Category Archives: Personal Branding

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Spotlight on: Michelle Martello

Michelle’s a triple threat, who’s everything a modern entrepreneur wants: a talented web designer, fierce digital strategist and brilliant coder. Most importantly, she’s someone you can trust, always tells it like it is, and goes many extra miles for you.

I should know – Michelle is finishing up the new ChristaMeola.com, launching this Fall.

As fiery as her hair color, Michelle is hilarious, the sexiest dancer you’ll ever want to meet and one of my dearest friends.

My husband and I love visiting Michelle and her husband in Richmond. You can expect house music and homemade cocktails; wine tasting and drag racing; hot seats and lots of hospitality.

Check out our interview below to hear more about Michelle and her latest exciting project.

I’m delighted to introduce you to (the completely unretouched) Michelle Martello…

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Michelle, give me 5 words to describe you.
Loyal. Strong. Creative. Independent. Witty.

What is your greatest gift?
I love looking at the bigger picture of someone’s business – envisioning years ahead and seeing what’s next. Staying ahead of the curve and getting my clients to the top of their game.

How do you keep inspired?
Constantly reading everything I can get my hands on. A slight Pinterest obsession. Running on my favorite forest trails. Frequent retreats to spaces where I can’t get wifi.

How do you walk your walk?
I strive to do everything with the utmost integrity. I refuse to put my name on anything I’m not proud of.

Can you tell us a favorite inspirational story of someone you’ve helped?
These days I’m most proud of my role as a mentor. I love supporting designers to find their voice, gain confidence and challenge themselves. I love when people I’ve mentored come back a year later to say our work together completely changed their lives – they’ve turned their business around and are working with amazing clients and projects.

What are you most excited about right now?
I am so passionate about helping business owners create their own online products and services . The online education sphere is a huge (and still vastly underserved) market. Creating your own product is a great way to get known, generate income and to share your knowledge with the world. That’s why I’ve created an all new guidebook, The Minima Guide to Getting Paid Online that covers everything you need to know about selling (and getting paid) online.

When do you feel your most beautiful?
In the ocean.

How do you feel about your body?
I fought my curves for a long time, and I’ve finally accepted that I’ll never be a stick. My goals have changed as I’ve aged. I’m more interested in staying strong and agile than fitting into a size 0.  I want to be doing handstands when I’m 90 and not be worried about getting up the stairs. I want to try everything at least once. I’d love to learn parkour and run a spartan race.

What’s your favorite book?
Any kind of historical fiction or biography.

Favorite quote?
Well-behaved women seldom make history – Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

Favorite piece of art?
Art that makes you question everything. Currently I’m loving anything by the painter Kehinde Wiley, and Ai Weiwei blows my mind.  Modern architecture and furniture design are my other great passions.

Favorite object in your home?
My beloved aussie shepherd rescue pup, Juno.

Favorite hangout?
My front porch. Endless entertainment from people watching!

Favorite beauty product?
Dr. Jart BB Cream. I’m so fair-skinned it’s hard to find any coverage that matches my complexion. This is quick to use, gives me a glow and protective all at once.

Favorite can’t-live-without item?
Wireless headphones. I need house music at all times!

What’s your #1 tip for fellow entrepreneurs?
Get connected! The best thing I ever did was get out of my comfort zone and start connecting with others online and in person. Go to events and conferences and meet your clients and contemporaries in person!

It’s too easy to hide behind our computers, and we forget that real people exist behind the personas. Get out there and talk to people. At the end of the day, we exist to support each other. I can’t tell you how many people have worked with me because other clients have referred me. They know that not only will I deliver, but they’ve also got someone who believes in them.

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I think her answer to when she feels the most beautiful is… well, beautiful.

Count yourself lucky if you get to work with or be mentored by Michelle, and you’ve hit the jackpot if you get invited over to her house for a dance party.

More Personal Branding portraits soon!

xo Christa

ps. #RealisBeautiful – Michelle opted to remain unretouched in all of the photographs above.

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[VIDEO] Want to instantly change how you’re feeling?

I’m sitting in my pj’s next to the lighted Christmas tree feeling so grateful to be blogging today.

2014 has been an incredibly challenging year. Was it a tough one for you too?

It took all the strength and love I have in me.

You may have noticed that blogging took a back seat. Priorities shifted. I focused on building my health, loving my new family, and loving on my clients.

And there were plenty of silver linings too.

While taking refuge in my creativity, I flourished. I performed my first story-telling gig, gave birth to a solo show, a TV concept, and a filmmaking branch of CMP.

Which brings me to today, and something I’ve created just for YOU.

Filmmaking is a huge passion of mine, and I recently did a photo/video shoot for a woman, Jolene, who’s former Co-Founder of Free the Slaves and has worked with slavery survivors and regular everyday people to help bring about major change in their lives.

We made a little film for you, centered around a simple question that can change your life.

I hope this video helps the next time you’re in a stressful or challenging situation and unsure of what to do next.

This isn’t just a wishy washy concept. It’s provided resurrection agains all the odds.

Watch this video below…

And ask yourself this simple question the next time you’re faced with a difficult situation.

I’ve tried it. It works.

If a slavery survivor can change her life with this simple question, then so can you.

Here’s to a brilliant and beautiful 2015!

Lots of love,

Christa

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Spotlight on Jolene Smith Garcia

Ever meet someone who you know will impact your life in important and positive ways?

That’s how I felt when I met Jolene Smith Garcia.

Jolene is former co-founder of Free the Slaves and a Life Strategist who contacted me to shoot photos and video for her new website.

Her work is about bringing “all the soul-satisfying energy of ancient spiritual traditions, with none of the musty smell.” She wants you to have a repertoire of short, easy, free things you can do to make yourself feel like your SELF again.

Despite the briskness of the NYC winter, her recent photo and video shoot contained all the warmth that Jolene exudes. (My fav photos below, video to premiere in tomorrow’s blog post!)

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We started at the studio and then turned to the magic of NYC streets for the perfect backdrop of spiritual magic with an edge…

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Jolene believes that asking a simple question such as “Would you like a glass of water?” can be the beginning of envisioning a new future for yourself.

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She’s spunky and spiritual, transcendent yet grounded, with a bit of ‘tude. I fell in love immediately and had to know more! Here are Jolene’s engaging A’s to my Q’s…

What do you do?
I help people access magic in their lives because when we do, we tend to do the most good in the world.

Can you tell us a favorite inspirational story of someone you’ve helped?
Suraj Kali was enslaved in Uttar Pradesh, India, and forced to pound gravel into sand with a hammer and paid nothing. Her five children and husband were also enslaved, as was their entire village.

With our support, Suraj worked with other women in her village to convince everyone to band together and stand up to their slaveholder. They literally joined arms and refused to move. The slaveholder sent his thugs to beat them up, and yet they still stood strong.

Finally the slaveholder gave up, and they were free. Almost immediately they began to do their own quarrying, sell sand for themselves, and eventually sent their children to school.

Now Suraj has a job as a caretaker at a guesthouse, where she is earning many times what she did selling sand. She’s still an inspirational leader, coordinating a women’s microcredit group and spearheading village healthcare efforts. She says, “I have come out of slavery. Now I will never go back into it, neither will I let anybody from my village be a slave.”

What are you most proud of?
The people we helped to freedom are still free. They haven’t fallen back into slavery. Many have helped other people to freedom, started businesses, and are employing other people.

What is your greatest gift?
Spotting the sacred and basking in it, bathing in it, and making it easy for others to join in.

How do you keep inspired?
Reminding myself that there is Divine within each of us, including me. Which means we can act like it.

What’s your favorite book?
“Let Your Life Speak” by Parker Palmer

Favorite quote?
“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” –Mary Oliver

Favorite object in your home?
A painting by Paula Barragán that my husband gave me.

Favorite hangout?
With a babysitter: Seseribó in Quito, Ecuador. With the kids: Our street, which has a lot of block parties.

Favorite can’t-live-without item?
85% dark chocolate, French roast coffee, red wine, an occasional night of gin tonics.

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve overcome as an entrepreneur?
When I was 25, I was deciding whether to go all-in to work against slavery. It would mean quitting my job, and being seen as a kook, or even worse (at that time): irrelevant. Not many people knew about modern slavery yet. Even most of my mentors in the human rights field told me I was throwing away my career. It took every drop of courage I could muster to decide: I don’t know whether I’ll make a difference, or be successful at this, but I do know that I want to be the type of person who tries. And I did.

What is your craziest goal?
It would be amazing to serve as an intern to one of the survivor business owners for a week, if she’d have me, and then go on to intern for another. Mining, shop-keeping, farming, bead-making, whatever. After our daughters are grown, I’d love to do that for a year-long trek through villages in India, Nepal, Haiti, Ghana, Brazil, and DRC where we worked (and where Free the Slaves still works). I think I would cry every day at the poignancy of it all.

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To say this beautifully spirited woman inspires me is an understatement.

Check back on the blog tomorrow for the premiere of the little film we shot for Jolene.

It contains the incredibly easy and powerful tool you can use to change how you’re feeling instantly, and feel more like your SELF.

Love,

Christa

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Spotlight on: Natasha Lakos

Meet one of my favorite people on the planet – Natasha Lakos!

We get into a lot of trouble together. When I suggested a spur of the moment trip to Paris – she was all in! – and we had the time of our lives. When she suggested we jump into a helicopter to see a bird’s eye view of NYC – I said – yes! – and we had a thrilling ride. Whether I’m dragging her to a Tony Robbins seminar in San Diego, or she’s dragging me shopping in Soho, we always have an inspiring hilarious adventure – usually complete with a divine cheese plate and wine.

She’s smart, funny, talented and has a killer combo of bright outlook and biting insight. And I love her dearly for that!

An incredible artist and designer, Natasha and I first met when collaborating on the redesign of my blogsite in early 2011. While she’s currently putting her magic on my brand once again, I had the opportunity to photograph her on her most recent trip to NYC…

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I loved photographing all the little details that inspire Natasha… design, fashion, handwriting, books, quotes, black and white…

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If you ever get the chance to meet or work with Natasha, jump! You’ll leave that meeting inspired and seeing even more beauty in the world. Here’s a peek into how Natasha works, thinks and keeps inspired. Best enjoyed with cheese and wine…

What do you do?
I run a manifestation atelier masquerading as a design firm. I’m a Creative Director + Graphic Designer who works exclusively with heart-based entrepreneurs who are ready to be propelled into their future and serve the greater good.

Can you tell us a favorite inspirational story of someone you’ve helped?
The stories of each of my clients inspire me because it’s truly a courageous thing to dare to be ourselves in order to be of service to others

What inspired you to start this career?
I’ve always been drawn to art, commerce and personal development. Then, when I was starting my business, a friend was diagnosed with cancer and everything became crystal clear: nothing matters except love and our contribution to it.

If you could ask the world one question, what would it be?
Who are you really?

How do you keep inspired?
I make inspiration-gathering a priority. Taking time to get or be inspired used to feel indulgent. Now I understand it’s necessary. As a friend says, it’s part of being a Creative with a capitol “C”. I pay attention to things that intrigue me. As Einstein said “I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.”

What are you most proud of?
My relationships. My life is full of incredible people.

When do you feel your most beautiful?
Naked!

What’s your favorite book?
The War of Art

What’s your favorite piece of art?
Right now I’m loving anything by my 4 yr old niece.

What’s your favorite quote?
Current fave: “Your crown has been bought and paid for. All you have to do is put it on your head.” – James Baldwin

What’s your favorite object in your home?
A crumpled up tube of white oil color that used to belong to a teacher of mine. It’s framed and hangs above my desk.

What’s your favorite hangout?
The ocean. Or a swank, chill cocktail lounge.

What’s your favorite can’t-live-without item?
Passport.

What’s your #1 tip for fellow entrepreneurs?
When you have an online presence that reflects your true identity, the world re-arranges itself to gather at your feet. “Beauty begins the moment you decide to be yourself.” – Coco Chanel

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I just love Natasha’s favorite piece of art and tip for entrepreneurs.

Here’s to being yourself and staying inspired!

Love, Christa

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Spotlight on: Gry Sinding

Meet Gry Sinding. One of my super cool NYC girlfriends. Gry and I hit it off immediately when we first met in early 2011 as a part of Marie Forleo‘s Mastermind group. Gry’s playful spirit and high energy lights up any room she’s in.

She’s a fanatic about online marketing and has a mind like a steel trap for email strategies and program launches. If anyone can, Gry makes online marketing sexy!

As a coach and mentor for female entrepreneurs, she walks her walk. She puts herself in the company of the best, and has been mentored by some of the greats in her industry – Brendon Bruchard, Jeff Walker, Melanie Duncan, and more.

One of my favorite things about Gry is her enthusiasm for learning and passion for living life to the fullest – as you can see here in this recent photo shoot we did around her neighborhood in NYC.

I wanted to capture who she is, what everyone loves most about her, her spirit, and all of the wonderful moments in her day that “replenish her soul” as Gry puts it.

ps. Gry is UNRETOUCHED in all of the pictures in this post… because #realisbeautiful.

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Gry lives and works all over the world, and has homes in Norway, France and Greenwich Village. She is a voracious book-lover who inhales books faster than anyone I know. When she’s not working, you’ll find her shopping for flowers, riding her bike, meditating or just exploring her city.

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Gry is also a diehard romantic! Her hubs, Henrik, is a total huggable sweetie pie…

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Whew! What a marathon shoot. That Gry is quite a bit of work to keep up with! Post-shoot, I took an opportunity to interview my gorgeous friend, so that we may all get to know her a bit and be inspired!…

What do you do?
I help female entrepreneurs get more clients, have more fun, and have the freedom that made them want to become entrepreneurs in the first place.

Can you tell us a favorite inspirational story of someone you’ve helped?
A client I recently worked with used to be a notorious smoker and was afraid of most things, and feeling lost in her business and life. She had lost her daughter, then her home and then her retail business burned down. So she began always preparing for the worst. She felt stuck in her life and was close to giving up on her business and dream of being an entrepreneur. She was working more and more, had no free time and felt lonely.  After working with me in my online program and implementing the strategies she learned, she now travels the world, is taking care of herself, meeting fun people, eating healthy, and quit smoking. She’s made a ton of new friends in our community and is having the time of her life. Plus, her business is booming. She went online with her store and is now making $30,000+ a month with her online business alone. I’m so proud of her and the way she turned it around in just a few months. All she needed was a support system, a plan for doing the right thing at the right time, and putting her energy into the right marketing.

What one question would you ask the world?
What can you and I do to be 10% kinder today?

What’s your greatest gift?
I’m an action-taker and maximizer. Give me a good idea and I will test it out immediately – learning from every mistake – and at the end I’ll have made it awesome, or learned a lot from it.

How do you keep inspired?
I put FUN stuff in my agenda every day.

What’s your favorite book?
The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho

Favorite piece of art?
My glass vase, by Cathrine Maske

Favorite quote?
“Always be a first rate version of yourself and not a second rate version of someone else.” -Judy Garland

Favorite hangout?
ABC Cocina, NYC by Jean-George, the NYC Restaurant King

Favorite can’t-live-without item?
My MacPro, iPhone and a Moleskin notebook

What’s your #1 tip for fellow entrepreneurs?
You can only steer a car when it is in motion. So take action, have fun and learn from the ride – and keep moving forward.

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Looking at this beautiful unretouched face just gives me such joy!
Please share if you believe #realisbeautiful!

Lots of love,

xo Christa

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Spotlight on Liz Dialto & Wild Soul Movement

Meet Liz DiAlto, founder of Wild Soul Movement.

Liz is one of my favorite people on the planet and a dear friend. You’ve gotta know her if you don’t already. Her outrageous laugh, deliciously inappropriate statements, and heart-centered full-gusto approach to life make me want to put her in my pocket…

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The first time I met Liz was for a 22-woman photo shoot I did for Marie Forleo and her mastermind ladies. Liz went way outside her comfort zone and posed for a picture wearing nothing but her hands over her heart. Which is so her. (Liz wrote beautifully about the experience in a popular post on The Daily Love.)

Our second shoot was for her now-discontinued Tighter in Ten fitness program, which was about working out, building muscle and weight loss. She was a personal fitness trainer and wanted to look cut in that shoot. You can take a peek at that photo shoot in my archives.

And not too long after that photo shoot she began a dramatic transformation…

In the two years since then, she’s let go of wanting abs of steel and softened her body and embraced her natural curves. She also softened her heart and approached her body with acceptance, trust and love. She embraced her feminine energy and let go of the masculine “work out”…

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She began practicing sensual movement, inviting more pleasure into her life, doing what felt good, and meditating…

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She practiced accepting her body and lovin’ on it…

In fact, there is NO PHOTOSHOP on these photos. She and I were in full-hearted agreement on that…

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So when I met up with Liz recently in Los Angeles for our third photo shoot for her new Wild Soul Movement program – I had never seen her so vital, alive, and absolutely shining with positivity, love and joy. Not to mention the confidence and body love she had was totally alluring and positively magnetic!

I’ll have whatever she’s having please. Well lucky for us, we can…

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Liz didn’t diet. But rather, she spent the last couple of years going inward to find complete acceptance of herself as she is and pouring all she’s learned into developing this new program for women. Wild Soul Movement is a 12-week video-based practice that combines soul-soothing movement, mantra and meditation…

Liz created it for women who want to feel confident, turned on, magnetic, worthy, and free.

As photographers who specialize in portraits for women, we want the same for our clients.

As women, we want the same for ourselves.

Join me and our special guest, Liz DiAlto, for a no-holds barred discussion…

“Body-Love and Self-Acceptance”
TOMORROW, Thursday June 5th at 1pm Eastern

Get the call-in details here.

She and I will discuss how we can help our clients and ourselves feel comfortable in our bodies and release what’s holding us back, and more…

See you on the call tomorrow!

With lots of body love,

Christa

ps. I’m also super excited to chat with Liz about the decision to go No Photoshop! with this shoot and the new policy my company has regarding retouching. So join us on the call tomorrow –  you don’t want to miss this!

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Spotlight on: Alejandra Ramos, Part 2

Back on the blog for Part 2, Alejandra Ramos is our resident saucy chef who we love and adore. She not only emodies the real natural woman, but also shares her tips on sexy and effortless entertaining to help you create your next happy successful affair. (You can also check out Alejandra baking up some more sexy and a cherry chocolate cake in Part 1, here.) christa_meola_photography_nude_new_york_boudoir christa_meola_boudoir_nude_photographer_new_york_1 christa_meola_boudoir_nude_new_york_photographer_0002 christa_meola_photographer_new_york_boudoir_nude christa_meola_photographer_new_york_boudoir_nude_003 christa_meola_nude_boudoir_photographer_0000 christa_meola_photographer_new_york_boudoir_nude_009

 Alejandra’s Top 5 Tips for Sexy & Effortless Entertaining

Schedule Time for Yourself
It’s important that you feel confident and beautiful when hosting a party, but that can be tough to do when your hair is still dripping wet or you’re covered in splatters because you didn’t have time to change. I always set a hard stop time for myself a couple hours before the party starts. When it hits, I stop whatever I’m doing, and go shower, get dressed, and do everything I need to do to feel amazing before the guests arrive.

Be Daring with Your Guest List
That guy you have a crush on, or the girl from your yoga class you would love to be friends with? Take a chance and invite them! I think there is no better way to get to know someone, or for them get to know how fabulous YOU are. (This is actually how my husband and I started dating. So you never know!)

Set the Mood
Remember that parties aren’t just about the food and drinks–think about other ways you can make the event feel a little extra special.  A weekend brunch calls for fresh flowers and wide open windows, while a sexy cocktail party practically begs for dimmed lamps and lots of candlelight.  Music also plays a big role. Try to create a custom playlist ahead of time or use a streaming app like Pandora or Songza to match the music to your food or theme.

Keep a Few Secrets
I never reveal my menu or any of my party plans before the fact. It creates an element of surprise, and gives me freedom to change things without worrying about disappointing anyone. It also means that if something didn’t work out how you planned–say a broken cake or burned side dish–you can just toss it and nobody will know!

Accept Help
You may be the host, but that doesn’t mean you have to do it all alone. Have a friend who loves to mix drinks? Let him play bartender! Not crazy about baking? Ask a friend to bring a pie from that bakery near her house. Taking a few of your not-so-favorite things off your plate, will allow you to shine and create the best experience for everyone (yourself included!).

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Thank you Alejandra! I’m looking forward to putting those tips into action soon, especially No. 4 – how did I never think of that?

More gorgeous pics of you-never-know-what’s-coming-next soon…

xoxo, Christa

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Spotlight on: Alejandra Ramos

Such a pleasure to photograph the gorgeous and lovely Alejandra Ramos of Always Order Dessert fame.

Among her many TV appearances, Alejandra has been featured alongside the likes of Emeril and on Dr. Oz. Her thoughts and feelings on cooking, hosting and eating are exactly aligned with our philosophy here at Christa Meola Pictures:

“To me, cooking is about pleasure, comfort, and seduction. I love to create and serve food that’s decadent, abundant, and just a little bit messy. I love long meals with lots of great conversation and very few rules. 

I don’t have the patience for perfection, and much prefer when things are just a little bit wild…it keeps guests from feeling intimidated, and encourages them to dig in and get lost in the flavors and just enjoy the moment. There’s absolutely no room for guilt or inhibitions at my table!”

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Even more of Alejandra’s sauciness on the blog soon.

Lots of love and yummies in your life,

xoxo Christa

ps. Alejandra was sweet to share her secret recipe with us for her Seriously Sexy Cherry Chocolate Cake featured in this series.

 

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Spotlight on: Justine Musk… and a snake!

An email came in recently requesting a photo shoot with this subject line: daring, sensual, badass photos. 

It was from Justine Musk. I met Justine a few years ago at Marie Forleo’s Mastermind in LA, as part of a 22-women boudoir party photo shoot. I was immediately struck by Justine’s intensity. I spent only a few minutes photographing her, but when she looked into my camera, her eyes conveyed an intellect, strength and beauty that is apparent in her writing.

With articles like How to Go Beyond Happiness, 25 Badass Ways to Say NO, The Art of Thinking Highly of Yourself, and 18 Principles for Highly Creative Living” – it’s easy to see why her blog is so popular.

It’s such a pleasure to feature our LA photo shoot here!

Please meet Justine Musk… and Angelo.

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Here’s what Justine said about why she hired our team, and why she wanted to shoot with a snake!

“I love Christa’s work — how she celebrates the beauty and sensuality of everyday women. I discovered that, before Eve, before patriarchy, the snake was a symbol of wisdom, healing, renewal, initiation and secret knowledge; of cosmic feminine energy; of female sexuality as sacred…

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…I got it into my head that I wanted to play with that kind of imagery, to celebrate the 40-year-old skin that I’m in, in the face of a culture that would shame me for not being young and perfect (or perfectly covered up)…

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…So to me, there’s a spirit of defiance and rebellion about the photos, but also a joy…and the joy comes from the kind of atmosphere that Christa was able to create.  Christa loves women in a way that makes it easier for us to love ourselves.  (Also, the snake was really cool.  His name is Angelo.)”

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Tons of gratitude to Justine, for a phenomenal shoot, being a totally sensual badass, and allowing her pics to be featured here. I’ll travel to LA to photograph you anytime!

Special thanks to makeup artist extraordinaire Rachel Olsen and her camera-loving pet snake, Angelo.

Lots of love,

Christa

ps. Coming up: more from Justine’s shoot, a cool lighting tutorial, and exciting news!

 

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Spotlight on: Regena Thomashauer

Introducing a new recurring feature on the blog, “Spotlight!” – an intimate look at the distinctive personalities, award-winning athletes, best-selling authors, musicians and entrepreneurs whom I’ve photographed and interviewed.

First up is Regena Thomashauer, who you may know as Mama Gena, the best-selling author of Mama Gena’s School of Womanly Arts and Mama Gena’s Owner’s and Operator’s Guide to Men.

Regena has built an incredible community of women as Founder of and Head Goddess at The School of Womanly Arts. Her weekly blog posts are one of the few I subscribe to and are always super inspiring!

A fascinating woman of high energy and a powerhouse of feminity, Regena’s shoot included multiple looks and various locations around NYC, which we will unfold in three parts.

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Mama Gena is like one of your best girl friends, who’ll tell it to you straight sister and will laugh, cajole and cry with you…

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Her teaching focuses on following your desires and leading a life of pleasure…

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…and whoa, can she dance her ass off!…

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This first set was classic Mama Gena, reminiscent of Tina Turner, but 100% Mama!

Stay tuned for the second set, involving a construction site and sequins 🙂

Lots of love,

Christa

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Spotlight On: Kate Northrup

Meet Kate Northrup, a pro freedom-seeker and creative entrepreneur. It was a total pleasure working with Kate – she is such a positive force and trusted me completely. We shot in the studio and hit the streets later in the day to do some pics on locations in various spots around the city.

Here are a few of my favorite photographs we created for her new website KateNorthrup.com.

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Monica

One of the coolest things I love about being a photographer is that I get to know people intimately. I’m the type of shooter who wants to know what makes you tick, what you love about yourself, your life, your marriage, your body, or whatever the reason that has you and I come together on both sides of the camera.

No matter how well I know my closest friends, I get such a deeper appreciation for and understanding of who they are when I take their pictures.

One of my favorite people in the world is the lovely Monica. She is such a brilliant person – smart, beautiful, gutsy and a truly fascinating woman. We met last year in Italy and immediately became fast friends. We lived on the same hillside in Florence a short walk from each other, and we’d often get together for apertivo hour in town, a long hike around the Tuscan hills, train rides to nearby cities together and always long chats about life, love and art.

At the end of my stay in Italy, we did a shoot for Monica. No particular occasion, except to celebrate her life at that moment in time.

A mosquito net and tanned skin signify summertime in Italy…

 Originally from Egypt, raised in the states, a year or two in Venice & Paris and now currently residing in a small Tuscan villa with a vineyard as her front yard….

Monica loves family heirlooms… I covet this bracelet – a gift from her mom and the purse was her grandmother’s…

Practically inseparable from her bike, Monica rides daily about an hour to and from work. She’s a fine art tour guide for the museums in Florence.

She FLIES down the hill, without a helmet. Our mutual friend, Federica, calls her “pazza!” (crazy!)

…just a little celebration of the simple daily rituals of a beautiful life in Italy – a walk in the fresh air around the landscape, a thrilling bike ride to work, lounging around in lingerie, a cup of tea in pretty cups with a friend…

…it’s the simple things!

Have a beautiful day,

xo Christa