Last Sunday I Posed Nude – Despite Being Fat Shamed by My Trainer

Well, not fully nude, but almost. For one segment of the shoot, I wore this rust colored tunic with high side slits and no panties. Posed on a bed with my legs and hips exposed – something like this.

I could say a lot about my boudoir shoot with Andrew Thomas Clifton that’s been about a year in the making. I found him on Instagram, loved his work, and made up my mind that one day he’d take photos of me. So this past Sunday, my vision manifested! Yayy!

I’ve mostly been telling everyone how much fun I had. There’s something empowering about embracing where you are with your body and being vulnerable enough to flaunt it in front of a camera, and a strange man.

Actually, in hindsight, it’s a bit odd that I felt only slight reluctance to changing out of my tunic into fishnets and a thong bodysuit and high heels – in clear view of the photographer. As an aside, I had Brazilian bikini and underarm waxing the day before, so everything was nice and smooth.


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My trainer told me I shouldn’t be doing the shoot. “No, it’s too soon. Why would you do that? You haven’t even lost enough fat yet.” Or something to that effect. I’m calling it fat shaming, but I believe he meant well. I think he wanted to relish in knowing he helped “get me in shape” for the photos – apparently so I wouldn’t be self conscious. Too late! We were going to shoot in May (I would’ve had four more weeks to work out and diet), but Andrew offered and I jumped at the opportunity to do it earlier.

I’ve been on this self-love kick lately – you know, doing everything in my power to extract as much joy from every moment as possible. Even when I’m by myself. Because I’ve been very wobbly in this regard in the past – relishing in the moments where I felt people were behaving in ways I wanted them to. And being on a roller coaster of emotions at other times.

My greatest power is in remaining aligned with my self, no matter what. When I’m having fun, that’s beneficial to me and everyone I have relationships with.

Not only that – I’ve been preaching (to myself, and trying to encourage my 22 year old daughter as well ) about embracing where you are now, while working toward body goals, career goals, financial goals, life goals, etc. Much easier said than done, I know. So I got to practice what I preach.

What a fun and memorable opportunity.

Burlesque and Body Fat – Who Really Cares?

I’ve wondered how women who fall outside the norm of American beauty standards feel comfortable in professions like burlesque dancing and stripping. And most of us fall along that spectrum if we have cellulite, excess body fat, dimples, boobs that sag, thin hair, etc. I almost said big booties, but women are literally dying for those now.



My mother is disappointed in my willingness to pose “half naked” with my butt out. (She’s afraid I’ll be passed around the Internet.) I reminded her that she’s posed for pictures wearing less, sans professional photographer! And then we had plenty of laughs and some bonding over my outfit choices. I stopped by her house after my session and shared the details with her.

She also told me that I was always body shy as a little girl, so it’s shocking that I would do something like this. That explains a lot – that self consciousness about my boobs, and my thighs, and whatever else, didn’t happen overnight. Didn’t happen somewhere along the course of me giving birth to three children. It’s high time I drop it though.

And guess what. It’s freeing to not care what other people think about your body, and about what you do with it. Your body, your choice, your happiness – above all else.

Another reason Andrew is the perfect photographer – he’s big on body acceptance for women. Some of his subjects appear to be well over 300 pounds, and beautiful in their own right – just like I am. (And like all of you women reading this.) By social media accounts, he receives high praise for capturing and authentically showcasing real women.

Advice for the Black Woman | Fitness Q&A with Mark Jenkins

I want to be 25-30lbs lighter for sure, and toned – and I won’t put off life and enjoyment while I reach that goal (again). My gynecologist informed me yesterday that since estrogen levels are increasing by a bazillion times now, it will be an ongoing battle to manage my weight. But I got this!

To quote celebrity trainer Mark Jenkins, whom I interviewed a while back:

Every woman is beautiful in her own body type. And women need to learn to accept that and accentuate their strengths and minimize their weaknesses.

So in the meantime, I’m going to have as much fun as possible. Laugh as much as possible, even at my own inside jokes. Continue to daydream. Marvel at the wonders of the world, both big and small.

I will also enjoy my photos when I receive them in 2-3 weeks. Unsure about sharing them publicly because I’m not trying to be on folks’ Pinterest boards!

Will you catch me on a nude beach anytime soon? Probably not. Posing fully nude for pictures? Probably not. Do I still have insecurities? Yup. And that’s okay. If I should change my mind about doing any of the above, I’ll write about it here first!

If you’ve read this far and you’re still interested, and or you like fantastic booties, here’s a short video you may enjoy. (I didn’t know it was that big.)

If you’d like to work with Andrew, he’s professional, personable, and immensely talented. Here’s his info:




Twitter: @AndrewTClifton


Have you ever posed for provocative photos? What was the experience like? If you haven’t, could you see yourself doing it? If you had any hangups, what would they be? Can you relate to dealing with and or overcoming insecurities about your body? What has the process been like for you?

Categories: Personal Stories

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42 replies

  1. Loving the skin that your in at any size. Awesome! I think we all have insecurities about our bodies. Some things we want to improve on. Lose some fat here and there, more toned here and there. I like the way you said that earlier in the post. Fat shaming. Lol!! I understood that completely.
    I’m glad your photo shoot went well. Your a classy lady. So there shouldn’t be any worries.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You looked absolutely amazing you go girl do ur thang. He’s a great photographer I wanna do some pics

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Well written as usual, inspiring. I wanna know what your trainer says once he see the pics ( you’ll have to show him at least one ) guaranteed he being saying something diff than the initial remark πŸ€—

    Sent from my iPhone


    Liked by 1 person

  4. First of all, shame on your trainer! I’m sure he’ll eat his words when he sees this. You looked amazing in that video. I should know- I’ve watched it a LOT. πŸ™‚ I felt similar to you in front of the photographer. After a while, my nudity wasn’t a big deal. You should be proud and excited that you followed through and had such a positive experience.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I never posed provocative for any photos but , will I consider it?! Yes, any day now. Of course with my spouse approval. IπŸ˜‰ I have always had a small frame.
    I just never thought about posing nude for photos. I’m not at my weight goal and there are a couple of changes I want for my body. Not ashamed for sure.

    I agree, a lot of us are ashamed of our bodies but why worry about how others feel?! If you confident, go for it. It may just make all of the shy ones come out they shell.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Nope. I’ve never done it. I may do one. I’ve always been interested.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Respect to you for having so much confidence and self-love for your body. I think that’s a major factor missing from society especially when it comes to women. We’re almost trained to hate ourselves and praise beauty in others rather than our own. I think beauty is very subjective and a lot of it has to do with the confidence to love your own skin.

    We used to have this nude calendar on my campus and I always wanted to do it. Hit the gym, tried to be more healthy then it got cancelled the year I was feeling physically fit enough for it. I’ve always felt quite uncomfortable in my own skin. Getting your mother’s hips and ass + primary and high school teasing doesn’t lead to much body confidence. I still feel very insecure about my body, I shy away from photos and wouldn’t ever describe myself as attractive.

    I really respect you for doing this. Exposing yourself (whether emotionally or physically) and just standing in your own skin is an incredibly challenging prospect.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Well thank you for sharing this sincere perspective and comment. This was actually out of character for me. Normally I would have trained obsessively to get in shape first. I did that two years ago (for a boudoir shoot like this one) and the amateur photographer/ former friend never gave me the pics. I trained hard, agonized over what to wear, rented a hotel room, etc. All for naught. This time I was like “eff it.” I still have insecurities like everyone else, but oddly, I’m a bit better. Lol. I wonder if it’s as simple as just deciding to be better. “Hiding” can make you seem inauthentic, especially to people who are interested in loving every part of you. (That’s another post altogether!) Trust me, I know!

      Liked by 1 person

    • As far as your “missed opportunity” to be in the calendar, yes, I was thinking “who’s to say what will be happening next month. Why wait?”


  8. Reblogged this on The V-Pub and commented:
    Just a quick hello and a check in to say hello to everyone. I think I get a day off next week, so I hope I’ll have time to post. In the meantime, here’s an amazing post by Shakiyla.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Although a favorite part of this post is missing now, I still applaud you for your courage to follow your heart. You look amazing.


  10. This is awesome! You looked beautiful in your photo and of course I vote for a public album of them all! πŸ˜„ I’ve always wanted to do a boudoir shoot but have put it off because I wanted to fix something or other about my body. Lose weight. Skin removal surgery. Need boobs. Lol! I definitely will one day. Nudity is empowering, especially when there’s so much we’re taught socially about being a black woman and our sexuality. Either it’s in a way that’s explicitly for men and their pleasure or we’re supposed to be sexless matronly types. There are many shades of sexy and I think confidence and love looks good on everyone. Although I think your trainer meant well I think he missed the point. You’re working out to feel good about your body and if you feel good now, even better! That doesn’t mean you quit and the fitness is over lol. Thank you for spilling some of that self-love into the world and inspiring πŸ‘πŸΎπŸ‘πŸΎ

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks for reading and chiming in! I won’t share them publicly. There are certain folks I wouldn’t want to see them. I agree with nudity being empowering, or liberating – especially if you’re confident. Suddenly I’m talking about going to a clothing optional beach for the first time.


      • I can understand that. I can post pictures but at the nude beach is where I would be shy! Idk if I would be able to hold a conversation with a straight face or without trying to hide behind something but the people that go seem so at ease (atleast on TV πŸ˜„). I’m working on that kind of comfort in my skin. Do write about it if you go.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I’ll write about it for sure. My cousin already said she’d be down to go, but would be laughing the whole time. And it’s clothing optional so we could always chicken out. Lol. We’ll be in Spain. I think it’s worth experiencing at least once, although I’ve never really been that comfortable either. Lol.

          Liked by 1 person

  11. I’ve always held to the belief that real women have curves. Being comfortable in one’s skin – not really caring what others think – is absolutely crucial to one’s own sense of self-esteem … and love of self.

    Boudoir Photography is something I encourage all of my female friends to explore and consider … celebrate yourself, celebrate your femininity. Don’t rely on validation or approval from someone else.

    As always, Shakiyla … you do it up big!!! =D

    Liked by 1 person

  12. There’s a rumor at the V-pub that a sequel to this post is coming soon. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

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