Category Archives: Children’s Portraiture
Lily Danced: Beauty Revived 50 Most Beautiful Children
This is Lily.
She is confident, strong in her faith, and has inner beauty that matches her outer beauty. She has a smile that is contagious and can light up any room. Lily is happy, and bubbly, and has the BEST laugh that makes you just laugh along with her. I have no doubt that this sweet girl is going to do great things in the future. I pray her story will be a blessing to anyone who reads it, as she and her mom have become such a blessing to me.
I would like to extend a HUGE thank you to Rebekah of Edges Hair Studio in Vacaville who donated hair and makeup services to give Lily some extra pampering for this experience. Lily had never had her hair or makeup professionally done, so this was a real treat! You can see how much fun she had below.
Also, I want to thank her dance instructor, Hope Nemie of the Bigelow School of Dance, for opening up her studio for some portraits there.
Lastly, thank you to Soul Food Farm who allowed us access to their beautiful property to finish off Lily’s beautiful session.
Thank you Rebekah – you did an AMAZING job on her hair and makeup! I hope to work with you again in the near future!
From Lily’s mom:
Lily is a loving, beautiful, energetic, compassionate, funny, talented, intelligent, loyal, sensitive, creative, sincere, artistic, and passionate 14 year old young woman. She also happens to live with a mental illness. Lily was born into foster care, but from birth was placed in a loving family that eventually adopted her. From infancy it became clear that Lily suffered from Trichotillomania and she spent most of the first 10 years of her life nearly bald. As a baby and a young toddler she was not aware of the fact that she may have looked different from others, but the older she got the more aware she became of the fact that she didn’t have much hair and all of her peers did. She was always the only one that could not pull her hair back. People stared and asked questions. It was challenging to gauge what was really going on with her. Lily discovered dance as a very small girl and immediately fell in love. It was such an important outlet for her. She could not wait for class each week and lived for her recitals. However, every year, year after year, Lily was the only ballerina without a bun. Lily kept dancing though.
“From tiny acorns – mighty oak trees grow…” ~ unknown.
Lily’s childhood continued to have ups and downs with various behaviors and concerns. She often felt different and excluded. She was always aware of the fact that she struggled more than her peers to navigate friendships and day to day occurrences. Feeling “different” but not knowing or understanding why is not easy for anyone and certainly not easy for a child. But, Lily kept dancing.
At the end of 2015 something shifted with Lily. Initially it was something that she could not quite identify and neither could her family. She was more disconnected than ever before and began isolating herself from her family and friends. Even though her family was engaged and doing everything they could, they really were not fully aware of how much Lily was struggling just to function. In the spring of 2016 Lily’s parents became aware of the fact that she had attempted to take her own life. After a medical intervention Lily began to attempt to pick up the pieces and move forward, all the while…. she danced.
The attempts to move forward were not going as planned and Lily seemed stuck in a vicious cycle of extreme highs and lows. Although she had the full support of her family, she was often misunderstood by her peers. Most of them did their best to be patient with her and compassionate, but she became a target for others and was bullied and emotionally broken down. The social butterfly that everyone knew simply faded away into a frail and fragile girl who did not care to function or socialize at all. But, the one thing she would do is attend her dance rehearsals. Even if she had been in bed for days, she would get up and go to dance class, then come home and put herself right back to bed.
Then came the second attempt. On Easter Sunday night. Followed by hysterics, being rushed to the Emergency Room, being admitted to the hospital with guards posted outside of her door around the clock, and being transferred to a mental health facility. Eventually Lily was able to return home, though still fragile. She spent weeks in bed and trying to patiently wait for her doctors to find the right balance of medications to help her. She spent months trying to accept her new diagnosis and learn how to best function on a daily basis. Some days were good, but most days were not. And Lily still danced.
Today, she is engaged in life again. Hanging out with friends, taking vacations with family, sitting at the table for dinner time, even sometimes laughing. She was honored to be offered an invitation as a “student coach” through a community outreach program called “Girls on the Run.” She is enjoying being able to invest in the lives of elementary school girls in the realm of inner and outward health… body, mind, and spirit. It is a day by day process. Sometimes hour by hour. But, Lily is getting stronger each day; and simultaneously learning that she still has much to offer even though she has struggles and battles of her own. And she is still dancing.
Lily’s goal is to be a light and an example that other adolescents can look to for encouragement and support. She wants others to understand that life is worth living and you can accomplish your goals, even with a diagnosis that you never wanted.
Being chosen to represent “Beauty Revived” as one of the 50 Most Beautiful Children could not have happened at a more perfect time for Lily. This opportunity has given her a platform for her story to be told on a global level. It is Lily’s hope and prayer that her story will encourage and inspire even one person. Her photoshoot with Jana of Jana Melinda Photography was medicine to Lily’s soul. For Jana to capture Lily’s inner and outer beauty combined with her love of dance was a magical experience. ~ Michelle
Michelle thank you for allowing me the opportunity to not only photograph your beautiful daughter, but to learn her story and to be able to share it with others in hopes that they would be equally as blessed as I have throughout this whole experience. Lily – you are not only beautiful on the outside, but you are SO very beautiful on the inside. Your family and friends are lucky to have such a sweet, gifted young lady in their lives. Keep shining like the light of Jesus, spreading your joy, hope and love. I am happy to have some new friends in you both. Much Love, Jana
ps. Keep on dancing….
Hey friends! As you may have seen, I have been chosen as one of the 50 photographers in the nation who will be donating photography services to a beautiful child (ages 2-16). To learn more about this campaign, please take 3 minutes to watch this video! This is Michelle who is an incredibly awesome photographer and woman who started this amazing campaign: What is Beauty Revived 50 Most Beautiful Children
We are looking for 50 Beautiful Children who are examples of real beauty! We need nominations for children who show attributes of real beauty. We are looking for children who have overcome obstacles, or who helps others despite the trials they have been through or who consistently volunteers and helps their community and whose spirit radiates and shines so brightly others can’t help but to want to be around them.
50 photographers from around the world are donating sessions to these children. Their sessions will be featured in the summer issue of Beauty Revived magazine
Two Year Birthday Session