Name: Nicole Mondestin
City: Queens, New York
Business Name: Nicole Mondestin Photography
My parents always knew what drawings and colorings were mine at parent teacher conferences because all the people were brown. Cinderella, Snow White, She-Ra — they were all brown. Growing up I was teased about my skin tone and color by kids at school and family members. I let it get to me until one day I decided I was beautiful and wanted to see more people like me. I would take images of characters around me and reimagine what they would look like if they looked like me. One day I was at home and Sex in the City came on, and I said to myself: what if Carrie was a brown girl from Brooklyn? And that's how's this photo came to be.
One of the main reasons why I became a photographer was because I was surrounded by women who would pick themselves apart. And I would look at them and say, you are beautiful let me show you. Just because you don't fit into what society deems as beautiful doesn't mean you aren't. Beauty comes in all colors, shapes, and sizes. My client and makeup artist Danie and the Bloom was hesitant about having her photo taken for the usual reasons most of us don't want to have our photos taken. But she was wiling to step out of her comfort zone and trust me. I encourage all my clients to celebrate their beauty. Appreciate and find the beauty in you now at this very moment at this very stage in your life because you won't be here again. Document it now so you can look back on it and see your growth.
This photo was a collaborative effort! I couldn't have made this image without Danie and the Bloom trusting me and beaming her face to the gawds. And the stylist Jewel's Vintage Closet killed it. We all worked together and it paid off.
The Queen Photographers is a national organization and community for women of color photographers. The mission of the Queen Photographers is to equip each other in business, cultivating savvy business owners, while building a supportive sisterhood. Each local chapter of The Queen Photographers meets monthly for in-person masterminds, photowalks, workshops, and fellowship.