A few months ago, I was asked to "model" for a friend of a friend's jewelry line. I said "yes" as I usually do to new experiences, but was not at all sure what I was getting myself into. As the shoot grew near, I met Ashley - AOKO SU's designer, and what a shining light! The connection between us was raw and real and it definitely put both of us at ease to meet before the big day. After looking at more of her work, talking to the wonderful Melody Gulick, who designed the set (and what a breath-taking set it was!) the reality of how amazing this shoot was going to be set in. 

The day of the shoot was surreal - we were up at 6:30am and hit the ground running. The whole crew was amazing - not only did everyone work together to create a comfortable environment and experience, but everyone made this AOKO SU dream world a reality. As someone who is not a professional model (absolutely not), I was of course, nervous and unsure, but I didn't have much time to think about that in the moment and before we knew it, it was 5pm and it was a wrap. 

I feel very blessed to have had this experience, not just to work with a group of unfamiliar people and create something beautiful from start to finish, but most importantly to connect mind, body, and soul with Ashley, as she is someone I now call a "sister" in this walk of life. 

This experience also allowed me to embrace my "differences" from the ideal model and accept that those "differences" are irrelevant to begin with. It was also a stepping stone to becoming more comfortable in front of someone else's lens, talking self-portraits is MUCH different. But most of all, this experience proves that my desires to be a part of collaborative art visions is very possible. This body of work is beyond any individual's ego, it is a a symbol of community and harmony, allowing everyone's strengths to shine as one body of work. 

(also, super bummed my last name is spelled wrong, but that should be fixed soon)

Thank you to everyone who made the experience possible and may we continue to shine on.