“Life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.” – John Maxwell
How very exciting it is to know that one of our big goals for Turning Heads has already come to fruition. The project is spreading in the Coachella Valley by word of mouth. We are so grateful to Irene Morales, a caseworker at a local oncologist’s office, who told our latest supermodel about Turning Heads. Heather spoke with Irene and then contacted us and we set a date for her photo shoot.
We always send out a welcome packet with details about the shoot and a short survey to gather information. Getting to know them a little better beforehand, we can customize the day to make it special and unique for each of our supermodels. I always like to chat on the phone as well to gather a little more information, to be sure to answer any questions as well as make our new model comfortable and excited for the day. Speaking on the phone with Heather it was clear that she was a “Seize the day” woman and was eager to jump right in. She was full of enthusiasm for the shoot as we discussed what to wear and what to expect. One question I always ask is what they want from their photo session. What do they want to portray in the photos? Heather paused for a moment to give the question some thought. Then she said, “Peace. Joy. Gratitude.” Here is a woman that has been through 6 years of battling ovarian cancer. To hear her say that just gave me an instant correction in my head. A “right-sizing” as to remembering that no matter what life deals us, it’s our choice how we react to it. I don’t know all of Heather’s story but would guess she has been on a road of hills and valleys on her way to where she is today.
We talked about music as I always like to make a D.J. Jazzy Stacy playlist that includes some of our Turning Heads favorites as well as some music or songs our supermodels like. Heather asked if I’d ever heard the Pink song “Glitter In The Air”. She described it to me as it having to do with taking advantage of all you can do with each day, not missing a moment, like have you ever thrown glitter in the air? I had to check out this song and downloaded it as well as looked up the lyrics. The part Heather spoke of goes:
Have you ever fed a lover with just your hands?
Closed your eyes and trusted, just trusted?
Have you ever thrown a fist full of glitter in the air?
Have you ever looked fear in the face and said, “I just don’t care”?
Heather arrived for her shoot with her husband of 37 years, John, Rachel, her good friend and chemo nurse and Rachel’s boyfriend. What fun to have a group to make the day more festive. While Heather went in for a gorgeous makeup application by Olga (complete with airbrushed foundation, which I still think is the coolest thing ever) the others waited patiently.
For the big reveal Heather walked into the kitchen. My heart skips now just thinking about it. Everything else, every one else, just fell away. Heather looked at John and John looked at Heather and the connection in their eyes was one of the most beautiful things I have ever experienced. Heather didn’t take her eyes from him, she said a million things with out speaking a word and he answered her the same way.
During the shoot Heather was game for a ton of different poses. Up. Down. Dancing. Indoors. Outdoors. After a fun day of laughter and sing-a-longs, including Pink’s “Glitter In the Air” we were wrapping up our variety of shots and preparing to do our video interview. Wait! One more shot! I had run out the day before and bought a bunch of different glitter and little sparkly stars to do a special “Glitter” shot for Heather that I had mentioned to her on the phone. I had also asked Debbie if she had glitter if she would bring it. She stopped to buy some on the way not realizing I had it. AND….because that might not have been enough already…then we found out Heather brought glitter too! It was going to be the glitter party of the decade. We set Heather up with her first hand full of glitter and had her blow it right toward the camera. Having never done this before I didn’t know what to expect. Surely if a little glitter is good, MORE glitter is better, right? So Debbie and Olga got on each side of Heather and blew handfuls of glitter at the same time. It was a glitter storm to say the least. You can see the final photo in Heather’s gallery but I had to show you the behind the scenes Glitter-O-Mania shot too. (I like to call it Ready…Set…BLOW!)
We ended our shoot with using tape lint rollers to roll the glitter off of Heather’s clothing and head. It was everywhere.
The beautiful pose in the middle of the black and white photographs below is a recreation of this drawing Heather did years ago. She brought it along to share it with us and we were honored to bring it to life in one of her photographs.
Heather and her entourage were heading out for a special dinner that night to celebrate the day. Of all I loved about the day there is one thing that will always stand out in my mind. It was the connection between Heather and John. Throughout the day they continued to speak volumes as they’d look at each other in silence. To me, what I “heard” Heather say to John was the same as her comment to me over the phone. “Peace. Joy. Gratitude.”
A quote from Heather after seeing her photos: “We have had so much fun reviewing the results of my “fairy god-sisters”!! You all made me feel like Cinderella!”
See more of Heather’s photos and read her story here.