Bare Beauty Session: Katia



This is Katia. She was my first official Bare Beauty session. She met me at our house in Old Québec on a saturday morning in July and we walked up our street a ways until we found this perfect little ally between some neighbors homes where the light was soft and inviting, and we stayed there for the next hour just talking and clicking away.

She told me about when she struggled with some major insecurities as a teen/young adult, and how she found the strength within not only herself to move on from it, but from the people she chose to surround herself with.

Here are some excerpts from my interview with her.


BB: Ça fait combien de temps que tu travailles dans le monde de la mode?

How long have you been working in the fashion world?


K: Ça fait, depuis 2000. Je ne suis pas une artiste, mais j’aime le monde et la mode, alors, le commerce, ça a fait du sens.

Since 2000. I’m not an artist, but I love people and fashion, so commerce just made sense.


BB: Est-ce que tu portes du maquillage régulièrement?

Do you regularly wear makeup?


K:Non, peut-être plus quand j’étais plus jeune, comme pour faire Madonna ou Cyndi Lauper..

No. Maybe a little more when I was younger, but more for the Madonna, or Cyndi Lauper looks..


BB: Alors, plus comme pour un ‘statement’, pas tous les jours. Est-ce qu’il y’a quelque chose d’autre avec quoi tu t’es caché? La mode? Les vêtements?

So, more as a statement, not for every day. Was there something else though, that you hid behind? Fashion? Clothing?


K: Oui, exact. J’avais l’extravagance plus dans les vêtements que le maquillage. Même aujourd’hui, quand je sors, quand je rentre à quelque part, j’ai besoin de l’attention. Quand je rentre, il faut que ça fasse, BOOM! Même à New York, dernièrement, ça me fait tellement du bien, j’avais comme un gros chapeau, et je me promenais, crime, tout le monde disait, ‘eh, ton chapeau et vraiment hot.’ Et en plus, c’est à New York… Alors, oui, c’est ça, ma valorization. je l’ai trouvé vraiment dans les vêtements.

Yes, exactly. I was more extravagant in my clothing than makeup. Even now, when I go out, when I walk into a room, I need attention. When I walk in, it’s got to be like, BOOM! I was actually in New York City recently, and it made me so happy, I was wearing this huge hat, and my god, people kept stopping me on the streets telling me how cool my hat was. And that was in New York.. So, yeah, my validation, I found it more in clothing.


BB: Est-ce qu’il y’avait déjà eu un temps ou t’était comme pas alaise dans ta peau?

Was there ever a time where you really didn’t feel comfortable in your own skin?


K: Pour moi, dans le fond, c’est pas dans le maquillage que je me suis cacher .. On dirait, je me crème pas.. je ne mets pas de la crème. Check là, mes sourcils, ne sont même pas fait! On dirait que je suis une fille qui fait attention de qu’est-ce qu’elle mange, qui s’entraîne beaucoup. C’est que moi, j’avais les gros problèmes de comportements alimentaire, et ça durée des années.. même j’ai arrêté d’être menstruée pendant quatre ans. C’était un dur bout.. (de sortir de ça).

“For me, it wasn’t with makeup that I hid.. I mean, I don’t even use cream on my face at night. Check it, my eyebrows aren’t even done! I’m more of a girl who watches what she eats and pays attention to the things I put in my body. I work out a lot. No, for me, I had a very serious eating disorder, and it lasted for years. I didn’t eat. I mean, I actually went four years without my period. And it was really hard to get out of that.


BB: Comment est-ce que tu as sorti de ça? Comme, si t’avais un conseil à donner à une jeune fille, ou femme, ou n’importe qui, pour mieux s’aimer eux-mêmes, ça serait quoi?

How did you get out of that? Like, if you could give one piece of advice to a young girl, or a woman, or ANYONE on how to love yourself better, what would it be?


K: Moi, qu’est-ce que je trouve, c’est qu’il y’a l’entourage aussi.. Les amis, la famille. Et souvent c’est en rapport avec l’extérieur que tu te sens pas bien. Fait que, oui, il y’a un travail sur toi à faire, pour avoir la liberation. Voir, je suis très forte.. je suis capable de prendre beaucoup, mais j’ai une grande faiblesse aussi.. parce que je me suis laissé battre, je me suis laissé manipuler.. Et c’est sur que ça m’a vraiment battu. Mais je pense que c’est aussi le travail à l’intérieur que d’éliminer les gens qui sont un peu… les vampires. Si tu te sens pas bien en compagnie de quelqu’un, c’est pas juste toi.. il faut que tu t’écoutes.

Me, what I have found, it’s that there’s the entourage as well.. friends, family. And often, it’s because of what’s outside of you that you don’t feel well. I mean, yes, there is work to do on yourself, to have that (emotional) freedom. Look, I’m very strong. I am able to take on a lot, but I also have a huge weakness.. because I allowed myself to be abused, to be manipulated.. and of course that really damaged me. But, I think that its just as much the work on the inside as it is to eliminate the people (in your life) who are a little… like vampires. If you don’t feel good in the company of a person, it’s not just you. You have to listen to yourself.



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In 2004, Katia began her own Agency, Agence KA, that specializes in the representation of Canadian fashion designers who create and manufacture exclusively in Canada. She Currently represents ten designers, among them are Eve Gravel, Bodybag by Jude, and Annie 50. She travels across Canada for her work, and is in the process of expanding some of her designers’ brands into the US. She is originally from Québec City, but currently resides in Montréal, Quebec.


the bearing of bare beauty.



About a year ago, I had asked my friend if she would model for a boudoir photo session for me. (You can see it here). She showed up to my house in the late afternoon, after work. Upon arriving, she immediately gave me fair warning that she had been up late the night before, up early to get her daughter to school, and was pretty sure she was coming down with a cold. She had applied her makeup at 6:30 in the morning, and it was starting to wear off. She apologized for it.. and my response was, ‘perfect!’ That’s real, and that’s what kind of photography I want to make: real life, imperfect, tired, messy, beautiful photos of people. That’s sexy! That’s real beauty.

I have been a hairstylist and makeup artist for over 12 years. I have met many women, and men, who are just not comfortable in their skin and who feel the need to apologize for who they are or what they look like. I have battled some of my own body-image issues in the past. I have judged others, as well as myself. I don’t want this for my children.

After doing this session with my friend, I remember thinking, I want to do a lot of these. I want us as women to see ourselves differently than we do. I want to help redefine the definition of beautiful. I want my daughters to grow up seeing a beautiful woman as more than nice makeup, perfect hair, pretty clothes. I want them to see the young student who doesn’t let the influence of her peers define her appearance as beautiful. I want them to see the twenty-somethings bravely and honestly pursuing their dreams as beautiful. I want them to see the young mothers who’s hair is a mess and and who’s breasts are extra large from breastfeeding, who’s stomach is now covered in stretch marks, and who may or may not be walking around with food on her clothes and in her hair as beautiful. I want them to see the working woman with the circles under her eyes because she isn’t able to sleep since she has been going through a divorce as beautiful. I want them to see wrinkles as signs of living and fighting and loving and beauty. I want judgment between people, but most specifically women, to stop. I want  to live in a world where we can recognize these flaws in one another and embrace them. I want us all to be able to embrace our own flaws, and stop feeling like we need to cover them with lies, or plastic surgeries, or judgments, or makeup even.

This project is not about me. It’s not to tell my story. It’s about every single woman who is struggling to find herself, or who has already and is working hard every day to stay true and honest and loving and accepting and who want to help others find that in themselves as well. This project is to help us as a people redefine what we have been told is beautiful. I am continuing to photograph women who are brave enough to bare themselves before the camera, without makeup. Without staged and controlled lighting. Without photoshopping wrinkles or dark circles. Along with these images, I will share these women’s stories. And I hope that through these sessions, we will all start to see each other differently. That we will start to see beauty differently. That we will start to love ourselves more, and in loving ourselves, we will love each other more as well. Call me a dreamer, tell me my head is in the clouds, I don’t mind. I have to say that the view from up there is a whole lot more beautiful anyway.


If you want to become a part of this project, email me at