The energy and spirit of Pride month hit quite a few major cities this weekend – NYC, Seattle, and yes, Cincinnati. As to be expected, we hit our local Urban Outfitters store to get some rad, pride-inspired merchandise and went out to shoot.
Velvet + Vinyl values authenticity, self-love and the confidence that comes from being who you are unabashedly and unapologetically. As a single, straight woman in today’s world, it was on my heart to put together a rad photoshoot to acknowledge and celebrate all that pride month embodies – acceptance, empowerment and the liberation that comes from discovering who you are.
I partnered with Cassandra Zetta, an amazing and talented LGBTQ+ wedding photographer here in Cincinnati, and my fabulous BFF from high school, Tyler. Together we braved the rain and thunderstorms, and we celebrated the things that make us proud to be who we are.
Regardless of who you are, who you love and the characteristics that shape your identity, be proud of the person you are. There is no one else like you.
Huge shoutout to Urban Outfitters for the #UOPride line in collaboration with GLSEN. In partnership with upcoming hip hop star Taylor Bennett, UO is allocating all funds from this line to support GLSEN’s efforts to create safe learning environments for LGBTQ students K-12. Join #UOCommunityCares and get yourself some sweet new swag before Pride month comes to a close.
Our perceptions of our bodies is constantly influenced by outside sources. Whether it’s the media, Instagram comments, self-doubt convincing us we aren’t good enough or the sabotage of comparison, we’re exposed to a heightened level of critique, and it’s something so many different women can relate to.
We chatted more on the topic with some of our most admired social media super stars and were so encouraged to hear the moving stories that have empowered them. Representing different colors, ages, shapes, sizes, ALL are beautiful in their own way. It’s time we engage in a conversation about what has effected us so we can celebrate what has made us stronger and embrace a realistic standard of sexy. We’d love for all you readers to participate in the conversation and share your story! Tag @velvetnvinyl on Instagram and share your thoughts.
“I grew up being bullied for having hips and thighs, even as a preteen. The boys in my elementary class had this running joke – whenever I walked past them in the hall, they would yell “earthquake” and pretend to tremble. I think everyone has experienced some form of bullying as a child, but it’s interesting that as a woman it never really stops. We’re taught to criticize our own bodies everyday. And [we’re] sold on how to be better because for some reason we’re not “good enough”. I honestly never thought I could be a model because, like most, I didn’t identify with any of the girls I saw on magazines and advertisements. Now, as a model, I’ve been bigger and I’ve been smaller. I worked really hard to try to become a healthier stronger version of myself, but that landed me in this strange in-between realm where I’m not always large enough to be considered plus size and I still have way too much curve to be placed in any other division. I think the industry is changing and I’m so glad to see it blossom. I hope there will become more opportunities for women of all sizes to be represented in fashion and I’m grateful as well as humbled to be apart of it!”
Certified Phlebotomist/Fashion Blogger
“Since I was a child I have always been bigger than my surrounding circle. Growing up it was hard to adapt to the fact [that] I couldn’t wear what I wanted because I couldn’t fit in to age-appropriate clothes. When I started on social media I became more exposed to those who think that “If I get skinnier I will be prettier”, and the comments like “She is cute for big girl”. I have always accepted the way I look and if I ever decide to change, it is going to be for me. I accept my body and love myself the way I am. I encourage everyone to do the same. Embrace who you are and how you look while working to get where you want to be mentally and physically.”
Social Media Influencer on YouTube
“I have an older sister who has been battling anorexia for about three years now. She has been in and out of a full time treatment center and has had her ups and downs. Seeing someone close to me battle anorexia really made me appreciate the body I have. I respect my body so much more and I am okay with my flaws. The first time I really ever felt like women’s bodies were accepted fully by mainstream media was when the brand Aerie vowed to never photoshop their models ever again. Seeing real women of all sizes being displayed on such a large platform helped me know that every woman is unique and beautiful. As far as my personal body image goes, one trick I use is if I ever feel down about something I will force myself to think of three things I really like about myself, be it looks wise, personality, achievements or values. This always helps counteract the negative voice in my head. I have seen first hand how detrimental internal and external pressure to look perfect can be and how it can become a deadly battle. Because of that I understand the value of thinking positively about myself and I also appreciate when I see brands who reflect that same value. “
Scheduling Registrar, Hopestillstands LLC
“Can you see beyond the road blocks that may have been set before you? Are you fearful of what others may say about you? I was self conscious of what others thought about me. In elementary school, my classmates called me “Dark Vader.” They always asked me why I was so dark. I started to feel inadequate and not welcomed in this world. I had loving parents and a supportive family, but I could not see past the naysayers that called me names. I was bullied all through high school. A boy that I had a crush on called me “Ugly La-Anna”. In the last week of school right before graduation, he said “You know what, you’re kind of cute now.” I still didn’t feel worthy of anything because I wanted to be called beautiful, not cute. But now I know what others say about me does not validate what God feels about me & what I feel about myself. I learned that from my Daddy. We must know how much God loves us and we must love ourselves. People can say what they want but if you don’t love who you are than their words mean nothing! I am moving forward with my journey by sharing my experiences to help others that have gone through the same thing I have. You must believe in yourself, have confidence & know thyself!”
Education + Outreach Investigator for the Office of Fair Housing and Equity
“Growing up, I never had a problem with body image. My family members may have said some harmful words when I was younger, but they didn’t stick.
June 28, 2011, I saved up enough money to buy a bathing suit from one of my favorite designers, Monif C. It was the Barbados Swimsuit. I couldn’t wait to wear it for my vacation, so I posted it on my Tumblr to share with my following. While my loyal followers, all 20 of them, praised how amazing I looked in the bathing suit, a website once titled “Oh You Fancy, Huh”, reposted my photo of me in the attempt to make fun of me. They posted my picture alongside Nicki Minaj, who I thought looked equally as beautiful in a similar swimsuit. Under my photo is said, “Reality” and under Nicki Minaj’s photo is said, “What She Expected to See”. After reading the hundreds of negative comments left under my the picture, I threw away the bathing suit in the hopes of never trying to wear it again. $120.00 down the drain–along with my confidence. I was never more broken than I was once I saw hundreds of people call me fat, ugly, and referring to me as a whale.
Today, I still feel the scars from that experience over 5 years ago. Although I’ve posted photos of me in bathing suits since then, there’s always a mental barrier that I have to overcome just before sharing with my followers. Have the internet trolls stopped
trolling? NOT AT ALL! But will it stop me from being the sexiest version of myself–not for one second. When I learned that I was living for me, all the negative voices started to silence. My advice for anyone learning to love themselves: it starts with you, no one else. No one has the capability to love you the same way you can love yourself.”
“My personal experience with body image in the media has always been a difficult one. Growing up “plus size” was never easy, I struggled for so many years with my body image and self love. I was told many times through out my life that I needed to lose weight in order to be healthy, in order to be loved and in order to be worthy. I never saw anyone that remotely resembled me in magazines, on television or in movies not until a few years ago. It was so disheartening never seeing someone that looked like me and that was my size. I spent most of my life trying to find ways to cover my body, I feared being seen, I hated shopping and trying on clothes because nothing fit. I told myself for the longest time that I had to be smaller, I needed to lose weight. I equated my worth to the size of my jeans. I spent so much of my life seeing what was wrong with me and creating a negative mind set that was centered around my body image. It wasn’t until a few years ago that one day I woke up and just said enough is enough, I looked myself in the mirror and told myself “You are loved, you are worthy, and your are beautiful”, I finally started to live myself for me and I stopped worrying about what everyone was telling me about my body. And I couldn’t be happier.”
The highly anticipated Halsey album dropped on June 2nd and to no ones surprise, it absolute slayed.
Stream it here, and give it a listen!
Her album told the story of getting out of a toxic relationship, and in true Halsey fashion the lyrics were intricate and genius. Halsey’s first album was full of spooky almost ethereal vibes, and this album stayed true to her sound while showcasing her growth as an artist both emotionally and professionally.
I have been a huge fan of Halsey since her Room 93 EP and to see her come into the badass chick she is has been inspiring to say the least.
Give her new EP a listen, and follow her on socials!
We had the pleasure of sitting down and chatting with outlaw country rocker Boo Ray. At V+V, we are always seeking out interesting ways people tell their story. We got lucky enough to sit down with Boo, and talk to him about his own creative adventure and how his tattoos help tell his story as an artist. Check out the interview below!
VV. Tell us a little bit about who you are as a musician. As an artist, what have you done to define yourself?
BR. As a musician, i reckon I’mpretty song oriented and driven. I consider it a privilege to have someone’s ear and attention for a few minutes and feel obligated to make the best of that time; melodically, rhythmically, lyrically and sonically…. As a recording artist I’ve released 3 albums since 2010 that’re all geting radio play. As a live act I’ve been doing shows coast to coast for 10 years. I’ve had a coupe of good bands in that time and right now I’ve got a smokin’ hot band that I’m crazy about.
VV. Tell us a little bit about your music. What has lead you to pursue the type of music you have?
BR. Guitars, pedal steel, backbeat trap set drums, flat-wound Muscle Shoals type bass, electric Wurlitzer/Hammond B-3 and Levon Helm/Tom Petty type vocals… I suppose that’s my pallet. I’m glad the kind of music I make and the kind of songs I write are popular and gaining momentum.
VV. How have tattoos tied into your definition of yourself as an artist? What kind of statement are you making with them?
BR. Tattoos are definitely tied to the music for me. Not sure I’m trying to make a statement though. But the artists and images I relate to and identify with are kinda rockabilly and trucker… Slap-back echo on vocals & guitars says tattoos to me. Cash’s “Ring Of Fire”, Waylon’s ’66 “Mental Revenge”, and Willie Nelson’s ’62 “Funny How Time Slips Away”, those are all tattoos to me, figuratively and literally. When I wrote “Bad News Travels Fast” with Colin Linden I realized that those moments in songwriting when the right phrase is coined and paired with the right melody that an emotional situation is catalyzed and expressed in a permanent way like a tattoo.
VV. What are some of the wildest stories behind your tattoos?
BR. I got one of my 1st tattoos at 3am in a cow field at a motorcycle rally in Franklin NC. While I was sitting in a chair getting tattooed my buddies were up on the hillside setting off quarter sticks of dynamite trying to scare the tattooist so he’d screw up my tattoo.
VV. When did you get your first tattoo done? Was it nerve-wracking or exciting?
BR. I honestly can’t quite figure out which was my 1st tattoo but i definitely didn’t have any hesitations and was way into it.
VV. Do you have a specific style of tattoo you get doneor is it more random?
BR. I’ve only been collecting black & gray work for last 10 years or so. I do have a few color pieces but mostly black & gray.
VV. At velvet + vinyl, we believe that the most amazing stories are told through creative means. As a song writer and tattoo-connoisseur, what kind of stories are you telling?
BR. That’s a great question. I think they’re stories of transformation, moments of grace, accounts of tragedies, confessions of sins, testimonies of triumph, affectionate homage payed to guardian angels, admissions of struggles and diaries of searching journey.
VV. Would you consider yourself a “bad boy” because you have a lot of tattoos? Would you say other people classify you as such?
BR. How’s that line go? “If you wanna have a hard head, you better have a tough ass”… I think that’s kinda been my experience anytime i got to thinking I’m some kinda of badass. I got tired of learning that lesson you know.
VV. Any tattoo artist recommendations?
BR. Absolutely. My friend Cole Seigel is great and has an excellent shop “The Order” in downtown LA and Space Ghost is an excellent tattooist there. Also Freddy Negrete’s son, Isaiah Negrete is doing excellent work at Mark Mahoney’s Shamrock Social Club. I’ve seen some great work in Nashville from Chris Saint Clark at Kustom Thrills.
VV. Do you believe that all tattoos should have significant meaning behind them? Why or why not?
BR.You mean as opposed to randomly waking up one day and deciding to get an ear of corn tattooed on your thigh or something like that?… No person can dictate tattoo criteria for someone else. It’s just too personal of an experience. I aint saying I’ll never do it, but I haven’t done that yet and doubt that I will ever wake up one day and get that ear of corn tattoo though.
Trends easily define every aspect of modern life, we know that. Not just fashion but music, food, books and anything pop culture. And trends are great guides don’t get me wrong, but more and more often we are becoming defined by the trends established on the runway and in stores. The fashion world is a crazy place with overwhelming creativity and what seems like an endless supply of fresh ideas, yet these new ideas are put in boxes by people who are looking to determine their “personal style”.In any fashion oriented environment you can expect to be asked what your “personal style” is and to me this was one of the hardest questions to answer. For years I have been trying to label and lay out exactly what it is I like to classify myself as based on my style, but this style never really seemed like mine at all. I would look online and determine the latest trends, what’s “cool”, what others at school were wearing, and then try to stick these qualifications along with my personal and creative outlook on fashion into a tiny box labeled something like “preppy”, “girly”, “bohemian”, “classic”, “sporty”, or “grunge”.The term personal style started to lose the personality when I was trying to find my niche in a predetermined look and ended up altering their interests in order to fit in. You have to be able to let go of what others are doing, even what fashion experts are doing, because in no way are other people’s choices going to help you make yours. Not to say a defined sense of style is something to avoid because if you do happen to know exactly what makes you feel powerful and confident then always go for it– as long as it’s you.
Time and time again I have put an item back on the rack when I absolutely adored it because it didn’t fit the style I was going for or it wasn’t on trend. And there’s no use in spending hard earned money on clothes that feel empty or useless because you bought them in a trendy, fast fashion store. Gather the things you love and take inspiration from them in order to find out who you are in your style. Step outside of the comfort of fast fashion and experience new stores or discover the timeless, recycled pieces of a thrift store.
After experiencing fashion abroad for three months now, where it seems as if everyone dresses for themselves and dresses to impress, I have finally gotten the boost I needed to be confident in how I portray my enthusiasm for fashion. We are not meant to be divided and limited by style stereotypes, because fashion is is a string of trends, interests, and inspirations decided by the individual. Wear what makes you feel comfortable whether it’s on trend or not. Buy what you love simply because you love it. Your style is what you make it so explore new things, be adventurous, ignore your comfort zone, and make fashion fun again because it should never be a chore if it’s something you love.Dress out of the ordinary and ignore the expected, because without that fashion will become everything but extraordinary.
These pictures make me want to book a flight and head down to Palm Springs asap! A special thank you to our fabulous tour guide and photographer for the weekend. Head to her website to check out all of her amazing work.
Cincinnati hosted Bunbury 2017 this weekend and it exceeded all my festival expectations. From Flogging Molly to Moon Taxi, AFI, Jon Bellion and the 1975, followed by Thirty Seconds to Mars and Muse to finish out the night, my one day experience at Bunbury was one for the books.
bee here, bee you, bee free
mikey’s late night slice
It never ceases to amaze me how the art of music festivals brings people together through incredible artists and another caliber of musical talent. In addition to befriending strangers whom I initially had little in common with, just one day at Bunbury was honestly all I needed to feel rejuvenated with inspiration.
thirty seconds to mars
hi Jared Leto ❤
Yes, we were literally ten feet from Jared and I actually almost died from going in to shock. What a beautiful man, am I right?
little slice of heaven
Favorite sets were Moon Taxi, the 1975 and Thirty Seconds to Mars. On repeat today are All Day All Night by Moon Taxi and The Sound + Love Me by the 1975. Give ’em a listen, y’all.
What inspires you for the week ahead? We want to know! Share your favorite photos with us on Instagram with @velvetnvinyl.
With summer weather comes summer feels. Check out our latest Pinterest mood board here.