Let me start by saying that I am a photographer, not a writer. My strength is telling stories through the images I take so believe me when I say that trying to decide how and what to write here about these amazing women has been a bit challenging to say the least. You see, they have all been through something I can never fully comprehend. They have all gone to war with cancer and some of them are still right in the middle of their battle. How can I possibly relate or speak about their individual journey and struggles? The truth is that I really can’t, so I decided not to focus on their diagnosis. Mainly because these beautiful women are so much more than cancer. So much more! They are friends, daughters, moms, sisters, mentors…and the list just goes on.
Instead this will be a celebration of the human spirit! It will be a celebration of sisterhood! It will be a celebration of life! In short, we are going to celebrate 10 kick ass warrior women right here, right now!!!
Before we get this party started, I’m going to give you a brief history about the “Memphis Women that Kick Ass” series and how the Warrior Edition came to be. So, those of you that know anything about Ramblin’ Rose Photography know that we straight up LOVE women! We work with lots of women helping them feel more beautiful and empowered and in turn they always do the same for us. About a year and a half ago I started a personal project called “Memphis Women that Kick Ass” which was inspired by all of the incredible women I’m fortunate enough to have in my life. It was my way to celebrate them and tell the world how awesome they are. So, how did the Warrior Edition come about? Well, several months ago I met Teri (you will meet her in a bit) for coffee & tea and she shared her story with me. After meeting Teri, I started thinking about a couple of women that I already knew personally, Sally (you will also meet her soon), an ovarian cancer survivor I had met about a year before, and my husband’s cousin, Dianne Bevelander, who has been battling cancer & fighting like hell for years. And then in the next couple of months that followed I kept seeing posts on facebook about other women whose lives had recently been changed forever when they were told they had cancer. Combine all of this with the fact that the husband of another lady dear to my heart, Kelly Greenway, had recently been diagnosed with brain cancer. Honestly, I just felt a little helpless and started thinking, “I want to do something for these women but what can I possibly do?!” And then this idea popped into my head “hey, I know! With the help of some other kick ass folks, we can make these women feel beautiful and bad ass! We can help them forget about cancer for a few hours!” And so the Warrior Edition of our “Memphis Women that Kick Ass” series was born. And I use the word born because this was the first edition but it will not be the last. It is a new tradition that Ramblin’ Rose Photography will be practicing at least once a year moving forward:)
Oh, and did I mention that the Memphis Kick Ass Glam Squad was in the house giving all of our ladies the full glam treatment before their photo shoot? YASSSSS!
Alright, let’s pop the cork, crank up the music, and party because as I mentioned earlier, we’re celebrating! And no party is complete without a toast or two or three so here we go……..
Cheers to these amazing women and the strength & beauty of their fighting spirits! At some point in their lives they were all given some of the scariest news a person can receive and they had to put on their gloves, climb into the ring, and go several rounds with cancer and some of them are still fighting for their lives at this very moment. Every scan & every mammogram for the rest of their lives will be a little scary until they get the all clear and then…….just breathe.
Cheers to these amazing women and the power of sisterhood! Some of these women met for the very first time on the day of this shoot and within a few minutes it was like they had been friends their whole lives. The support and kindness they immediately showed each other was so inspiring. If you have to go through something as fu%&ed up and scary as cancer, these are kind of women I would want in my corner. Wait, I just want them in my corner, period!
And now, let me introduce to you our 2016 Warriors. Drum roll please…………..
Tina Myers – breast cancer survivor and kick ass warrior
Lauren Wiener – kick ass warrior currently battling breast cancer
Kathy Petroski – kick ass warrior currently battling lung cancer
Gina Hollenbeck – kick ass warrior currently battling lung & brain cancer
Meleia Knight – kick ass warrior currently battling breast cancer
And who’s that hot red headed number in the photos with her? Well, that’s Leona, Meleia’s mom. She has been a constant support for Meleia and so she’s an honorary warrior in our book! There is no love like the love of a mom!!!
Charity Helvie – breast cancer survivor and kick ass warrior
Sally Archibald – ovarian cancer survivor and kick ass warrior
Kim Culbreath – breast cancer survivor and kick ass warrior
Teri Trotter – kick ass warrior currently battling breast cancer
And now it’s time to get a little sexy! What?! This should not surprise anyone that knows me. Of course I asked them to bring a little black dress to the shoot and then had them rock it like a hurricane! Seriously people, these women are gorgeous and we simply couldn’t resist!!!
See, what did I tell you?! They are stone cold foxes!!!
And just like the drunk uncle at the wedding, I want to propose one more toast. For this I say “Cheers to all of these beautiful women and the beautiful & sometimes messy thing called LIFE!” It’s a precious commodity and these women know better than anyone just how precious it is. A few days after this shoot I sat down for coffee with Kim Culbreath and she said something during our conversation that was simple but so profound. She said “My experience with cancer has made every moment just a little sweeter.” And you know what? I totally get that because just spending a few hours with these women made me stop and take inventory of all the beautiful things in my own life and hold them just a bit tighter.
Every moment is just a little sweeter!
Warriors, it was such an honor to meet all of you! You are all incredible women with so much strength, grace & beauty and to say that you inspire us would be, well, just a huge understatement.
We stand with you ladies! Always!!!
And now, I have some thank YOUs to hand out. I mean, you guys didn’t think I pulled this off on my own did you?! Seriously, it just would not have been possible without the help of a lot of folks because as I always say “It takes a village.”
Thank you big time to the “Memphis Kick Ass Glam Squad!”
Make up artists: Matt Gossett, Seven Moore, Kendrick Simpson, Kasey Acuff, Nikki Chanel & Emily Epperson
Hair Stylists: Lucy Belote, Ashley Troughton, April Dugard, Niki Sulcer & Candice Riels
A big sappy thank you to the ladies of Propcellar, Karlee Hickman & Nick Cunningham, who opened their doors to us so we could have the coolest spot in town for this shoot!
And a yummy thank you to Tricia Woodman at Simply Delicious Catering who provided some super yummy treats for everyone to snack on.
And last but never least, thank you to my bestie & right hand Lesley Gilmer for always showing up, being my support, and refilling lots of champagne glasses for these thirsty ladies!
My cup runneth over!
Kim Miller, owner of Ramblin’ Rose Photography, is a Memphis portrait photographer specializing in Memphis boudoir photography, Memphis Kick Ass headshots, Memphis fitness photography, Memphis family photography, and Memphis newborn photography. Simply put, she LOVES photographing people! Ramblin’ Rose Photography is also available for travel to just about anywhere in this great big world!