The Nani Pani Photo Shoot: Getting in the Picture
September 20, 2018
Over the summer, my friend, Morgan Pansing, introduced me to a line of clothing called Nani Pani. She had on their Savi wrap dress and I got a little obsessed. I quickly went online and ordered a few things. When they arrived, I tried them on and fell in love. I was excited to find a line of clothing that checks all the boxes: pretty designs, good cuts, reasonable prices, and responsible business practices.
Naturally, I decided I wanted to do a post and the next logical step was to get some pictures showing off the clothes. Immediately, I thought of Morgan. On top of being insanely talented, I feel comfortable with her. She’s been shooting my family for years. We made a plan to go to Malibu Creek. As the day got closer, I started to chicken out. The idea of standing in front of a camera “modeling” clothes seemed humiliating.
Last summer, I was in the best shape of my life. Inspired by turning forty, I was eating immaculately and exercising daily. I dropped fifteen pounds. Then, over the past year, I lost my motivation and gained it all back… plus five pounds. To make matters worse, I’m not that crazy about my hair lately. When I let it dry naturally, it looks frizzy to me. When I blow dry it straight, it looks rigid and lacks dimension. Finally, I’m way overdue for a make-up tutorial.
Instead of modeling the clothes myself, I decided to ask my friend, Carmen. It’s always so easy to see the beauty in others, isn’t it? She’s super skinny, with big eyes and glowing skin. Her confidence and Spanish heritage are the perfect “vibe” for the clothes. Thankfully, with a little coercion, she agreed to do me the favor. A weight was lifted.
Still, both she and Morgan would not let me off the hook! They insisted that I put on the clothes, too, and get in at least a few of the pictures. They both argued that it was important for social media purposes, which was what finally convinced me. It seemed pointless to do all this work for my blog, then fail to maximize the benefit. That’s just not smart. And why wasn’t I getting in the picture? Because I was being too hard on myself. And aren’t I always encouraging my friends to love themselves despite the weight they want to lose and the style they wish they had? Yes. Isn’t that what I wish all women would do? Of course. All of a sudden, I realized I needed to walk the walk.
All morning, my interior mantra was “nobody expects perfection.” I focused on the conversation around me instead of how I looked. Every time I’d look at the camera, my mouth felt shaky and I wanted to shrink away. I developed a weird eye twitch. Still, I held my chin up and did it!
Am I happy I modeled the clothes?
Yes. I love the pictures. Morgan did an incredible job. The clothes are so pretty. My hair doesn’t look that bad. I don’t look skinny, but I don’t look that fat, either. I look healthy. I’m glad I gave myself a break and walked the walk. Who knows, maybe years from now, when I’m old and gray, I’ll think I actually look pretty? Maybe then, with some perspective, I’ll thank myself for the memory.
Have you ever gotten in front of the camera when you didn’t want to and been glad you did afterward? I find that I’m often easier on my appearance in a picture after some time has gone by. Do you have that experience, too?
Laura Pham Lewis and Eva Zasloff are the women behind Nani Pani. Nani Pani is a nickname they had for each other during their travels in India. While there, they discovered Indian wood block printing. This ancient art form is a process where skilled artisans carve a print into a piece of wood based on a drawing. From there, the print is hand stamped onto cotton that has been softened and prepared. It takes skill to keep the print even and free of overlap. A new block is used for each color used in the design. Finally, the material is boiled and dried in the sun. Sadly, it’s an art form that is struggling to stay viable because of the skill and time involved. Zasloff and Lewis were inspired to try and preserve it. They want to support the artisans and their communities while creating something beautiful in the process.