Embrace YOU

Embrace You Project
Know, Accept, and Embrace Yourself

More about the project:

It is dedicated to help women accept, and embrace who they are. The journey of this project began at the end of 2010 as I started thinking of ways to encourage many women to further than just “accepting” their situation, embrace it. Knowing and accepting any life situation is vital, but embracing it, embracing YOU is a further step in this process to help you be fully proud of who you are no matter what. Embracing what something is or who you are helps you be confident, bring it from the inside out, and project it! That’s what I wanted to share across through this project, so born was: The Embrace YOU Project!

The Embrace YOU Project Video documents:
The Embracer’s photo shoot, some “behind the scenes” footage, some of the final powerful photographic images, and a short and sweet but encouraging interview with the women sharing their journey in knowing, accepting and embracing who they are, including their struggles and advice for women in general.

More project information:
I put together a team of very talented individuals and amazing people I highly respect to coordinate a photo shoot session, and this is where the journey begins for the 3 “Embracers:” Angelica Galang, Stephanie Sablan, and Tamara Mena, all of us at different points in our journeys after a life-changing experience, a spinal cord injury (SCI), and all with different levels of SCIs; Therefore, they are all different scenarios. The goal was for the three of us to explore in front of the camera incorporating our wheelchairs, which was vital to this shoot particularly being the first photo-shoot for a couple of the women. It was very important for all of us to have fun in this shoot for the experience itself and because this would have an impact on the end-result.

Why was a photo-shoot session a part of the project?
Photo shoot sessions are powerful for many people in all circumstances, as sometimes the image people have of themselves in their minds, doesn’t really match what in actuality exists and is why photos are a good reminder of the beauty in everyone.
-Knowing this and knowing what photo-shoots have done for me, I hoped it would do the same for the women directly involved and then show it with everyone else!

More about how photo-shoots have helped me:
Photo-shoot sessions have been vital in my recovery after a SCI. I did my first post- injury photo- a few months after I suffered my SCI. My first photo-shoot was awkward because I was so used to being able to be told to do something, use my whole body, execute it, and feel “free” with my entire body. I no longer could do that obviously, so it was frustrating and a reminder that I did not have use of many things any longer. However, at the end of the day after that very first photo-shoot, I just thought, “we did it” with the encouragement and help of my dear friend, Mitch Macias. I thought “not only we did it now that I’m paralyzed but it was fun.”
*The turning point was when I got to see the photos from that first photo shoot. I was impressed I could still do so much, particularly speaking of modeling, after pretty much only having use from my arms and above, and still the photos looked great. My experience with photo-shoots only got better and allowed me to know my body more, be more creative, do more, which was empowering. All of this and seeing the images as a result, was a huge part in my journey to gaining my confidence back after becoming paralyzed, without a doubt, and it got me back to doing again something I loved and was passionate about.

Vision for the Project: I hoped the images created, by outstanding photographer Gabriela Hasbun, would help all women directly involved in this project by reassuring them of their beauty (including the wheelchair) and endless potential. Beyond hopefully helping these women more directly involved in the project, I created the Embrace You Project with the main hope to impact the rest of the world through the creation of positive and captivating images and footage. However, the ultimate goal is to inspire and encourage other women to beyond accept, embrace everything about themselves and, regardless of any life circumstance.

Result of the Embrace YOU Project: The women involved, were all helped and impacted differently by the Embrace YOU project; but most of all, we were all empowered through this journey! Most importantly, through this empowerment, we wanted to uplift everyone, all women, including women in wheelchairs through the interviews that would be in the video. The positive images in this footage, the women’s personal stories, experiences, and advice to all women, at the end of the day are to empower others to embrace life. It is about knowing and accepting yourself; be proud of who you are no matter what, and as I like to say, “own it!” EMBRACE it ALL!

Film by Nick Lopez. zepolocityfilms@gmail.com Producer: Tamara Mena. Photographer: Gabriela Hasbun (www.gabrielahasbun.com). Hairstylist and Makeup Artist: Gabriela Chavez. Stylist: Abilen Mora. Embracers: Angelica Galang and Stephanie Sablan.

Special THANKS to the Team who brought The Embrace YOU Project come to life!

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