Many of us take some time at the top of the new year to reflect on the past year, make New Year's Resolutions, perhaps even do some purging of unwanted things in our lives. Sometimes that involves literally cleaning a closet. Other times it is more profound, such as creating more space and time for self care. How often we take our life and health for granted.
Personally reflecting back on the past year, I found that one of the most profound and rewarding things I did last year was to become part of the "Glam Squad" for The Survivor Campaign, a portrait series by photographer Lisa Reilly. Inspired by cancer warrior Sarah Amento, The Survivor Campaign was created to promote healing through underwater photography sessions for cancer survivors. My job was to style underwater shoots and do underwater modeling coaching. I love the water so literally "jumped in".
My first collaborative shoot with Lisa and fellow Glam Squad member Alabaster Juju, our makeup artist, involved my friend Stefanie La Rue wearing my newly designed Green Queen Swim and Dress pieces. I knew she'd be a great model due to her experience in front of the camera, but what I didn't know is that she usually holds her nose when under water. Not so great for posing... But fortunately, appreciating the absurd in what could be a potentially challenging situation is something that both Stefanie and I are pretty good at.
Luckily, Stefanie is a yogini. And since I taught yoga for a number of years, I was able to help her to put pranayama into practice underwater. Fill your lungs with breath, hold it, then go underwater, empty your breath and hold it out. Make it a meditation. Not only does the emptiness of breath keep you near the bottom of the pool to pose, the practice is meditative. And it worked.
Stefanie is no stranger to meditation and self care. She was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer in 2005 at the age of 30 and was given only a year to live. See her story here. Today, she is still an outspoken cancer warrior, battling a 3rd reoccurrence with high CBD Cannabis Oil, an alternative therapy that is working to keep her alive. Possessing an unstoppable positive attitude and a willingness to help other cancer patients, Stefanie is an inspiration to all who know her. Celebrating 8 months of clean scans, she has quality of life, a day at a time. In her recent Facebook post she states "What I do know for certain, is that cannabis has saved my life".
From the Green Queen Underwater Lookbook, photos of Stefanie Larue by Lisa Reilly. Makeup by Alabaster Juju. Styling by Deborah Lindquist. See our shoot and others in action in the Survivor Campaign Video created by Casey Rose Productions. All looks can be found on the Green Queen Crochet sections of Shop.