Did you know that YOU are important to me? The Class of 2020 will experience a new twist to the model team! As NGP has grown, the model team has taken on so many different forms and sizes. Over the years of photographing seniors, there is one constant theme. Each senior has a story to tell. I also noticed that confidence seems to be a consistent topic during each session.
“Being a member of the Ambassador Program for Nikki Guest Photography is going to be a blast! There are so many lessons I am already learning while being an ambassador.”
We would talk prior to the session and of course during the session; during the course of the conversations walls begin to come down. Comments like, “I don’t know how to pose” or “I am not ____ or ____”. Then, suddenly after a little coaching, a little hair and makeup, and a lot of laughter….magic happened! At the beginning of the session, I would allow the senior to see the back of the camera. In a split second, the confidence grew! It created a “WOW, that is me!!” moment. These seniors were not edited…it was straight out of the camera. The confidence just grew and the remaining part of the session allowed for fear of the unknown to melt away.
As 2020 approaches, it became the perfect time to seek a new vision for seniors to feel validated and confident.
In order to understand my new mindset, you should know a little of the history. In the past, it didn’t matter if I chose a person that had an athletic build, a dancer, an artist, an introvert, extrovert, someone with frizzy hair or differing skin colors. I always tried my best to offer up opportunities for all seniors and have as much of a diverse group as possible. I always felt the application process generated a sense of competition, even knowing that diversity was still needed. Often times, seniors not knowing my approach, just assumed I only wanted a certain look. It wasn’t until we would speak that they learned my perspective was not at all what they assumed. I found that it didn’t matter how hard I tried to build a sense of confidence by inviting all shapes, sizes, races, etc. I still felt like I was not able to reach out far enough, say “yes” to everyone and still run a business. This was NOT want I intended for my model team to be like. Not even a little.
“I am honored to be part of a program that will hopefully prompt awareness that we are so much more than an edited selfie, we are all beautiful.”
So what is happening NOW? Do I still have a model team? Yes and No…not crystal clear is it? 2020 will be year of “New Vision” for NGP-I decided take on a new approach. Since this is an inaugural year for this new idea, the terms you will begin to hear are:
BE VISIBLE | 2020 along with a new name for “model team”. The model team is really no longer a “model team”. They are now, “AMBASSADORS”-I reached out to a few Class of 2020 teens that I met through different avenues. Each of these young ladies have made an impression in my life in a variety of ways. Since this will be my first year to pursue this new venture, I needed to be confident that I had young ladies who already knew me, my character and already had an idea of this vision I had long ago. I also knew their story. Each one has a story and they are ready to help others. I did not send out a call for models and they did not seek me out.
“I am really excited to be part of the Ambassador Program. I’ve always loved working with Nikki and the fact that I get the opportunity to work with her and other teen girls in my community is really special. I’m excited to see what the year brings and I am looking forward to all of the ways we can positively impact girls.”
The Class of 2020 ambassadors will be the initial leaders to represent NGP throughout the community. However, their role will be tailored to initiate a new level of thinking. They will help coordinate and invite friends to join us at “meet ups” (I am still trying to come up with a name). Each meet up will be tailored to create a conversation about different topics. One meet up might be about eating disorders, one may be about easy makeup and hair tips you can do each morning in a rush (so you don’t look like you just crawled out of bed). It is amazing what a little lipgloss can do…not to mention a rockin messy bun! ha! ha! So the range will vary…hard topics to fun subjects. There will be so many conversations and an adult leader with experience on that subject will be present to guide the conversation. It could be a teacher, a psychologist, fashion designer, stylist, nutritionist, job recruiter, police officer etc. …The list could go on and on! The goal is to garner conversation, laughter and break down some perceptions that are leading to a lack of confidence in our youth. With the ambassadors being from different schools, activities, etc…there will always be different schools represented. It is always fun to “reach across the aisle” (ha! ha!) and see what is happening pertaining to each topic in the different schools. The fun fact about the future!? What’s the catch? —each time a person attends, if they book or have booked a session they will receive cash credit towards their product purchases with me. This allows for everyone to be a “spokesperson”. Yes, the ambassadors for this year will have a little more “credit” because they will be the leaders in generating this new approach. I have carefully selected them to help me learn more about the students and the environment in their local activities, organizations and schools. We will be coordinating events celebrating confidence and a positive self image. The ultimate goal is to create an open dialog and make changes amongst the youth in our community. It is time to break down the social media influence and show that you can be confident as YOU…not someone else! Our new motto- “FLAWED BUT STILL WORTHY”!
CLASS OF 2021 AND 2022-YOU ARE welcome to join these conversations! Ambassadors for 2021 will be chosen this summer! Details about how to become an ambassador to be announced in May!
“The NGP Ambassador Program is something I am very excited to be a part of. I have known Ms. Nikki for years and every time we are together we have the time of our lives. I think it is important girls embrace and stay true to who they are. I am excited to be taking a new stance with senior photography through Nikki Guest and embracing who I am.”
“I am so excited and hopeful about being an Ambassador for Nikki Guest this year! Not only do I think her photographs are stunning, but I love what she stands for. Unfortunately, teenage girls spend a lot of time comparing themselves to others and to unachievable social standards, but through Mrs. Guest’s program, I will have the opportunity to build my peers up and together maybe we can start to break down some of the crazy notions of what it truly is to be happy, successful and self-content.”
My love for senior photography has evolved with treasured friendships. We have laughed and cried together; most importantly, we connected and I want to take the connection and make a difference within our community! Whether it is a significant difference or one of minor consequence-if we can make a difference for just one person, then we did a great job!