It’s Not About Pics in Lingerie – It’s Seeing She’s Beautiful

I think many women carry on about their daily lives just doing what they always do. And hey, we’re all busy and need to get stuff done, so no judgement here. Living in this pandemic has only added to our stress (and waistlines) and appreciating ourselves has NOT been a priority. Am I right?! But it is US, our bodies, that have gotten us and our families through this trying time! What if we were to change our perspective and appreciate that this body of mine, including the added Covid-15 (thanks chips!), is strong and resilient and powerful! I’m just gonna say it, it’s beautiful!! I have a way to help you alter your thinking, get you outside of your regular routine and do something a little different, something just for you! Well yes I’m talking about having an empowering boudoir experience! If you know me, you know I’m all about women empowerment. Helping a woman to see that in fact she’s beautiful.

I so often hear women say, “Oh I wouldn’t look like that in photos. I don’t think boudoir is for me.” Wait, what?!

She Doesn’t Know She’s Beautiful!!

We’re not going to pretend like makeup and great lighting is all it takes to reverse a lifetime of fighting against the not-good-enoughs. Friend, this self-love shit is hard! But a soul-bearing, confidence-building, just-for-you photo experience is an incredibly powerful start! Who knows – it just might light a fire. Our Boudoir Photoshoot Experience is an intimate, women-centred portrait session that gives you space to explore all the different sides of yourself. It’s all about celebrating you for you, because you deserve it! And when she doesn’t know she’s beautiful, I can show her that she absolutely is!

And to prove this to you, I’m going to share with you 6 everyday, real women, just like you, plus myself, cause friend, I walk the walk. They may lead a different life than you but I am sure you’ll notice some similarities. Each one of them decided to carve out some time for themselves to put themselves first and have a boudoir experience. As you’ll see below, they are each incredible in their own ways. Their photos don’t lie! And, the experience itself filled their cup in ways they weren’t expecting. It was empowering, they felt incredibly beautiful and special, and realized that yes, all women should do something like this. We ALL deserve to feel amazing in our bodies and love ourselves just the way we are whether that’s a thinner or curvy woman, over or under 40, or with short or long hair. We are all different and unique and perfectly imperfect!

I also chose to show you a make-up free, au natural pic of these women that in most cases was submitted by them. Just a selfie from their phone to give you an idea of what they look like on a day to day basis. By stripping away the should’s and the supposed to’s, you’re revealing the most vulnerable, strong, and beautiful version of you. By capturing that version of you with professional photos, you get to keep you close and call on yourself whenever you need to. And that is what all these women chose to do, and we are so grateful that they are also choosing to share their stories to inspire you. 

So let’s meet these beauties!

Meet Ms. R

Woman on left makeup free gray hair. Woman on right has hair and makeup done in boudoir image wearing black lingerie

Age: 47.5
Location: North Vancouver, BC
Self Described: Exhausted mama of a special needs child, Silver & Age Embracer, Wannabe Farmgirl, hates fake people, loves ice cream a bit too much.
Being a woman today means: A whole lot of responsibility! But opportunity too. With life being so busy, women really have to intentionally carve out time for themselves to pursue their actual interests and not just let life carry on in the mundane day to day over-scheduled rat wheel of life.
Stories I’ve told myself that no longer serve me: Oh gosh, that I have to be famous and pretty to be important? LOL Thankfully I’m well past that stage in my life where I realize just how precious life is and that you can let go of that which doesn’t serve you, people included. That might sound harsh but we only have this one life and happiness can be hard to come by so be you and do you authentically. Don’t try to be something you’re not.

Boudoir image of a Woman in black body suit laying on her back on white bedding with hands up by head

Testimonial: “It took me a long time to get up the nerve to do this session. I’d done one at 19 years of age when I was full of self confidence and thought I was hot, lol. I definitely had a different body and outlook on life. Now, in my late 40s, who would want to see pics of me in lingerie?! But Michele explained that her studio was a safe space to explore my new body and that I’m just as amazing now as I was back then. Even more so really! And she was right! I easily embraced my gray hair a few years ago, so why not embrace the rest of me?! It was so much fun getting all dolled up (haven’t done that in ages!) and I love that I have images that represent the current me. Now I truly love and appreciate this older and wiser version of me. I’m still the same wannabe farm girl and I’m beautiful! Thank you Michele!” 

Meet Ms. R

Freshly showered woman on left. Boudoir image of same woman in lingerie on right

Age: 30
Location: Errington, BC 
Self Described: Colourful, loud, brave, and kind… Animal lover. Artist. 
Being a woman today means: So many things! For me, a reclamation. 
Stories I’ve told myself that no longer serve me: I am unlovable and “too much”. I am too sensitive, too smart, too outspoken. I take up too much space… Now I know my abundance is my gift. 

Woman wearing lingerie standing and laughing with a robe hanging around her elbows

Testimonial: “I’ve gotten to know Michele of Mateus Studios from a couple shoots this year, and trust me… She is the best! She’ll make you feel comfortable and at ease during your photoshoot, plus she captures great photos! She’ll help you bring out your inner badass, and have a great time. Don’t pass her up!”

Meet Ms. L

She doesn't know she's beautiful. A red head woman in green v-neck top on the left and wearing black lingerie standing in a sexy pose on the right in a boudoir image

Age: 31 
Location: Maple Ridge, BC
Self Described: Mother of two young boys, Cancer survivor. Imperfect woman trying to navigate through life’s challenges.  I seek out adventure, try to push myself to do new experiences and step outside my comfort zone.  I don’t believe in having regrets, learn from the past and then do better next time.
Being a woman today means:  Trying to balance too many hats.  Amazing opportunities to be whoever you want but also immense pressure to be everything to everyone.  It’s an impossible standard that does seem to be slowly slipping.  
Stories I’ve told myself that no longer serve me:  I’ve always been very harsh with self criticism.  I am quick to judge myself and don’t offer myself enough grace.  I am learning to change that narrative and offer myself kindness, acceptance, growth, and love.  If I wouldn’t say something to someone else I should not say it to myself.  

woman laying on her back wearing lingerie and a neck collar with a chain that she's holding in her hands and between her teeth in boudoir image

Testimonial: “I had been toying with doing a photo shoot for a while, and loved Michele’s work.  When I saw the Black Friday deal I jumped at the chance.  Michele has an ease about her that flows so well.  Her energy and infectious laugh really created a safe and fun atmosphere and her support pulls out the sexiness within you that you may not have thought was there.  I enjoyed the experience so much I did not want it to end, and cannot wait to book another.”

Meet Ms. R

up close image of woman's face wearing glasses and to the right same woman wearing makeup and a top and a feather in her hair

Age: 37
Location: Greater Vancouver Area
Self Described: serious lover of a well made oat milk latte, Queer, parent of 3 unschooling kiddo’s with diverse needs, lover of love in all it’s forms.
Being a woman today means: Taking less shit, giving less fucks. Embracing all of the muchness and not being afraid to ask for help or delegate. Never stop learning. We can do anything; we can’t do everything. 
Stories I’ve told myself that no longer serve me: I grew up being told I’m too much, too sensitive. I should tone down, make less noise so I can fit in and make others more comfortable. Too much and too sensitive. Now I embrace both of these. I might be a lot, or even too much, for some people but I’ll be just the right amount for a select few. My sensitivity is a part of who I am and contributes to my skill set in my professional life, as a partner, and as a parent.

woman in sexy lingerie and thigh high boots laying on her back on a cowhide rug with feet up on a couch in a boudoir image

Testimonial: “I had always wanted to do a shoot like this but always had a reason why not to. I should lose more weight first, I shouldn’t do it because I’m a parent, and money. I loved Michele’s comfort in exploring what I wanted the experience to be. Her openness and willingness to learn and be present created a safe space for me to ask for what I wanted. I don’t feel comfortable with classic sexy styles, and needed lots of guidance for where to place my hands or angle my body. I often feel like an imposter in my body and the clothes I put on it. Doing this was a way for me to further embrace being present in my body as it is right now. Giving myself full permission to be my version of sexy.”

Meet Ms. K

Woman at beach on left. Naked woman draped in fabric in boudoir image on right

Age: 43
Location: North Van, BC
Self Described: Middle aged adventurer and Mom of 3. It’s been a season of coming to terms with mid-life changes, both physical and spiritual. I’ve learned so much recently about life and myself, I hope to continue to learn and one day be a wise elder (in the not so distant future!). I have many interests that range from business to creative writing to anything woo woo. 
Being a woman today means: Facing lots of choices around who or what you want to be. We were taught as girls we could grow up and “have it all”, that the world was ready for us to have careers and children and not miss out on anything. But the reality is the world still very much operates around patriarchy and it’s not that simple. 
Stories I’ve told myself that no longer serve me: No one will take me seriously or think I am professional if I’m overweight. My priority is to make other people comfortable in my presence. 

Woman in black lingerie sitting on the floor with hand to head in boudoir image

Testimonial: “Michele is so trustworthy and so passionate about making women feel good about themselves and positive about their bodies. I just knew the process would be like, healing and empowerment for women and that’s what it was. Thank you Michele for an amazing experience.”

Meet Ms. S

young Indian woman. she doesn't know she's beautiful. a close up of her face on left and same woman in a sexy pose with tattoo on her arm and black tank top on right in boudoir image

Age: 27
Location: Abbotsford BC
Self Described: Inquisitive explorer, activist for women’s and LGBTQIA+ community, eco-friendly, animal lover.
Being a woman today means: Empowerment! It is much much better than what it used to be for women, thanks to awareness through social media but it isn’t the best. We need to stand by each other fight misogyny. 
Stories I’ve told myself that no longer serve me: Working on a bikini body without realizing that I do have a bikini body! A body that wears a bikini is a freaking bikini body!

boudoir image of a tattooed woman sitting on a block with knee up and arm resting on her knee

Testimonial: “Michele is one of her kind, she’s amazing and she knows what exactly she’s doing. I loved working with her, getting photographed. I was extremely nervous when I we started but within 30 minutes I was extremely comfortable because I could trust her with all my heart. She’s the best! I loved every moment of being there and getting photographed. And of course the photos blew my mind! Thank you so much Michele <3”


So there you have it. 6 of the many women who have trusted me to take their photo. They’re everyday, real women, just like you! They dislike chores, enjoy good food and get up in the morning and go to sleep at night. I imagine you could relate to a few, or at least one of them?! And the list wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t walk the walk after talking the talk, so here’s ME!

Hi, I’m Michele!

blond woman in leopard print top on left and same woman in sexy black revealing vest and panties in boudoir image on right

Age: 44
Location: Coquitlam, BC
Self Described: Chronic Optimist with a fiery soul. I am a natural born storyteller, and love encouraging and supporting people to use their voice to tell their story. I am a woman living with MS, a mom of a very spirited little, a wife, a friend and a citizen of this planet trying to do my best but I know I often make mistakes and am committed to learning from them.  I love ice cream, dogs and my love language is gifts and quality time!
Being a woman today means: For ME it means a lot of unlearning, relearning, connecting with others and myself. It means getting rid of the shame and guilt we were raised with simply by the society we are in, and stepping in our power that we deserve to be seen, to be loved, to be valued, to be heard and to freaking shine our lights so bright! I want to be a woman that listens, that raises others up, that speaks when others ask for support. Being a woman also means being a good role model for the next generation, show them that they can make a living doing amazing things, that their body shape, size, ability, colour should not define their success – I say ‘should not’ as we are still living in a very patriarchal society which pisses me off, so the goal is to empower women to rise up! On Wednesdays I smash the Patriarchy! 
Stories I’ve told myself that no longer serve me: That I am not worthy of success, that I will amount to nothing (thanks dad!) as an immigrant child. 

woman with hair pulled back standing in front of a plant wearing a leather bolero and panties with breasts showing in boudoir image

I’m so glad and very grateful that these women made the decision to treat themselves to a Boudoir Experience. They’re now able to appreciate themselves a little bit more, begin to love their bodies a little bit more and know that they are worthy and amazing and incredible and all the things!! Each woman now knows that she’s beautiful! Don’t you think you deserve all that too? Because you do!! We welcome all people who self-identify as women – all races, all ages (okay all that are 19+), all body types, all backgrounds. We are here to CELEBRATE YOU, not judge you. This is a safe space that we can’t wait to share with you!

Photos shared with permission.

Michele Mateus is a Boudoir, Intimate Portrait & Nude Fine Art Photographer located in Coquitlam, BC. Serving Coquitlam, Vancouver, Greater Vancouver and Fraser Valley, BC. Studio, Outdoor and On-location Boudoir Photography.

Hair & Makeup By Jenny Valla.

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