"As a model of color, I often look for my ethnic brothers and sisters and find far too few. While there has been some progress away from the marginalization and tokenism of brown and black models, I long to see more, everywhere and on every empowering platform. When beauty is formed through the pressures of adversity and oppression, a unique depth and character emerges,” says Jessica Hamilton, a Latina, Native American and Black model featured in this styled shoot.
The team collaborated to highlight the beauty of diversity with elements of heritage interwoven in some of the details, the powerful scenes captured were organized in part by recent grad and wedding planner Alex Gaynor.
Camano Island provided a brilliant backdrop of serene forest and beachside sparkle, with views of Saratoga Passage. The Island was once part of the Snohomish Tribe’s ancestral lands, used for hunting, fishing, and clamming during the summer. The route from Seattle to the island is also home to many indigenously-owned casinos and reservations.
Emma Studley, the wedding photographer, captured Jessica’s elegance in the natural light as she posed in an exquisite two-piece Sandra dress created by Flora Bride, an Israeli designer, and provided by Seattle Dress Theory. The bride looked radiant in the warm light as the diaphanous gown glowed around her. The look was complete with her stylish blonde hair and bold makeup, perfected by Latina stylist Lauren Brittany from Seattle Beauty Boss.
Blending perfectly with the natural background was a charming array of neutral florals supplied by Flori Flowers, including the hand-grown white cosmos flowers. The bride held a bouquet of driftwood, bunny tail grasses, white thistle flower, bracken fern, shimmery Lunaria and air plants wrapped with botanically dyed silk ribbons in fern green and ecru from Hannah Silk to create the perfect Pacific Northwestern vibe. Also contributing to the florals were gorgeous Effie roses grown by David Austin. Other floral elements were native and supplied by local farmers while some elements, such as the fern, were carefully foraged. These local sources make the florals fresher and eco-friendly.
Jessica donned a second, edgier outfit wearing a vintage Halston jumpsuit for some beachy background shots and shots upon a swing created by Flori Flowers out of driftwood. She even ventured into the sparkling water for more striking photo ops.
With the beauty in diversity, there is also pain. Jessica’s bloodline is one that has faced generations of oppression and genocide. “There is so much tragedy in this, but there is also a tenacity and the survival of rich cultural traditions that shows up and shines in our faces. Beauty is an essential part of the human experience and a mechanism for storytelling. I aim to help tell more untold stories - rich stories of victory and survival - harnessing the power of art and fashion."