Meet the Boudie Babes - Karen Cook | Mildura Boudoir Photography
I REMEMBER becoming aware of who Karen Cook was for the first time.
She was the bright and bubbly sales assistant at TTN Baby Warehouse - that’s about all I knew, but she knew lots about me. My name, my husband’s name, the name of my firstborn and the daunting experience we went through when he was born prematurely.
Returning to the store in preparation for the arrival of my second child, I was impressed by her customer service and memory, and that appreciation and gratitude has continued to grow as I realised that was just the “norm” for Karen - she cares about each and every one and takes the time to get to know them.
Karen is a ball of energy and optimism and so when it comes to being an Ambassador for Pure Beauty, Karen is an absolute natural.
This year was meant to be one of discovery for Karen, but as she explains below, it hasn’t turned out as expected.
Karen: I am a 42 year old Single Mum of two amazing kiddos - a 12 year old and an almost 9 year old.
I have recently separated from a 15 plus year relationship (married for four of those years), so 2020 was supposed to be my year of self discovery and figuring out who I am as me - not wife, not partner, not Mum for half of the time but truly me!
Roll in Covid-19 and 2020 had other ideas about a life of self discovery.
Having to isolate and stay home has meant I, along with the other ambassadors and our fearless leader Lauren, have been able to make the most of the situation. We have aimed to bring light to other females and share stories of empowerment from our own shoots.
It has also solidified friendships formed within the group - so although a different path than expected, but discovery is still taking place.
I am still working at least four days a week at TTN Baby Warehouse which I have done for almost 13 years now and I still love it every single day.
I have an amazing support network of family and friends whom I love with every beat of my heart, so my days are still very full.
Pure Beauty: When I think of what being an ambassador encompasses, you seem to tick every box. But what does it mean to you?
Karen: It means the world to me to be a Brand Ambassador for Pure Beauty.
I am a very passionate person and I love to spread the love for things that I am passionate about.
Pure Beauty combines two of my passions perfectly; my love of photography and empowering women to see themselves in a whole new way and, I guess through someone else’s eyes.
I truly believe that there is nothing more beautiful and sexy than a woman who believes in herself and in her body, and has the confidence to portray this to those around her.
It’s such an amazing quality to possess, and this is at the heart of Lauren's Pure Beauty brand.
Her values align so perfectly with mine and her talent for capturing that beauty in every woman that walks into her studio is second to none.
Pure Beauty: Was it an easy decision for you applying to become an ambassador?
Karen: When I read that applications had opened for new Brand Ambassadors, I knew I would love to apply but I needed a push from some of the existing ambassadors to let myself do it.
I applied while considering ending my marriage and my 15 year relationship and I needed to be sure that I could be everything Lauren needed me to be - as I don’t give my heart to something if I cannot give it my time equally.
But I was given the nudge I needed, applied and was over the moon to learn that Lauren and the girls had chosen me to join their already amazing team.
I don’t think I was overly nervous, just more excited to be a part of something so incredible!
Being a part of Lauren's team is truly a blessing and one I cherish.
Pure Beauty: What do you aim to achieve being an ambassador?
Karen: I want to encourage every woman around me to believe in herself 100 percent. To be empowered enough to know that having a shoot is something she deserves, that she is incredible in the exact skin she is in and that she is beautiful and perfect just the way she is!!
How can you top that? Helping women to see themselves through your eyes? You can’t!
It’s the best feeling in the world to hear someone who has just had a Pure Beauty shoot, realise just how incredible she is, how beautiful she is, how powerful she is, how ENOUGH she is, just as she is.
There is no better feeling than to help women realize their truth and their worthiness - Just As They Are.
Pure Beauty: What about your first boudoir experience with Lauren, how did that change you?
Karen: Having my own shoot with Lauren was something I will never forget.
Seeing myself through Lauren's eyes, and Lauren's lens, has been life changing for me.
Everyone has parts of themselves they wish were bigger or smaller or different than what they actually are, but since my shoot I embrace every inch of my body, and my shoot has transformed my mind to see myself in a whole new way.
I am proud of the body that carries me through life.
My body has grown and given birth to two amazing, gorgeous kids.
It has loved, it has hurt, it has pushed itself past barriers and challenged itself to do better, to be better.
But since my shoot, there is a contentment that I have for myself that wasn’t there before.
I am happy in the skin I am in, and I am proud of this body that, so far, has carried me through 42 years of life.
I love nothing more than sitting down with my signature box and looking through my prints, or pulling on my white gloves and flipping through my 35 page album, and being reminded whenever I need to be, that I am amazing, beautiful and perfect just the way I am.
Pure Beauty: So it’s something every female needs to do?
Karen: Having a session with Lauren is the most worthwhile thing you can do for yourself, as the appreciation and confidence you have for yourself carries through to every other aspect of your life.
You won’t fully understand how life changing it is until you take the leap and do it yourself, but I will make one promise, and that is that it will be an experience you will never ever forget and you will never regret!
Pure Beauty: Pure Beauty is all about female empowerment, but who inspires you?
Karen: I have lots of influential women in my life and they influence me in different ways.
They might be an amazing mum to their children, an amazing partner to their one and only or an amazing business women.
There is no-one in particular that stands out as “the one”, but Lauren is most definitely up there as all of the things I admire in the amazing women in my life.
She has created a business that’s sole purpose is to lift women up and to give them an experience that will change their lives, while at the same time giving them memories and reminders to keep forever of just how amazing they are.
She is also an incredible woman - an amazing mum to three beautiful babes, a sensational wife and a gorgeous friend.
She’s the complete package of the kind of woman I look up to and let influence me in my life.
We are so lucky to have Lauren and her talents in Sunraysia.
Pure Beauty: So for those contemplating having a boudoir experience with Lauren, what thoughts do you leave them with?
Karen: Don’t sit on the fence doubting whether you can do it ladies. I promise you that you CAN and you WILL do it; crush it, rock it, smash it right out of the ball-park. You will fall in love with yourself in a way you never ever thought possible, but it’s the kind of love that will be all you ever need!!
I’m a big believer in loving yourself first and learning to then share that love.
Don’t ever rely on someone else for that kind of love … love yourself first!
Here you will find my featured babes, #wearepurebeauty , as well as some tips for your boudoir shoot- from lingerie shopping to hair and makeup
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Mildura resident and Photographer, Lauren Southwell launched Pure Beauty in late June, 2018 & is committed to helping woman feel beautiful, sexy and empowered through the art of Boudoir Photography.