When Darrian came to shoot I didn’t want to make it about fashion, or crowns, but more about struggle and freedom. She hadn’t seen her sexual energy expressed in photos before so I wanted to test the waters. And test the waters we did!
I was pretty reserved before and didn’t really let too much of my personality come out. I was too embarrassed to put my sexy confidence & adventurous side out. I had seen what Benizo had done for others and was certain he could help me let go of whatever was holding me down. I was nervous. But somehow he made it seem effortless to be me and let go.
When I went to work with Benizo I didn’t have that edge I was looking for. I felt reserved as a Teen and had seen he was able to bring out an inner fire in all the Miss and Teen he worked with. When you knew those girls and had seen their photos before Benizo always took them to knew levels. You wanted more. I wanted that.
Overall I learned that feeling guilty can give others power over you. You may sacrifice your voice to keep others happy in the short term, but in the long term you’re the one that has to end up living with your decisions. You should never feel guilty being true to yourself, or flaunting your sex appeal in front of the mirror, or for a camera.
I was inspired by what he did for Morgan Woolard Miss Oklahoma USA 2010 who went on to place 1st runner up. There was a RAW-ness to his work that I wanted but missed out on as Miss Indiana Teen USA 2013. When I got to competing as a Miss however, I would have traveled anywhere to make sure I got the opportunity to work with him.
During my reign as Miss Indiana USA I felt a lot of pressure to live up to an image that wasn’t me. I had worked so hard to get to this stage and now that I was there I couldn’t wear the gown I wanted, or shoot with my edge-photographer. I lost my edge and went to nationals feeling lost and defeated and it showed.
~ Darrian R
I’ll never forget that you gave me the opportunity to know myself better. when I didn’t really know what being a woman or being me meant. That’s why I kept coming back. It’s not everyday someone can see beyond your physical image, let alone someone with the skills to help you see it through a camera. 🙂 Can’t wait to see you for the next round… with no limits!