Hello… if you are reading this, most likely you follow my work and know who I am. I am
in the process of trying to publish my #MeToo project, so if you are a new follower, my name is Jessica Acheson. How about a little bit about myself before I tell you about my #MeToo project? I am 29-years-old, and my Golden birthday is not that far off. Oh my… the big 3 0! I’m excited with where my life is going! My husband, Dustin, and I have been married for almost 9 years and together for 11 years. We have 3 amazingly unique little boys. William is my oldest, 12, and is my son from a previous relationship. Lucas is going to be 7 next month and James will be 4 in December. They are my life and everything I do, I do for them! We Co-Parent with William’s dad, Wes, and bonus mom, McKayla. They have a daughter named Maxdyn, who is 5 months old. I consider
her to be my bonus daughter and get to hang with her throughout the week. We all try to do what is best for William, our families, and each other. McKayla helps me out a lot with shoots or projects. It was her idea that sparked me to push forward with this project. Enough about me, let’s get to the real reason why you’re here!
It all started with a post that I saw on Facebook about the #MeToo Rally happening in Springfield, Mo. I investigated it, because I love Boudoir photography and know what it feels like after you are sexually assaulted. You feel dirty, ugly, and like it was your fault for everything that happened to you. Society doesn’t make it better by not believing survivors that come forward and victim-shaming them to make them feel that they are the reason they were assaulted. It is sad: society feels it is better to shame someone than to give them the support they desperately need in one of the most crucial and desperate times in their lives. I messaged McKayla about it and she said something about doing Boudoir sessions for survivors to feel comfortable in their sexuality again. I had some ideas and knew someone who did a photo project for the #MeToo movement and didn’t want to step into
copyright or any similar ideas. After I messaged McKayla my idea, she had an amazing idea for a shot, and with some tweaking, the project blossomed into Project ShatterProof.
I was nervous that I wasn’t going to get anyone to participate in the project because it takes a lot of strength and courage to step forward to tell your story and bare your soul. I posted a couple of posts about it and had an amazing amount of interest. I gave them a basic outline of what my project was and what it meant to me. I had over 18 girls contact me and knew I would have some that wouldn’t be able to make the shoots or that would get nervous and back out. Which I completely understand. I knew I needed to find a place to shoot my project, a Hair and Makeup Artist (HMUA), and a videographer. I wanted my project to stand out, so having someone film the behind the scenes was important to me. I reached out to Refine Studios in Springfield; Charity Evans is the owner and she graciously agreed to let me use her AirBnb to shoot one half of our project, and the other half was shot in a home they are working on. Jacqueline Meyers with Jacqueline Rae Makeup was one of two HMUA that contacted me back out of reaching out to over a dozen. I am so thankful that she did. Jacqueline was so amazing to work with and she agreed to be apart of my project. Her story was a little different than mine and the other girls, but it was important to include her because Domestic Abuse is dear to my heart as well. There is much trauma and strength that goes into surviving domestic abuse and she was just as important as the rest of the ladies that participated. One of McKayla’s friends knew a videographer and got me in touch with Joey Morgan at Joey Morgan Photography. I knew some of my ladies would be scared away by having a male videographer, however, Joey was so professional and amazing to work with.
I did have several girls not contact me back after I sent them the whole scope of the project or back out at the last minute, which, like I said, was expected. Luckily, due to a
fellow photographer, I was able to have the number of girls participate that I felt was necessary for the project to succeed. I had 16 poses and sayings that I wanted to shoot and with 8 girls, each were able to represent 2 different ones. I decided it was important to do two different days. The first day was the day we did our raw shots. It was going to be the more emotional day and the second day was the fun day where we got to relax in the nice AirBnb and have beautiful shots of us to give us our confidence back. Things don’t always work out the way we want them to, but it still went beautifully.
When everyone arrived the first day, we did very minimal makeup and fixed everyone’s hair, so we were put together. Each girl, including myself, had an individual shot of them
and then another one looking into a mirror. We then did our group shot on the couch, which turned out amazing! Next, we did our group #MeToo shot where we messed up everyone’s hair and makeup. Afterwards, we did everyone’s individual shots with the sayings painted on their bodies. Some girls did clothed shots where others had nude shots, but they were covered. We were supposed to do our voice-overs that day, but it worked out better for everyone’s schedule to do them the next day.
That next day, we staggered everyone’s hair and makeup (HMU) so they weren’t sitting around waiting as long. We got everyone’s individual shots and the second part to their mirror image (shh… that’s a secret)! Some of the girls decided to tell their stories for voice-overs. I sat with one and it was touching that she wanted me there to hold her hand while she told one of the most horrifying and hardest stories of her life; she trusted me to be the one to help her through it. I am so honored to have been that person for her, even though I just met her. I didn’t have anyone sit with me for mine, which probably was a mistake because I almost cried all my makeup off... I thought I had dealt with my trauma and pain, but it was different than
casually telling someone. This was important, and it was my story for my project.
The goal of Project ShatterProof was to bring a group of ladies together that had been broken at some point in their lives and show them that even though we have scars, we are still beautiful and can be confident with who we are. I immediately edited the raw images, as they were the most powerful. I chose to do these in black in white because they are raw and supposed to look like we are broken. The Boudoir images are going to be in color because we are coming out of the ashes and realizing our beauty!
I want to use Kesha’s song Praying for our video and have tweeted her a couple of times. I know it takes a lot to get someone like Kesha’s attention, so my fingers are crossed!
I feel my project is important in two ways. First, these ladies and I have formed a bond like no other! We will always be there for one another and support each other with whatever the others face. We told our stories and worked towards stopping the stigma that surrounds sexual assault and the rape culture. We lifted each other up and empowered everyone to see that they are beautiful even with their scars, no matter how deep. The second thing… other women are starting to come forward to tell their stories because these courageous ladies have told theirs and shared it on their social media. We stand together, united as one. We are powerful and no one better forget that!