For the month of February, I’ve been sharing with you some badass women who are currently rocking my world when it comes to intuitive eating and body acceptance. To close out this series, today I profile Allie Monday! If you missed the others, you can catch up here and here and here.
Allie Monday is a photographer and the owner of Ladygroove, a woman-centered boudoir photography business in Greenville, South Carolina.
Before I got married, when I was working on changing my mindset (instead of my waistline) for the wedding, I stumbled across @ladygroove on Instagram and was immediately enamored.
Even though the thought of seeing pictures of myself gave me anxiety, Allie’s photos sparked a voice inside me: “Someday, you’re going to do this.”
Jump ahead 6 months, and I was on the phone with Allie booking my Ladygroove experience for this March. My photoshoot isn’t until the end of the month, so this article isn’t based on my time in her studio, but rather my experience from following and appreciating her art and her message.
Here are my top 5 reasons why I love Allie:
#5 She’s an artist with something to say
I find it so refreshing that Ladygroove isn’t about taking pretty pictures, it’s about empowering women to own their sexuality, celebrate their bodies, and heal from past traumas. Some of her images are a visual “fuck you” to ingrained, societal messages that women have held and been hurt by, especially around food, body image, and femininity. How powerful is that?!
#4 She’s open and relatable
On her website, Allie shares her personal experience and how that has played into her business: “Ladygroove came out of a 12-year eating disorder, some powerful and hard as hell healing through PTSD, and a sexual liberation where I finally realized that our sexuality is first and foremost for ourselves and then for a partner if we choose to share that.”
When we spoke, she encourage me to share about my journey as well. Because of her openness and bravery, as soon as I started speaking, I began to cry to this woman I’d never met. Shared vulnerability splits us open in the best way.
#3 She makes her own rules
The mere fact that Allie has created a thriving boudoir business in the South shows that she’s her own woman. Even more so is how she runs that business. The goal of boudoir photography is often to make an image that will be sexy and appealing to one’s partner. Not with Allie.
She is strongly woman-centered, meaning that her aim isn’t your partner’s pleasure or approval, it’s yours. Ladygroove isn’t about being sexy for someone else, it’s about loving and liberating yourself.
#2 She goes deeper than appearance
Watch the video on Allie’s website, and it’s clear that Ladygroove isn’t just about the pictures, it’s about the experience. Yes, there will be awesome pictures, but the process of showing up for yourself, letting yourself be seen, letting yourself know you’re worthy to be art—that empowerment is the real result.
#1 She celebrates the human body
Have you noticed this has been my #1 reason for all of the women I profiled this month? Celebration of the human body is so profoundly important. We get messages that our body is wrong day in and day out. Reversing that damage takes some heavy-lifting, and I’m so thankful that there are women like Allie (and the others mentioned this month) who are doing the work to help us see our beauty and our magic.
I’ll leave you with some of Allie’s striking, body-celebrating images and hope they inspire you to see yourself as art. (The first one is one of my favorites: Bold-lip, pale-skin, messy-bun ecstacy!)
(portrait by Levi Monday, all other photography by Allie Monday)