It was at the West Elm Art of Wedding Planning event that I attended several months ago. I was having a conversation with a wedding planner whom I had never worked with before. It is no surprise that I have never worked with this planner because her events are not the same style as my wedding photography, so this conversation was not necessarily business related except for the fact that we were at a wedding event. The conversation got interesting about something, and with no surprise to myself… I cussed about something. It likely involved the f-word. Because… the f-word and I… well, we’re basically best friends. But anyhow… this caught the attention of the wedding planner in a way that excited her. She too has a love for verbal cuss-bombs. But the thing that she said next really surprised me.
“Oh, wow! Maybe you aren’t as sweet as your style of photography? I like you.”
This hit me like a big fat rock to the face. I thought that I was doing a good job of letting the internet… and my couples… know my personality. But obviously I wasn’t. If my industry peers didn’t even have a taste of my slightly obnoxious, foul-mouthed personality which is also laced with a bit of 90’s rap gangster… then how would any of my future couples?
I am sure that this comment flew right off of the wedding planner’s tongue without any concern of it hitting me so hard. It was a flippant conversation, and there was no reason for her to think that I would take her words as deeply as I did. But, man, did I ever. Her words sat at the pit of my stomach for months. They were heavy, and I didn’t know what to do about them… I didn’t know where to take this information… and I definitely didn’t know how to change it. With ‘it’ being such a huge part of my online representation, which directly impacts the type of couple I attract, and the weddings that I book… a sense of urgency, bordering on panic, set in.
I absolutely know that I am a genuine person in my one-on-one interactions with my couples, but this authenticity wasn’t being conveyed across all areas of my business.
Fast-forward a few months, and I found myself in a hotel room at the Four Seasons photographing my dear bride, Belinda, as she prepared for her wedding day. The room was full of the hustle and bustle of every wedding day. Beautiful women filled the room. Dresses were slipped into. Shoes were buckled. Makeup abounded. The detail photos had been completed, and it was time… time to slip Belinda into her dress, and make her into a bride. But, as always… my brain was in Bravo-land. So instead of ask Belinda if she was ready to become a bride; I said housewife. “Are you ready to make you into a housewife?” And, yes, my grammar was exactly that atrocious. Immediately following that comment… the next comment came barreling out of my mouth. Wrecklessly. There wasn’t any chance that my executive functioning would kick in and stop this comment from making its way into the universe… so without any concern of being offensive, per my usual, I giggled… “Are you ready to make a hoe into a housewife?” In which riotous laughter immediately escaped from the core of who I am.
The next several minutes… far more minutes than the timeline allowed… were spent laughing with all of the girls in the room. It became a jumping off point for discussing that this would absolutely be part of my tagline if I were ever cast for the pilot season of The Real Housewife of Las Vegas. Belinda was not offended. She is a dear friend, and knows me well enough to know that this sort of banter is just part of who I am… and I’m hoping that she loves me for it!
But, there is a huge concern on my end… so please, let me take a second to let Snoop, Dr. Dre, Eminem, and all of the other 90’s rap icons who collaborated on the Chronic 2001 record know that I deeply, deeply apologize. Never in my 33 years did I ever think that I would be going against anything that you have ever taught me in your lyrics. I am ride or die for you, but in this one situation, I hope that you can truly understand that you, my dear cronies, are in fact wrong. You actually can make a hoe into a housewife. Because I’ve been doing it for the last 5 years.
(Hoe being a term of endearment, and not the out-dated, slanderous term that you, my idols, have rapped about for decades. Obviously.)
So, with that, I introduce to you… the official… and unapologetically authentic… J. Anne Photography tagline.