I met Mikaela a while back with my cousin and the three of us had so much fun together. I find her work amazing; there is nothing more liberating than showing women of all shapes and sizes how sexy they really are. Sexy is NOT Skinny, Sexy is NOT Starving, and Sexy is NOT what everyone deems pretty. Sexy IS You, Sexy IS Strong, Sexy IS Authentic, and Sexy IS Curves (natural, muscly or both).
GirlHabits: What can’t you live without?
Mikaela Morgan: Humour! Seriously…I think a sense of humour is what has always got me through life ever since I was a little child at school. Life is tough, so it’s important to be able to lighten up sometimes! A good belly laugh is an amazing tonic for the soul.
GH: How do you squash self-doubt?
MM: I used to be a terrible self-doubter but these days I try not to give myself a hard time . As soon as that niggling feeling rears its ugly head, I try to be rational and “talk myself down” from the edge. I think I chilled out more as I got older – I guess it’s just life experience and stuff – you realise what it really important in life and it helps put things in perspective. When I see people getting all angry about something petty or trivial I just want to get a hold of them and say “Don’t you realise how lucky you are – just to be alive!?”
GH: What’s your favourite place in the world?
MM: Sitting snuggled up in between my two gorgeous little nephews (age 5 and 6) reading them a bedtime story and out of the corner of my eye catching their serious little faces looking up at me hanging on to every word…I live 2 hours away from them and I don’t have kids so time spent with them is precious.
GH: Has taking pictures of women looking sexy changed you?
MM: It’s made me far more aware of ‘sexiness’ in general! I think I have been making a bit more effort with my own appearance since my photography took a glamorous direction (see comments on yoga below!) Or maybe it’s because I am heading very fast towards 40 ;-)
GH: What do you think is the best thing about getting a Strictly Boudoir Photo Shoot?
MM: Going by the feedback I get from my lovely clients I would say that one of the best things is that it seems to gives women more confidence and boosts their self esteem.
Most women are excited but also really nervous about their shoot. When they arrive at my studio in the countryside and realise how peaceful, private and relaxed it is they soon lose the nerves and start enjoying the session and find it fun! I think to a degree there is a sense of escapism that women love too. After all it’s not every day that women get the chance to be pampered with a make-over and then spend the day dressed up in gorgeous lingerie while a photographer creates gorgeous images of them. I always imagined it would be a “once in a lifetime” experience and yet I have clients who are planning to book another session because they enjoyed it so much they want to do it all over again!
GH: Tell me a little bit about a client that changed you in some way and why?
MM: One of my clients is training to be a Bikram Yoga instructor. She is only 5 years younger than me but has an amazingly toned body. I used to practise Bikram yoga 10 years ago but stopped when we moved away to an area where there are no Bikram yoga studios. My client was really encouraging and told me I could download a class from itunes and practise at home. I did and I have lost nearly two inches off my waist since I started 2 months ago… and the great thing is I don’t diet… yippee! I think if everyone did yoga the world would be a much happier place.
GH: If you could have any super power, what would it be and why?
MM: I know it might sound corny but I think it would be the ability to heal people. I think there is nothing worse than feeling totally helpless when a loved one is gravely ill and having to say goodbye knowing there is nothing you can do to help them. Sorry got a bit heavy there… probably wouldn’t be a very good idea though as the world is over populated enough without me going around healing everyone! Other than that then time travel would be very useful – but maybe a bit dangerous… altering the course of history and all that!
GH: What’s the weirdest thing that has made you cry?
MM: I received a really lovely email from the husband of one of my clients who is seriously ill, telling me how happy her boudoir photos made her feel. I guess there isn’t anything weird about that, but I was sitting in a bar with my husband when the email came through on my phone and I welled up in tears so I guess it was weird for him (and the barman)!
I don’t know if this is weird but one rainy Sunday I was preparing Moussaka and felt like listening to classical music (which I never normally do) and put on Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet (having watched a live performance of that piece with my grandfather recently). That made me well up – probably because I had other stuff going on in my head at the time and I guess that beautiful piece of music just plucked at the old heart strings a little too hard… plus I was a bit hormonal that day so it wouldn’t have taken much!
GH: Your most important goal for 2012 is:
MM: To “get-rid-of-stuff-I-don’t-need”!
In January I got rid of stuff I don’t need like clothes I don’t wear and other odds and ends that were around the house. Some things went to charity, some were sold on ebay, and some went in the trash! I can’t tell you how therapeutic that was!
I need to do it again. I’m not exactly a hoarder, but I do find it hard to let go of things sometimes – either for sentimental reasons or guilt. I am realising that rather than feeling guilt I need to accept that I made a few financial mistakes and move on!
Having clutter around can be draining on the soul so this is the year I de-clutter!
GH: How do you show yourself self-love?
MM: Ooh…. different ways depending on my mood! A nice hot bath when I feel frazzled; a solitary walk in the countryside to clear my head and to ‘be’; yoga because it makes me feel relaxed and ‘floaty’ afterwards. I also like browsing in a particular antique shop in my home town. I can’t afford anything there but I love browsing and trying on the vintage hats when I think nobody is looking.
Before I go to sleep I like to read in bed a book called “Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy” by Sarah Ban Breathnach. My mother in law gave it to me and it has really helped me put things in perspective and find joy in the little things in life. One of the exercises in the book that I follow religiously is, before I close my eyes at night I jot down in my notebook at least 5 things I am thankful for even if it’s something as small and simple as appreciating my comfy bed! It’s amazing what a difference it makes taking a couple of minutes at the end of the day to think about what I have in my life that I feel grateful for.
GH: What’s your next big challenge?
MM: I am going to set up a second website for artistic newborn baby photography later in the year so watch this space… I kind of thought that would be a nice add-on to the boudoir photography… wife goes home… shows her husband her beautiful sexy photos and…ahem… 9 months later she’s back in my studio… ;-)
Mikaela is a 39 year old photographer who refuses to grow up! About 8 years ago she packed in her safe, well paid marketing career and took the plunge, becoming a self-employed professional photographer and has never looked back! She started out shooting weddings and families in a naturalistic style. About a year ago, she felt ready for a change and settled on a photography niche that she absolutely adores… boudoir photography! Check out her beautiful work at Strictly Boudoir.