complexion, my height, my long arms and legs lol, I feel beautiful. 

How did the photos make you feel?

The photos made me feel a sense of peace. Like it’s okay to be darker; it’s okay that my nose is a little wide. It’s okay because beauty is NOT solely based on outward appearance. My identity is not found in my beauty or how I look. It’s found in Christ, the perfecter of my faith and life. 

Do you have a hard time seeing yourself as beautiful?

YES, more often than I want to admit. Even yesterday. I get so focused on the “if only I” or the “what ifs”, that it makes it hard to be confident and see myself as beautiful. It’s a heart issue for me. It’s like, I understand it biblically, theologically, but I want to feel beautiful.

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If you’re comfortable talking about it, what’s something that has been a hard insecurity to fight in your life?

I would say my skin complexion, definitely. High school was a hard season for me in that area. During that time, being lighter-toned was considered beautiful. It was amplified in music; where artists would literally say that light-skinned women are more beautiful than dark-skinned women or their preference was light-skinned women. You saw it in videos and billboards. It was everywhere. It’s like my complexion spoke before I did. To the world, my complexion meant it was dirty, or was associated with slavery. I even felt inferior at some times.

Has that always been the case?

No, growing up, I never saw my skin as a problem. Not until late middle school. 

What are your favorite physical features about yourself?

My favorite physical features are my eyes and my legs, definitely my legs, haha. 

What are your favorite NON-physical features about yourself?

I love that when I love, I love deeply.

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What is one thing that makes you feel loved?

Besides the refreshing thought that I am loved by the Creator of the Universe, one thing that makes me feel loved is when I am around my family.

Do you have anything you’d like to share with others about beauty, worth, or these sessions?

I am so grateful for Savannah and how she uses her gift of photography to encourage and edify people through the lens of the Gospel. This session has been very encouraging for me as it allowed me to truly reflect on what beauty and worth means. We live in a society where subjectivity rules. The search for beauty is really the quest to be loved, and to be loved deeply. In the past and sometimes in the present, I have put too much energy into my physical appearance; hoping that my beauty will galvanize the hearts of others to love me how I desire to be loved. But here’s what’s wrong with that theory: I am putting too much pressure on people to give me a love that is only found vertically, not horizontally. My deepest desire to be loved has already been accomplished wayyy before I was born. It was accomplished when God sent His Son to die on the cross for me. THAT’S LOVE. For someone I’ve never seen to have DIED for me? That’s crazy. Through Christ’s death, I have been reconciled with my Creator, the very first person who thought I was beautiful. The reason I know beauty and worth is because I know Love. So I can humbly say I am beautiful because I have experienced Love, and my worth was gained by Love.

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Savannah Lauren | Photography
SAVANNAH LAUREN
Bold intimate photography that tells your story