Wholehearted Wednesdays with Lola from The Babetown Collective
Hi Lola! Please tell us a bit about you and The Babetown Collective.
When I was just starting my photography journey, I truly didn’t feel like I fit anywhere else. I was a little too weird, a little too out of the box, and I had deep scars that I didn’t feel like I could share with like minded female photographers anywhere else. So, I just had the idea of creating a space for women like me who wanted so much more than just the surface knowledge and connection that a lot of the photography communities offered. Of course, I wanted to help them catapult to the success that I knew they could achieve, but I also wanted a space where it was encouraged to be imperfect. To be real, honest and raw. To celebrate the differences that we all somehow share and not bring each other down. That’s where The Babetown Collective was born. We offer community, education and support for the babe photographer who wants more.
What has your experience been like as a female portrait photographer?
It has been an empowering experience, a humbling experience and something that has truly filled my soul. I get to show women their true beauty, encourage them to embrace it and show them they’re not alone. Photography can be such a healing tool, and I get to use my camera in that way on a regular basis.
How has it been starting a community and movement to empower women to feel like total babes? To make her parts a powerful whole?
If I’m being honest, this journey hasn’t been easy. It’s hard to take the insecurities you have and realize how huge they are. That they are affecting thousands and possibly millions of women. I want to squash all of those fears and misconceptions you have about yourself. Encourage you to take up some space in this world. To believe in yourself. To invest in yourself and your future. You are more than just a mother, a daughter, a photographer, a sister, a neighbor. You are a powerful whole of all those things combines. You are god damn majestic. That task in itself if a every day battle, but we are all warriors on the inside. Together we can make all of those things a reality.
How do you help women feel more confident in their vulnerability?
I honestly, think the answer to this is easier than it seems. It comes with permission. Permission to be imperfect. Permission to talk about all the shit that we are all going through. That you can still be a bad ass powerhouse, and go through some really difficult things. On top of that permission, we make it our mission to bring on educators and other industry leaders who truly believe in that mission as well. So that you can see, that girl who has 100K followers on Instagram, she’s been there. She isn’t this cookie cutter robot who somehow escaped the everyday struggles of being a woman and an entrepreneur. She is you. Sometimes humanizing the people we idolize can be so freeing.
As women, I think there is a lot of topics we’re afraid to talk about. What’s something that has been on your heart recently?
In the community, I talk a lot of struggling with anxiety and depression. I’ve also talked rather openly about being in an abusive relationship in my teens. It is so important to me that we are removing the stigma from those topics. We don’t have to live in shame. I reach out to my community, talk about when I just can’t get out of bed and they don’t persecute me for it. Instead, we all reach out a hand of support and love, because what other way is there?
The online world can be a noisy place sometimes. How do you stay authentic and true to who you are?
Realizing that I could be authentically me was a journey. It wasn’t until I was in my mid 20’s that I just stopped giving a shit about what other people thought. It’s knowing that your tribe is out there and they will find you when you start being who you truly are. When you show people your heart, they will give theirs back to you. As a leader of such a community, there is a pressure and a constant reminder to stay authentic because how can I ask them to be vulnerable or comfortable in their own skin when I am not doing it myself? I’m not saying that I wake up everyday and it’s easy, but it’s a conscious decision to be true to who I am. To not base my business decision on everyday decisions based off of someone else's success.
It’s super trendy to be an adventurer and explore, I hate that shit. I love beautiful places, but I will be the first one to opt out of a hiking trip. My husband is the total opposite and totally loves the outdoors, so I’m working on it but it’s totally not my vibe.
Kombucha and kale? Oh god no. Give me a glass of wine and french fries.
I’m just happier being me.
It’s a full-time job pretending to be someone you’re not.
* Editor's note: LOVEEEE this answer. So much.
What’s the best life advice you’ve ever received from someone else?
You are doing the best you can do, in this moment, with what you have.
We put so much pressure on ourselves to achieve these crazy goals that sometimes don’t mean a damn thing in the grand scheme of things. I NEED 100K IG followers. I NEED to shoot 50 weddings this year. If we don’t achieve them like yesterday, somehow we have failed. Somehow we aren’t worthy. Let go of the shit. Don’t beat yourself down. You are doing the best you can, right now. Keep doing that and the success will happen.
Can you share your own nugget of wisdom with our readers?
Oh god, I am the queen of dropping truth bombs in our community. I will leave you with this today.
A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle.
Get out of the mindset that if you help someone else reach success, that that takes something away from you. You get SO much back in life from helping others. There is so much joy that you are not allowing yourself to experience. My greatest joys in this community are seeing the comments when someone else books a client, when they have their first in-person sales session and reach their highest ever sale. That takes nothing from me, it only gives back to me.
What’s next for you in your journey? How can we support you, and where can we find you online?
Wow. Honestly, just to continue to give back to my community and have a lot more opportunities to meet them face to face. That’s where the magic happens.
We have The Safehouse Workshop happening in September where I will get to squeeze 35 of our babes faces. That the prize I’ve got my eye on.
Thanks so much for letting me interview you, Lola. One last question before we leave, what does being a wholehearted woman mean to you?
Wholehearted is that feeling you get when you know you are living life fully, wholly and truly. It’s the ability to let go of all the other bullshit and embrace everything else.
Rapid fire q’s:
- A woman who inspires me: Just one? That’s nearly impossible. Women who take time out of their incredible lives to lift other women up, to stand together with a mission of success for all of us, those women inspire the hell out of me. For me that has been MANY women bust specifically Twyla Jones ( twylajones.com , @somethingrad ) - She’s has pushed me and cheered me on from nearly day one this journey. Regardless of her own success, she is always willing to help me, give me guidance and build up the community. I also couldn’t do what I do on a day to day basis without Jamie Carle, another bad ass photographer babe. She is our Editor - in - Chief and dedicates herself to the Babetown mission.
- Favorite place to hang out online: Our community of course. Either in the Facebook group or in our membership site. Otherwise, probably the Sephora website, Forever 21 or ASOS.
- Best book I ever read: I love to read. Mostly nonfiction, so this is really hard to narrow down. I would say that my top 2 are:
- You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living
- Working Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies, and the Making of a Medical Examiner - I told you I’m a little weird haha! I also have a mild obsession with the ID channel and murder docs.
- My core values: Kindness. Acceptance. Laughter. Authenticity.
Did you enjoy this interview series?
* Editor's note: Do you love Lola's mission, vision, and overall vibe (not to mention her stunning photograph skills) as much as I do? If so, be sure to follow her along on Instagram! xx
Be sure to check out our other Wholehearted Woman series below!