Real Women of Rochester | Erin Julian

Erin Julian | Age: 39 | Marketing Maven | @erinleighjulian

Q: Tell us about your journey through womanhood.

A: It's a journey, right? It is hard and fun and ongoing. There are days when I think I have it all figured out and then... well, that will teach me to think I have it all figured out. 

In January 2017, I had to have a hysterectomy. It changes how I saw myself as a woman and how I felt. I had a period of time when I felt that I was less than. It was hard to shake, especially when my body felt so different.  

These photos are proof that I am not less than. I am still the same woman. How powerful is that?

Q: What would you say to another woman who may be going through something you've been through?

A: We all experience things so differently. It is hard to imagine how one woman's experience would feel to her, as it did to me. All we can do is support each other and hope for the best.

Q: What surprised you most about your photography experience?

A: It was so easy and exhilarating. In the moment, I was so wrapped up in the little details. It is hard to imagine how it will look when you are positioning your body in a particular way. Then, Natalie shows you the shot on her camera, and you are like, "Oh, that is why I just did that." It is so neat to see it all come together. 

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Q: How do you feel when you look at your favorite photo of yourself from your shoot?

A: I feel glamorous. I sometimes forget it is even me.

Q: What would you share with a woman who doesn't think she is beautiful enough to be photographed?

A: That is bullshit. It just is. We are all beautiful. There is no "maybe when." The time is now. Capture your best self today.

Q: What message would you like to share with other women?

A: We need to support each other and build each other up. It makes all the difference in the world. I have so many strong, fierce, powerful women in my life. I have so much gratitude for all of them. They have helped shape me and continue to do so. What a gift. We just need to do that for each other, everyday.

Q: What are your thoughts on beauty?

A: Beauty starts on the inside and with self-love. It's not easy, it's work; however, it is the best work you can ever do.

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Q: What are your hopes for the next generation of women? What advice would you give to them?

A: I hope that the world we are creating today is a place that offers hope, joy, love, and opportunity. As far as advice goes, I would offer this: always stand up for yourself!

Q: What would you say to your sixteen year old self?

A: It gets better.

Q: What empowering message would you like to share with young women today?

A: Spend less time on doubt and worry; it gets you no where. Spend more time on the things that give you joy.

Q: What's the biggest hurdle you've overcome career-wise as a woman?

A: When you struggle with self-worth, it can make others take you for granted. That was a hard work environment to be in and it wasn't until I was no longer there that I realized that I was doing great work and added value.  

Q: What's the most empowering experience you've had as a woman?

A: The first time Natalie photographed me, I felt more empowered than I ever have. I saw myself that way that many others had and I just never believed it or felt it. It was an incredible day that will stay with me forever. 

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Q: When do you feel the most beautiful?

A: Right after I get out of the shower. It is just me, in the purest form. I love when I get to put on a fancy dress (and that doesn't suck), but I love the simplicity too.

Q: What do you love about being a woman?

A: Everything!

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Healthy Habits Challenge (#nsphealthyhabits)

NATALIE SINISGALLI PHOTOGRAPHY TEAM

NATALIE SINISGALLI PHOTOGRAPHY TEAM

It started as a conversation on a 2-hr drive home from one of our Finger Lakes weddings. Whitney and I were lamenting our fitness / eating habits for the 100th time this month, saying how we keep talking about eating and living healthier, but hadn't actually done it for more than a few days. We decided the only thing that really ever motivates either of us is competition (good call, Whit!), and thus, a healthy habits competition was born.

We decided to reward healthy habits, and also to measure ourselves on our actions not on desired (or unrealistic) outcomes. We decided to open the competition up to all the ladies within our team that wanted to participate, and  I was honestly floored with the response. After sending out an email to our team about this idea, everyone replied almost immediately. "YES." "Thank you. "I was getting ice cream when I got this email, how did you know?". Everyone was in (even Mrs. Kelly Kester - who now has her own photography studio. As our previous studio manager, and current second shooter - she'll always have a place in NSP antics should she choose to!).

We earn points every day by doing such things as consuming our daily water recommendation, logging our food via My Fitness Pal (regardless of what we eat), working out, participating in healthy activities such as going for a walk or playing tennis (you know I get salsa dancing points!), and for eating as "clean" and unprocessed as possible. We've even allowed for two personal points per day, based on metrics we each set for things we wanted to improve in our own lives (from being more consistent about flossing, cooking-in more nights of the week, staying within a calorie guideline and so on). The person with the most points at the end of the challenge (September 20, two months from now) wins at gift card that we all chipped in for! But anyone who participates till the end will really be a winner, right? Cue the sappy music. 

It started 2 days ago, and I've got to say - I've already experienced a huge change in my own life. I feel healthier already - and am SO PROUD of my team for embracing a healthy lifestyle. Even though it's smack dab in the middle of busy season (team, are we insane?!), everyone has been impressing the heck out of me with their commitment and excitement for this challenge. We've got emails going back and forth about avoiding temptations and about all the healthy activities we've been enjoying. Even one about how "hot tea" will make you a "hottie". Perhaps we are all starting to lose it a bit...

So if you see #NSPhealthyhabits, you'll know what it is. And if you see it on pictures of dessert, you'll know it's sarcastic. But in any case - I couldn't be prouder of my team and we'll keep you, our wonderful community posted on our progress! :) Game on!