A Safehouse Recap and Love Letter | With Lola Gilbert

 PHOTO CREDIT: JAMIE SCOTT

PHOTO CREDIT: JAMIE SCOTT

WARNING: POST IS PHOTO AND WORD heavy BUT WORTH IT. grab A GLASS OF WINE, SHOT OF WHISKEY, OR CUP O' JOE AND SETTLE IN!

As I have sat here over the last two weeks taking in all of the excitement, outpouring positivity and deep connections that came from the first Safehouse Workshop in NYC, tears come to eyes as I start to write this.

I don't know how to do anything with less than my whole heart. So here it goes. This is a long one, I hope you'll stick around. 

To say I had a lot of anxiety leading up to September 8th would be an extreme understatement.

Did I do everything right?

Will they like me in person?

Will the educators feel supported and excited? 

Will the attendees feel like they are accepted and safe here to be just who they are? 

The list goes on and on. Over and over again the questions filled my head, but I kept pushing through the moments of falling apart because this was my dream. Getting to meet all of the babes who chose to invest in themselves and trusted me with that experience, that was my dream. This was YOUR big moment, and you deserved it. 

The Babes + Booze mixer came at 7 PM September 8th and it was showtime. The educators were all oozing excitement and passion for this thing we created. From the moment each and every attendee walked in, I could breathe a little better. These were my fucking people. This is why I'm here. The AirBnb was filled with laughter, smiles, excitement and big dreams. It was intoxicating. As I stood up to give my welcome speech, the emotions my heart had been feeling overcame me. Thankfully, the attendees ( AKA my new best friends ) were nothing but gracious about my shaky voices and welling eyes. 

I just wanted to take a second to let you all know how thankful I am that you’re here tonight. I know how scary it can be to take a chance on you. To wonder if you’re good enough and to push past those boundaries and walls you’ve put up for yourself.

I want you to walk away with a few things this weekend.

First and foremost, I want you to walk away knowing that you’re not alone. Tonight is not only a first and a chance for many of you, but it’s also a first and a chance for me. I started Babetown because there was a gap in the photography community world. There was a lot of judgment being thrown around, a lot less support and acceptance being granted and never enough inclusivity. That’s where Babetown was born. A place for you to bring your weird, bring your quirky, bring your scars and your heart. A place where it would all be accepted and kept safe. Creating that space hasn’t been easy, and I know that it will only get harder as we grow but I’m willing to put in all the effort, as long as you are.

Second, I want you to walk away feeling inspired and fulfilled with creative magic. Every one of the educators you see here and the ones you will see over the next few days are here because they want to see you succeed. They want to see you push back against everything telling you that you’re not good enough and embrace all the badassery you already have inside you.

Lastly, I want you to build authentic connections. Take the time to talk to one another, share your stories, ask questions and fully give into the experience.....

That's a little taste of my heart in that moment. All of those expectations were shattered and exceeded. Times a million. 

Each morning of the three days that we immersed ourselves in creativity together was a new beginning. Another day that I got to do what I love and see first hand the babes that are directly impacted by the business choices I make every day. It wasn't all a fantasy anymore. It was real life. Each day was filled with so much excitement and minds blown that for a lot of it, I just had to step back and take it all in. Sit back and notice the small moments. The ones where perfect strangers we engaging in conversation and helping eachother. The ones where each and every educator was answering questions where and when they could without hesitation. The ones where time and time again the attendees were saying how we, as a collective, have changed their business and them as a person forever. Those are the moments that I will cherish forever and ever. Those are the moments that will forever get me through the ones where 80% of my job is filled with emails, phone calls, admin tasks and more emails. I am so thankful that this my job. This is my everyday, even when I can't see past my to-do list. 


 

LOVE LETTERS TO THE BABE SQUAD

TO THE ONES I COULDN'T HAVE DONE THIS WITHOUT

TWYLA JONES- intimate couples + movement in boudoir

Where do I start with this powerful little peanut? You've been there since Babetown was a little babe with encouragement and passion for this community. Never doubting me or the mission and always willing to share nearly every ounce of yourself to see it succeed.  Forever oblivious to your own badassery, humble to the core, and my ride or die. Thank you all day zoom calls, throwing around ideas and laughs, for sharing your love for those beautiful little boys whom call Lula and I adore it.  Thank you for opening all of our eyes to the little moments in life, for sharing how that majestic brain of yours works and for making everyone feel like they are included. I am forever grateful to call you my friend. 

TWYLA'S MODELS:  Rhetta Mykeal  & Hannah Zieser   |  Grace King Damon Gillespie .  | nick & lauren

hair and makeup: Hailey Boam

lingerie : Burgundy Fox   

LOCATION: COLONY STUDIOS + URBAN COWBOY BOOKLYN


JESSICA RASMUSSEN- self portraiture + movement in boudoir

From the moment I laid eyes on one of your KILLER self portraits, I knew I had to get to know you. Then I did and quickly realized that there were a million other reasons to fall in love with you. You're willingness to share your heart, your passion for your journey of healing, how bad ass of a mama you are,  your constant support on photos and posts through out Babetown, your lingerie collection ( uhm, hello ) , your silliness , huge smile, and a million other things. Thank you for making the first Safehouse so damn special. I can't wait to create more magic with you. 

TWYLA + JESSICA'S MODELS:  Haley Brickell  |  DANIELLE GUENTHER

hair and makeup: Hailey Boam

lingerie : Burgundy Fox 

LOCATION: COLONY STUDIOS + URBAN COWBOY BOOKLYN


chadwick braithwaite: headhshot + all the nerdy things

Thank you for your incredible sense of humor and never failing to make everyone in the room feel like your best friend. Thank you for being Babetown's first Babedude and being dedicated to the community even before you were a visible member. Your passion for paying it forward and seeing others succeed is one of your best qualities. Thank you for being a sounding board for my million + 1 ideas, for late night zoom calls and for supporting my own photography dreams when you didn't have to. I know you're probably screaming on the inside over the sap but ALL THE MORE REASON TO EMBARRASS THE SHIT OUT OF YOU! Thank you for being one of the best friends of all time. 


DANIELLE GUENTHER: embracing the choas in parenthood

Danielle, you are one of those most genuine and selfless people i've ever met. Thank you for navigating us through the craziness of New York City and all the beauty it has to offer. For showing us the behind the scenes of your incredible view on celebrating the chaos of parnethood and having the most amazing attitude while doing it. Thank you for always wanting to include everyone around you, for coffee, for your beautiful laugh, for letting us all feel normal when need a drink at 11am and for your dedication to the Babetown community.  Your soul shines from within and you are one of the baddest of babes. 

DAnielle'S MODELS:  Bianca Jamotte & her family

hair and makeup: Hailey Boam

LOCATION: COLONY STUDIOS + URBAN COWBOY BOOKLYN


JAMIE SCOTT: silhouettes

I feel like i've known you forever. Like we were two pieces of a puzzle that have been missing the other and didn't even know it. I remember the day that I stumbled upon your Instagram nearly a year ago and was captivated by the way your eyes saw the world. The way your love for your family and everyone around you is your truest priority and your kindness and passion shines through everything you do. Thank you for your giving heart, your ability to connect and share your heart with every one of us, your ability to play mama bear when I didn't know how , for opening my eyes to so many new beers,  and your hilarious company on Chads van tour of NYC... over and over again. 


KALA RATH - MATERNITY BOUDOUR

Gah. Another amazing babe that has been with Babetown since nearly the beginning. Thank you for taking a chance on our first every E - Retreat earlier this year and then brining your gorgeous pregnant ass to New York City for The Safehouse Workshop. Your knowledge of newborn,  maternity photography and beyond is such a joy to watch. Our shared love for #ALLTHEFOOD brings my heart so much happiness and I can't wait to make my way to your neck of the woods. Keep being you and sharing your passion for women with the world. Rain check for all the wine once those beautiful little beebees make their way into the world. 

Kala'S MODELS:  Morgan shaw

hair and makeup: Hailey Boam

LOCATION:  URBAN COWBOY BOOKLYN


kevin lowery - intimate male photography

Kevin, how quickly you've become my partner in crime fighting.  Thank you for sharing your heart with us and your passion for embracing the vulnerability in men and doing it so damn beautifully. For talking with me and the rest of the Babetown family about the importance of inclusivity in our business and fighting that fight along side me. Thank you for keeping me laughing and teaching me how to properly 'get soft'. For sharing the funniest moments of parenthood and that precious family of yours. Your dedication to the Babetown mission never goes unnoticed and I am honored to have you be a part of it. Keep sparkling, babe. 


LAUREN LAVERIA - ENGAGEMENT PHOTOGRAPHY

Oh sweet Lauren! I don't think i've ever seen you without a smile on your face. It radiates through anyone you come into contact with. I find comfort in knowing that even though you may be a peanut of a human, we will never loose you with that bright hair. I can spot you from a mile away. I love that you embrace your quirky attitude and let yourself be silly for your clients and for the attendees. You put everyone you meet at ease and I am so thankful for you sharing your talents with the world. 

LAUREN'S  MODELS:  Elizabeth + PARTNER , carla + kalel

hair and makeup: Hailey Boam

LOCATION: COLONY STUDIOS + URBAN COWBOY BOOKLYN


TERI HOFFORD - BODY DIVERSITY BOUDOIR

Teri, you are a hurricane of a human in the best possible way. Your quick whit, puns for days and want to photograph #allthebootys are just a few of my favorite things about you. Thank you for the work that you do to make all the women in the world feel beautiful and embrace their bodies, just the way they are. Thank you for sharing your scars and showing us how we can transform our own into pure magic. You motivate me everyday without even knowing it. Thank you for being part of TBC and for everything you do for us. 

TERI'S  MODEL:  ANDREA CAMPBELL

hair and makeup: Hailey Boam

LOCATION: COLONY STUDIOS + URBAN COWBOY BOOKLYN


HAILEY BOAM - HAIR AND MAKEUP ARTIST

Hailey, thank you so much for all the help in making The Safehouse Workshop a reality. From coming to Pittsburgh early to holding my hand through numerous anxiety attacks, this honestly may have been a shit show without you. Your passion for making everyone feel beautiful and for seeing all of your friends succeed along side you does not go unnoticed. Thank you for late night laughs, early morning problem solving, for being one of my calms through the storm and a million other things. You're an incredible human. 


GARY WIGGAM - THE FOOD KING

Thank you for making sure we all got fed delicious food for the week. Thank you for your endless amounts of jokes and smiles. Your laid back personality and go with the flow attitude was so helpful. I am so thankful for all your hard work during long days and horrible traffic of NYC.  You're such a babe. 


to my husband, Kaleb

Thank you for believing in me and my dreams. Thank you for your patience and forehead kisses. Thank you for your infectious laugh. For your packing skills and memory that I lack completely. For your not so secret keeping up with The Babetown community and updating me on things I didn't even know were happening. For your road trip skills, even when I sleep most of the way and am the self proclaimed worst road trip buddy ever. For singing all of our favorite songs at the tops of your lungs and for loving me. You're the real MVP. 

14196131_10208922971385156_1116566695810257014_o.jpg

LOVE LETTER TO THE attendees

TO THE ONES WHO GIVE ME PURPOSE

Thank you for being you. Thank you for coming up to me and telling me what an amazing time you were having when you didn't have to. Thank you for reaching out to one another , making new connections and building our family. Thank you for investing in yourself and the future of The Babetown Collective. Thank you for sharing your weird, your scars, your stories and everything in-between. Thank you for 10 hours days of creativity. For hustling through each and every course with as much heart and passion as the one before it. For giving it your all and then going home and implementing what you learned and letting us watch you grow. 

THANK YOU

lola gilbert