Love Yourself: The Naked Photoshoot
Morgan Cuffie, wearing only a robe, stands in front of the camera. She is in a studio with Dr. Stacy Berman, the creator of the 'Love Yourself: The Naked Photoshoot' program, because she had spontaneously agreed to go for it and pose. Now, a million thoughts are running through her head. "You feel this trepidation…and… like…wait…should I be doing this?" she recalled. "There's definitely a point where you forget you're naked. You have complete awareness and no awareness at all. You know that you are naked but you just don't care."
Baring yourself naked can be downright frightening. Stacy designed these shoots to use these uncomfortable feelings as powerful tools for transformation.
Stacy's photoshoots are for women to come and explore what it feels like to embody emotions like sexy, powerful and strong outside of society's gaze and redefine themselves. The women who are participating in these photoshoots have struggled through trauma and work with Stacy to overcome the effects of those experiences.
Stacy Berman is no stranger to trauma. She had a tough upbringing in the Bronx in the 1970's. She was exposed to a lot of abuse; physical, emotional, sexual, psychological, drug and alcohol abuse. For the first seven years of her life the first and only emotion she experienced was fear.
She built a fortress around her heart just to survive. As she got older, she realized that wall needed to be broken down. She embarked on a twenty five year journey of research and healing. It was a process that would take her across three continents. Internally, it traversed her body as a trainer, her mind as a doctor, and her soul as a shamanic healer. It opened her eyes as to how she could heal herself and help others heal themselves.
This took shape professionally when at just 18 years old she started a year round outdoor fitness program, Stacy's Bootcamp, in Central Park. Stacy then became a certified nutrition specialist, studied consciousness with a doctor of religion from India, apprenticed with a Shaman from the Native American Hopi tradition, studied quantum physics, epigenetics, psychoneuroimmunology, and earned a PHD in Natural Medicine.
The inspiration for the Naked Photoshoots evolved from her years of working closely with thousands of women. "No matter what they looked like on the outside.." Berman noted, "on the inside they always had this negative self-dialogue." She wanted to use the experience of being naked in front of a camera as way for women to explore their own feelings, see themselves in a different light and to learn to love themselves.
Stacy has worked with Morgan, a single Mom overcoming two abusive relationships, for over a 3 year period. The photoshoots were transformative. Morgan admits "…I feel like I've spent a lot of time in my life trying to make myself smaller, and at least be invisible enough that you wouldn't have to notice me and I wouldn't be a problem."
But with Stacy, "There's not all these rules…it's just you being you…and that's cool and that's rare and that's precious."
"It's really nice being me again," Morgan reflected after the shoot.
Morgan no longer sees herself as someone who should blend into the background. She found a sense of strength that was buried deep inside her fears. As Stacy often says, "It is in those shattered spaces that we can begin to rebuild ourselves."
Learn more about Stacy at: https://www.stacyberman.com/
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