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Summer Bummer - Body Acceptance in a Quarantine Summer

Updated: Oct 22, 2020

article by: Mattie Gonzales

Driving to Zuni studio on an extremely hot day. Stuck in traffic a bit too long. I knew I was running at least five minutes late. I was stuck between putting on more makeup, and taking some off. 

Being someone who steps out the door without hardly a second thought to presentation you can imagine my surprise to the inner dialogue that began creeping in—-

Questions of “Should I have brought some false lashes? Should I have brought makeup wipes? Should I have left my hair curly? Will I look womxn ... enough” After a good ten minutes of this I had to laugh, of course I would think this way the day of a ‘Body Acceptance’ photoshoot. 

Curbing the anxiety into an analysis about societal expectations of feminine presentation; I looked at my nails on the steering wheel. Chipped mood ring blue nail polish(a gift from a friend) glaring back at me. Between opaque washes of glitter my nail beneath showed. Something clicked in my mind “Oh! this is body acceptance...” -con't below



Photographer: Katya Nunez

Models: Lex Fitzpatrick, Monica Shelton, Veronica Henderson, Mattie Gonzales

Location: Zuni Studio Denver, Colorado


Photographer: Katya Nunez

Models: Lex Fitzpatrick, Monica Shelton, Veronica Henderson, Mattie Gonzales

Location: Zuni Studio Denver, Colorado

Disclaimer: All those involved in the shoot maintained social distancing and proper precautions pre and post shoot. This included screenings as well as explicit consent to shoot in close quarters. We highly encourage any engaging in photoshoots to have caution and follow CDC guidelines.


For what seems to be thousands of years; society has had this idea of what womxn look like, what beauty looks like, and as a whole an unhealthy obsession with image relating to womxn Whilst a handful of logos minded persons tout about golden ratio and scientific measures of beauty using “hip to waist ratio” I feel this this grand reclamation of beauty from within feminine minds. A vision of beauty that is becoming inter-sectional and being formed outside of the male gaze. A vision that exist out side of what we 'see.' and touches something beneath the surface.

Since that hot a** June day I find myself thinking more recently of a Tiktok in which an individual explains the difference between body positive and body acceptance. This switch in terminology resonated on a much deeper level for me. There is room within me to accept and love not just the days I feel beautiful, but the days I feel ugly.

Regardless of outward expression I’m finding a vision of beauty that doesn’t just exist in beautiful dresses or painted eyes, but somewhere on the other side of the mirror, somewhere beneath my nail beds. Beauty that lies in the primal mixture of the dirt, the sand, and the blood beneath my fingernails as I myself reclaim my own  feminine experiences. 

There’s room for all of it, there's room for all of our ‘ugly’ and all of our ‘beauty’ and every word in between. There’s room for long graceful legs, juicyfruit breast, slightly parted lips and loud aggressive wild women screams. There’s room for old,young and middle aged, there's room for black,brown,red and white. There’s room for curls and straight hair. There’s room for me, for you, for her, for them.


“Right now, especially amidst the Black Lives Matter movement, it is important to build and support the womxn in our communities. As a female photographer, I strive to be mindful of the kinds of bodies I am representing in my work. I strive to create art with people who embody a broader spectrum of how womxn choose to identify. As an industry, photographers have a long way to go; but if we use our platforms to promote beauty in diversity, we will better represent the communities in which we all survive and thrive in.”

Photographer: -Katya Nuñez 


"Body acceptance means loving myself through the thick and thin. Realizing that what's shown in the media about womxn bodies is not what I should live up to. Cellulite, stretch marks, skin blemishes, not having a flat stomach. All these things are natural and what makes our bodies so unique and powerfully our own. I'm loving myself and all the little bits that make me, me."

Model: -Monica Shelton


"This shoot came at a time when I was in the midst of a long stretch of being really hard on myself for how I looked. And since this was my first photo shoot I was terrified that I was going to feel like I didn’t belong, so I did everything I could to make sure I looked as close to what I thought I model needed to look like. Hair, nails, you name it, I did it. But what I realized when I got to the studio is that nobody cared if i had a fresh manicure or waxed eyebrows. Being myself was way more important than anything I did with my appearance. This photo shoot was a huge reminder to me to just chill out and stop comparing myself to others and striving for some unachievable societal standard. I am beautiful."

Model: -Veronica Henderson-Davis


My Teenage years were an uphill battle when it came to wearing clothes especially bathing suits. I constantly felt mixed feelings of embarrassment because the ones I wanted never fit and shame because when I tried them on I felt nothing but fat. Seeing girls I went to High school with wearing cute bikinis looking like they had absolutely no cares in the world and skinny bodies, made me wonder what is so wrong with me that I can't be like that. The journey towards my own personal body acceptance has been a hard journey that I'm truly not completely over with but it has been empowering with my own personal victories such as wearing a dinosaur bikini for a photoshoot or wearing a crop top that shows my stretch marks.

Model: -Alexa Fitzpatrick


New Skin would love to hear from you, what does body acceptance mean to you!!?

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