A SHANNON woman has become The Face of a new calendar celebrating positive body images, regardless of shape, size or individual hang-ups, which has been released for the Christmas season in aid of Clare’s Wish Foundation.
The calendar has been produced by Limerick photography company, Boudoir Darlings, which is run by women for women and creates an artistic interpretation of those it photographs, capturing the beautiful woman within.
In September, they launched a Facebook competition to find 2015’s Face of Boudoir Darlings, who would be on all promotional material and would do various shoots throughout 2015. However, as the idea grew, they decided upon partnering with a charity and Clare’s Wish Foundation was chosen.
Clare’s Wish is a Limerick-based charity, which was founded in April 2013 in memory of the founder’s sister, Clare, who was born with Spina Bifida and passed away aged 24. The charity’s main goal is to grant a wish for adults with a terminal or life-threatening condition.
This is the only charity offering this type of service to adults in Ireland. They grant wishes of various kinds, from weekends away, to meeting a famous person, to a bride-to-be who needs to bring forward her wedding.
Claire McCarthy, who is originally from Sixmilebridge but now lives in Shannon, was selected to be the face of the calendar and 11 other ladies were selected to feature for the remaining calendar months.
Claire said, “I was delighted Clare’s Wish was the charity to partner with as when I lost my own mother 13 years ago. We looked for something like this and we found nothing. But I remember all too well how something like this would have been a godsend to us.
“The few hours or days of escapism from treatments, hospital, stress and sadness is something anyone who has suffered this would totally understand and I am so proud to be part of this story”.
She had heard of Clare’s Wish prior to the competition, following another personal connection and was delighted to get involved in the calendar competition.
“I got involved with Boudoir Darlings, who called for ladies of all shapes and sizes, ladies who loved the skin they are in to become The Face of Boudoir Darlings 2015. The concept and the idea really struck a chord with me. I am always saying in life, if you don’t like something or think something needs to be done, then get on and do it, do not leave it to others.
“Being a mum to two children, a 19-year-old and an 11-year-old, I am very aware that the world we live in and the things they are exposed to could have a negative impact on them and their confidence. I think the non-stop perfect images they are surrounded by can all be a little too much, so I wanted to get on board with Boudoir Darlings, along with 11 other normal ladies, mothers, daughters, aunts etc and show that beauty comes in many forms and to embrace this and love you for you.
“Being you is far more beautiful than you trying to be someone else. The message behind this is a fantastic one and all of us feel amazing for doing it,” she said.
All 12 ladies featured in the calendar have one common message, Claire said. “We wanted to create a calendar with real women, lumps, bumps, curves and all, with little or no photoshopping, to embrace us for who we are and to maybe inspire others to do the same.
“None of us are perfect, or what we think is perfect, but we are all confidant and happy in our skin because we embrace ourselves and we celebrate our beauty in the many forms it comes in.
“I am a mum of two and for me I wanted my daughters to see real ladies being happy and proud, as I feel they are surrounded by the perfect image everywhere they look. I wanted them to know I am a mum, I am curvy, I am short but you know what, that is okay because I am beautiful as me; leading by example so to speak.”
The calendar is currently available directly from Boudoir Darlings, Clare’s Wish and in Change lingerie stores in Dublin, Galway and Limerick, as well as in Bellissimo salons in Galway and Limerick.
“The partnership between Boudoir Darlings and Clare’s Wish is the perfect partnership for me. I am so proud to support such a fantastic charity and I am thrilled to be The Face of Boudoir Darlings 2015.
“The calendar is just the beginning. Four to five other shoots are planned with a ‘love your body’ project coming down the line too,” Claire concluded.
By Carol Byrne