LAUREN Southwell is the face (and personality) behind Pure Beauty, a beauty and boudoir photography business in Mildura.
Those that frequent the VIP Pure Beauty Facebook group, the website or have been lucky enough to have an experience with Lauren in her studio will know she’s easily identifiable by her enthusiasm and passion, for life in general but also for empowering females across all mediums.
But who is Lauren, how was Pure Beauty born and what inspires her to be the amazing person she is.
We find out:
Pure Beauty: Can you give me a bit of background into yourself?
Lauren: I have always known I would be in a career where I could “help people”.
Since primary school I was always someone my friends could confide in.
I gained a sense of importance when I was trusted and it is, still to this day, one of the most powerful motivators for me in life.
On the other hand, for as long as I can remember, I had a very distorted, negative view of my body.
I would feel disgust looking in the mirror or thinking about sexual activity.
My self esteem lacked, as did my confidence and I found myself living with a number of mental health issues including anxiety, depression and anorexia nervosa.
I spent a lot of years trying to improve my mental health through therapy, medication and other lifestyle adjustments.
Once I began talking to people about my own thoughts I realised most women have some degree of negative self talk.
Ater buying my own lingerie and taking selfies, I gained an appreciation I never thought possible.
Two years on (and numerous selfies later) I have never felt as much love for my body in my whole life, than what I do now.
Pure Beauty: Can you explain to me how the concept of Pure Beauty came about and why?
Lauren: When I was pregnant with my twins in 2013, I spent a fair bit of time off work.
I started to understand my importance as a photographer and to value my work and myself, which made me want to research into the selling of printed, tangible products.
I watched hundreds of hours of video resources, including a lot of live videos by one photographer in particular.
She lived in the US and just happened to be a boudoir photographer.
When I first saw her images, I was in awe but thought “I could NEVER do that”.
The more I watched her videos, the more I saw the client's perspective and the change in their confidence was incredible to see.
I started to think perhaps I could do this.
I began researching beauty and boudoir poses, lighting, marketing and everything in between.
I thought I was ready to launch in 2015 but soon enough, we were delighted with the pregnancy of my daughter.
I continued to research and was close to wanting to launch when I realised I needed to work on my own self esteem first.
One day I was out having a few drinks with two photographer friends and I announced to them why I wanted to launch boudoir.
By the end of my blabbing, one of them said “you have even convinced me to do a shoot!”.
Two weeks later we were shooting the very first Boudoir shoot in a hotel room.
It was the very first time I had felt 100 percent confident in a photoshoot.
The feeling I got from showing her images of herself was incredible and extremely addictive!
Pure Beauty: How old is Pure Beauty?
Lauren: That first Boudoir shoot was March 22, 2018.
From that moment, I knew I wanted to make this my career.
I was scared, excited and so nervous, but I planned my launch party and officially launched on June 29, 2018.
Pure Beauty: Before Pure Beauty you had Purely Taken Photography. How did you originally get into photography?
Lauren: When I was 12 I was given my very first film camera for my birthday.
I literally took it everywhere.
I became known to be the girl with the camera.
I’m sure my friends and family got sick of me pointing a camera in their face but that didn't deter me.
My love and passion for photography continued after school as I enrolled in a photography course and grew with me when I moved to Australia at the age of 18.
It was then, I started getting asked to photograph families, people, animals and even a wedding.
The more images I took, the more I was asked to photograph, the more passion I had.
Pure Beauty: The Pure Beauty concept puts you in a powerful and unique position of being able to either remind or show each and every woman just how amazing and beautiful they are. What is it like to be able to deliver this to your clients?
Lauren: It is something that is extremely hard to explain.
I don’t think I truly understood the power of an intimate portrait shoot until I started to hear back from clients, hours, days, weeks even months after their shoot, thanking me for changing their lives.
It is the most honest work I have ever done and I am so incredibly thankful to each and every client for trusting me!
I have never felt as proud as when I look back on my Pure Beauty journey.
Pure Beauty: What is the most rewarding thing about your job?
Lauren: It would be easier to say what’s NOT!
I love hearing my client's stories, meeting new ladies and forming amazing friendships along the way.
During the experience there is a point at which each woman “let’s go” of the fear, worry, pain of feeling judged, not good enough or just looking silly.
That is definitely one of the most memorable moments for me as I know it is that exact moment where the empowerment truly happens.
Showing my beauties their images both behind the camera and at their reveal, is of course another hugely rewarding part and again when they collect their images.
But perhaps one of most rewarding things is when I get messages like: “Thinking of you for many reasons but just wanted to let you know how proud I am of my postpartum body and no longer even having any negative thoughts about my body. A boudoir experience lasts way longer than the photo shoot xx”.
Pure Beauty: It's most people's dream to be doing a job they love. How does it feel to be doing what you love each and every day?
Lauren: Absolutely incredible!
I have so much energy, passion and love for Pure Beauty.
I am so, so lucky!
Pure Beauty: You've got an amazing team of professionals behind you. How do they assist you in what you want to achieve for your clients?
Lauren: I am so lucky to team up with some amazing women that share the same passion and vision as I do with helping women and grow my business into a recognised brand.
Pure Beauty: Are there any challenges that come with your role at Pure Beauty?
Lauren: Because I love my job so much, I am never rushing out the door to get home.
Which is a great thing for my business, but does mean I miss out on quality time with my children.
Although I have dedicated “no work days”, where I’ll only do VIP group fun.
That’s not work right?
Pure Beauty: What would you say is your biggest accomplishment with Pure Beauty?
Lauren: When you walk into my studio, you will see a frame filled with polaroid photos of me with my clients.
The smiles on their faces says it all.
I am changing lives.
What more could I ask for?
Pure Beauty: What do you bring to the Pure Beauty team?
Lauren: ... Take photos? (Haha.)
I hope: leadership, friendship, guidance and a good kick up the butt if anyone talks negatively about themselves.
Pure Beauty: Who is the most influential woman in your life and why?
Lauren: To be very honest, I have never seen any one particular person as an inspiration.
To me, each person who comes into my life teaches me something; either about the world or myself.
I look at my beautiful friends or clients and when I hear their stories about what they have overcome and accomplishments, it literally brings me to tears - I am so incredibly proud of my clients.
These are the women who inspire me to do better and be better.
Pure Beauty: If you could send one message to all the females out there, what would it be?
Lauren: Point your toes and arch your back. (Haha!) But in all seriousness: Imagine waking up, looking in the mirror and actually being happy with what you see and more importantly, who you are.
A boudoir experience is far more about the mind than it is about the body. My clients leave happy, empowered and uplifted without even seeing the final images.
You are worthy.
You deserve to do this for yourself.
Special thank you to my girl El at Inner Soul Photography for these images
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.