The Gold Coat

Take Two


One of the things that has always served me well in times like these, re-framing my thinking. I was too focused on my feelings. I had to think about this shoot, like most shoots, from the perspective of the story I was telling for and about my customer.

As soon as I pulled my head around the concept of serving my customer, I calmed down. My options started to make complete sense. I was doing this whole shoot totally wrong.

The story I was trying to tell was of a mother who was working at a job that didn’t pay enough. She was doing a lot of overtime to get enough to meet the needs of her family. The selling point was that she had no desire to stay in her station of life. She was motivated to raise up and adapt to provide better.

Her full time school schedule demanded a ton of focus from her. I was in the presence of a super mom. I had to tell the story of an amazing woman who managed to raise her family, support her relatives, and balance work with school… all while keeping a very positive disposition and a smile going at all times.

That’s when clarity hit. I had to paint the story of how this woman transitioned from one part of her life to the next while keeping her smile.

The only way to do that was to feature the coat as her cape. Her motivation. Her reminder to be awesome. Her protection not just from the elements, but distracting catcalls. She was a trooper. She is a trooper. Will always be.

With this vision, I moved the photo session to the front of the house and worked on documenting her ritual when she arrived home. For artistic effect, we made it seem like her arrival home always had that television commercial styled grand exit from her car.

Dramatizing her stopping to check her tires to make sure they were OK, I had to position myself to make her look as natural as possible.

Then the sun peaked out more brightly than usual, nearly ruining the moment. In true form, my friend laughed and suggested we play the sun into the shoot. Sun kissed. Vitamin D moment. Don’t recall the exact phrasing. But now the session got even more playful.

I saw a side of my colleague I wouldn’t have seen at work. I definitely would have never seen it if I had stayed inside my head with nerves. The coat shown. It had that beautiful gold aura. The sun danced about happily as my friend found her zen pose.

The closing sequence of photos captured her walking towards the entrance of her place with the coat playfully swaying as it caught a bit of wind.


In that moment, I understood how my friend managed to juggle all the things she does. She valued every single moment of down time she had. It was sacred. It was life affirming. It was validation of why she was working so hard.

The coat may not have been the most expensive coat of it’s time, but it sure looked it. To the outside world, my friend had it all perfectly together. She was cruising at work. She was living it large with her friends.


Reality was different. She was juggling as if her life depended on it. Because, in reality, a brighter golden era was on the line. If she didn’t push, she wouldn’t have better for her family. She was not satisfied with the appearance of success, she wanted to model success and experience success.

It was a bit like what I was trying to do with my photography. I was pushing to get to a place that was out of reach if I didn’t try hard. I wanted to elevate my game. She was elevating her game.

The last photo with the gold coat caught her in a moment of introspection. Once the shoot was done, she’d be in her full mommy mode. After that, she’d be in full student mode. Sleep, what sleep? Then, back to work again.

I could see a brief slumping of the shoulders as the weight of life attempted to steal her joyous moment of relaxation in a photo shoot. However. Her eyes were fixed, confident, determined, motivated. She was creating the future and it looked darn good.

Present times

My friend has not stopped working on herself. She’s not stopped pressing forward. Her journey continues to amaze. She’s got bigger dreams today than she’s ever had before. She’s transformed herself yet again.

After reaching her academic goals, she accelerated her push to give her family access to more than she’s known. She’s had to rebuild her house when devastating flames ripped her material dreams to pieces. She’s molded her body to extract ever more energy from it and is now empowering others to find their fitness through yoga.

I have no idea where her future will take her. I do know she’s in the early planning stages of opening up her own establishment with whispers of franchising (can’t say more than that). She’s driven. But she’s also not one to forget what is important in life, her family.

I’m writing this post to help her remember how much she impressed me and motivated me to press forward when times suggested I should retreat.

As I continue to push outside my comfort zone, whenever I get too nervous to ask someone to model for me, I recall our chat and her words of advise. Her feedback really boosted my confidence. It was said in love, full of truth, in a very caring way that made me want to improve overnight.

What started out as a blog post about a gold coat turned out to be a reflection of someone living their gold standard and leaving a golden touch to everything they try. She is not hearing “no”. She’s not hearing “You can’t”. She’s too busy doing.

Just like the fellas who were rightfully intimidated by her, many other people have found empowerment through knowing who she is and understanding why she does not rest on her dreams. As driven as she is, she’s also the first person I met in my early adulthood who did not work so recklessly hard to destroy their body. She took care of herself. She made time for herself.

Without a healthy mind and body, dreams do not have the proper vehicle to reach completion. Self-care has always been important to her. Today, I’m getting the message. I’m taking care of myself better.

(more below the image)


In the linked image below will be the gallery of the photos that made the cut. Shared with her permission, I will be calling her Lady G to do a double play on words. Her name starts with the letter G… and the shoot focuses on her gold coat. Thank you Lady G for the inspiration and motivation. I can only hope that I’ve been of some value to you all these years.

Stay blessed always. I can’t wait for when we meet again and do another shoot to celebrate your accomplishments to date… and prepare for those that will certainly come soon.


Click on the image, or hyperlink to see all the photos: “When Gold Shines

Below is the project/portfolio page that will hold all the various posts made with Lady G aka GiGi

Your Portfolio Archive currently has no entries. You can start creating them on your dashboard.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.