Meet Lana! Yet another incredible woman who decided to take part in my "LIFE begins at 40!" campaign.
Lana didn't have to think twice before she signed up, as she is a living proof that it's never too late to try something new and to follow your dreams. Lana tried many new things just before and as soon as she turned 40; she discovered new interesting hobbies, opened her own YouTube channel about backcountry camping and traveling, called "Moose in Canoe", changed her look and even went back to school at 40, for a potential career change.
Below is Lana's story in her own words...
"I have been connected to the art of photography since childhood. I grew up in a household of two professional photographers and was always a model for them in the early days. My parents had a studio and a photo darkroom in our flat and made a living working with film while shooting weddings, exhibitions, events, and famous people, as well as making portrait photography. I remember being fascinated with the whole process as a little girl and often observed everything happening in the darkroom, when the images appeared on photo paper, it all looked so magical!
Later in life, it was in my cards to move to Canada while I was in my teens. This whole immigration experience had a profound effect on me and started to shape me into the woman I became later in life. Going through any type of struggle makes you stronger. I was also experiencing culture shock, bullying, homesickness, and loneliness, but in order to survive in the new environment - I had no choice but to become stronger and more resilient.
I felt an incredible amount of pressure and competition, and my tough skin allowed me to stand for myself, fight for my rights, protect my interests and successfully accomplish my goals! Looking back at myself in my mid-teens I would hardly recognize a shy girl, a "grey mouse" without a voice, trying too hard to please those who were close to me. Later in life, the new personality trait that I developed while going through life challenges, allowed me to start a long career in corporate B2B sales, which brought a lot of accomplishments and was very rewarding
My main looks for this photoshoot were inspired by two strong and beautiful women in my life - my Grandmothers, who were both motivational figures in my life, growing up. My 50's dress look is dedicated to the memory of my maternal grandmother, Olympiada, who I remember as always having beautiful blond curly hair, a red lipstick, and who always wore dresses and high heels everywhere she went. She also loved pearls. I used to visit her and my Grandpa at their apartment many times in childhood and I still remember the sound of her footsteps with her heels on the pavement outside the apartment building or in the long hallway leading to the door, when she came home. I look at these photographs in my red polka-dot dress now and imagine her, as a young woman, all dressed up to go to a dance ... This is how I imagined her and when I saw my photograph, in my mind, through this image, she came to life. I will definitely keep this image as a significant and powerful memory.
The portrait look in a grey dress and a hat was inspired by my Ukrainian paternal grandmother, who will be turning 85 this May. Grandma Angelina taught me how to cook the most delicious Ukrainian borsh and she also taught me everything I know about beauty and makeup, beauty routines, and taking care of myself. She is the most organized person I know who still has impeccable cleanliness in her apartment. Angelina always loved luxurious things. My Grandpa loved her to death and would always shower her in fancy clothes, and would buy her handmade jewelry, perfume, and other beauty items -- anything her heart desired! I liked visiting her place, getting my little naughty fingers into her lipsticks and make-up, for which was later scolded. For this look, I am wearing my Grandmother's golden watch as well as her earrings and a ring. I hope to be able to show her these portraits and send them to her as a gift for her birthday."
As per tradition I asked Lana to answer some questions...
What would you advise your 20-year-old-self?
"Never be afraid to try something new! Even if it looks scary or seems too hard. Look for your own voice, even if people around you criticize you, don't support you, or look down on you! Find your voice and life will become more meaningful"
What is your favourite beauty secret?
"Eat well, and sleep well"
What do you love about being your age?
"The fact that I can look back at my experiences and realize how much they shaped and formed me and turned me into who I am right now! Also, I know now that people can change and I am a manifestation of this due to my own lived experiences"
Do you have any big plans or goals?
"Life is spontaneous. I try not to plan for the long-term, as life is unpredictable and has a tendency to throw surprises when they are least expected. I like to live in the moment."
What do you consider your biggest accomplishment?
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A portrait photographer, based in K-W. Beauty, Branding, Boudoir and beyond.