Confidence is something that doesn't come easily for everyone. I know, because for years I was one of those individuals who did not recognize my value or see my worth. Because of that I lived a life feeling inferior to others, unable to see my own light.
When I was able to recognize that my life mattered and that I had been given something that was meant to be shared as an example for others, my whole life changed. When I was thinking about the "confidence" side of this issue there was one person who came to my mind that would be the perfect subject to discuss the top: model/actor Mar'Ques Woolford. I reached out to his manager, Celebrity Photographer Curtis Reynolds, and was able to not just get a conversation with Woolford but him as well.
If you are doubting your purpose or not sure about what you can contribute to the world around you, I think this will help you change the way you see yourself and others.
Mar'Ques, how did you get so comfortable in your own skin?
Mar'Ques Woolford (M.W.): If you don't look in the mirror and love what you see nothing nobody else says will fill that void. You'll always feel as though something is missing. It also helps to have great people around you who love and value you for you.
Curtis, thank you for your time and for setting up this conversion with Mar'Ques. First question I have for you is what has it been like for you to see the way your work has been recognized by others?
Curtis Reynolds (C.R.): It's been very rewarding. When you are going through the process you have no idea where this journey is going to take you. I've won awards, been able to shoot celebrities and help in building careers. When I look back it's unbelievable. It's only God that could have done this. If I did it based on what I didn't know when I first started out I wouldn't have succeeded.
What about you, Mar'Ques? When did you realize the hard work and faith were paying off?
M.W.: It was my first trip to New York. Curtis had always told me what was possible and what he saw. When you go to New York and you get a 'Yes', and you have the opportunity to turn things down that's when I found my worth inside myself. I didn't have to measure myself by anybody else. I realized everything that I was and everything that I could be.
Curtis, this is the first time I have had the opportunity to chat with you for Conversations, so let's go back to the beginning. What was it about photography that first spoke to you?
C.R. I was diagnosed with ADD, and growing up it was challenging for me to focus. I always saw myself doing multiple things at one time in order for my brain to slow down. It was something I really didn't talk about it until I was an adult. My Therapist said you need to find something you're passionate about and go after it. I always had an eye for seeing things. I loved putting together fashion and seeing how excited people got. That's when I got into photography. It's been 10 years now and I always remember capturing moments. Photography is truly an art. You have to capture that one moment that everybody who sees that image can feel and that tells the story. That has driven me from the start. It was one thing to have a gift. It was another thing to develop that gift. The reason why I'm here is because I've always had a passion for capturing that one moment and stuck to that.
For you, Mar'Ques, did everything just seem to make sense when you were in front of the camera or on stage?
M.W.: Yes it does. Storytelling is a way of being able to really share people's lives, to really understand what people have been through. You have more compassion for their mindset, understanding their back-story. Storytelling is the opportunity to tell someone else's life story. That's really important.
M.W.: I've just learned to get a message across you have to couple it with an image. I don't want people to see me as just a sex symbol. I want to inspire people. That is one of the most powerful things that we can do as a human being. To really inspire someone in a positive way is a powerful thing. Once I realized that I had the opportunity to do so that's where my focus was. It's not about likes. It's only about inspiring people.
You also have a popular social media presence, Curtis. What is it like for you to see how others recognize your gift?
C.R.: I really don't think about it, because it's never been my focus. With social media it allows me to have connections with people and to inspire others to do better. It helps me to continue doing what I'm supposed to do: pour into others so they can do better.
Stay connected with Mar'Ques on Instagram at www.instagram.com/m.q.d and Curtis at www.instagram.com/curtisreynoldsstudios.