“I saw a beautiful woman with curves and a story written on her face and body. I was proud of my accessory and attire choices because they truly have significance to me. The pink and green jewelry set belonged to my Aunt Oree Dukes. She was the epitome of motherhood, warmth, elegance, grace and beauty. My whole life I have aspired to impact others the way she did. Wearing her pieces made me feel connected to her regality and beauty. I miss her in important moments of my life. Having her with me for this portrait meant so much to me at this time in my life. I wanted to capture this moment in my life in a special way. I have accomplished so many of my personal life goals and broken generational shackles that hindered the happiness and growth of my foremothers. I wanted to celebrate the growth, work and life I have lived and lives I have given birth to through my sons. I feel like a woman who is making her ancestors proud by healing many fears and wounds they endured and told to me. The process of the questions, word choice exercise, wardrobe choices and the actual journey of traveling from Texas to DC made me feel like this was a womanhood rite of passage, capturing this stage of my evolution. I am honored to be able to see myself through the artistic lens of this majestic project on Black Womanhood. It has encouraged me to embrace and own my body and my beauty.”
~ Jennifer H.
“When I saw my images for the first time I saw confidence. I feel confident about a lot of things and others I exercise faith. The image captured my most confident self. Seeing my images for the first time made me feel grateful. Rhonisha creates such a safe space for her subjects that your truest self is encouraged to come out and shine. I also felt beautiful, strong and excited. I could fangirl by celebrating myself just as I do for every one of her subjects.”
~ BeYonne T.
“Brown skinned Royal Beauty. Like a unique Queen. It was fun and different, I felt like I’m being prepped for something great! The artist JESUS loves!!”
~ Carmen C.
“When I first saw my images, I saw a part of me I thought was lost: my beauty, my value, my worth. I saw a resilient woman forged in fire ready for a rebirth. The Profile Noire experience couldn’t have happened at a more opportune moment in my life. I could see the pain in my eyes from the challenge life had just handed me prior to the Profile Noire project. But through God’s grace, I saw hope emerging at the same time. Profile Noire reassured me there is purpose in my pain, restoration of things lost, and more to my story. I am a part of history in the making.”
~ Lauren J.
“I was amazed. I usually do not like pictures of myself. These pictures were beautiful. I was awestruck. I was actually nervous to view my images, but once I did I was pleasantly surprised. I felt very relaxed and engaged during the entire process.”
~ Dawn C.
“I saw a beautiful woman looking back at me.”
~ Sharon H.
“When I saw my images for the first time I saw a queen that is beginning to excel at living her best life by doing her absolute best to defy all expectations. The process was invigorating and I felt more comfortable then ever to just bare my soul and my body for the camera in order to present the “black girl magic” that is within me. “
~ Stephanie M.
“I literally stared crying. I had never taken professional photographs prior to the Profile Noire project. I felt powerful and beautiful. Amazement! My daughter shared the initial pictures with me. She was so proud of the finished project, it really made me feel amazing about myself. She was so proud of me, which made me feel good. There is no greater feeling than having your children be proud of you. It made me deeply proud of myself. From beginning to end this process was transformative. I felt supported and empowered. Which made me feel great and look even better. During my shoot, I met two other women having their portraits taken, each of us were profoundly moved and excited to be a part of the project. I found a piece of me again while having my pictures taken. I am forever grateful to be a part of this beautiful project. ”
~ Brenda J.
“When I saw my portrait for the first time, I was amazed at how stunning, confident, and strong I am, yet I still have a gentle spirit. As a Black women I love my natural hair and stunning eyes. As a mother of two daughters and six granddaughters, I am leaving a legacy for my family. I felt beautiful and sexy, proud to be a Black Woman.”
~ Avis B.
“I saw an attractive African American woman, confident in her maturity. Seeing the images for the first time, I felt overwhelmed and could only say “WOW”. I felt very special.”
~ Theresa J.
“I saw a woman I with whom I was not familiar. She’s regal, striking, and she seems clear in her purpose. She is who I’ve always wanted to be. Imagine that, she’s me! I was taken aback by the images when I first saw them. In fact, it has taken months for me to become comfortable with them.”
~ Charmain A.
“I was completely blown away. It was the day before my birthday, I felt like a kid opening the most precious gift. I couldn’t stop smiling as I had never seen myself look so genuinely happy. Humble. Grateful. Peaceful. Beautiful. Bold. When I arrived at the studio, I was nervous. Initially, wondering if I was good enough to be in the studio. Then, as I began to walk through the look, I started to become more and more comfortable. Comfortable with what I had to offer the project, comfortable and at peace with how everything would turn out. I knew I was in the right place, at the right time, with the right people. Everything was perfect in all ways. “
~ Jeanice S.
“I saw a beautiful version of myself. I felt proud and honored to be captured so beautifully! Going through the process to have my portrait made was exciting. The day we shot the portrait was empowering, and electrifying.”
~ Kristina F.
“When I first saw the images I was in awe! All I could think was WOW, Rhonisha captured in the images the woman I know I am inside! A strong confident determined beautiful African American Woman.”
~ Alexandra J.
“I saw a woman evolving, who has learned who she is and who she is not, and who loves herself and others with no limits. I felt a sense of urgency — to recommit to being the best for myself and those I love. The day before my shoot, I’d laid to rest a dear friend who’d passed away from breast cancer at just 42 years old. I’d also lost my voice during her service, and had been crying all morning as I got ready for the shoot. I was feeling so heavy when we started, but I kept her spirit with me throughout the whole shoot. I replayed all the good times, and the bad, in my mind and somehow I began to feel lighter. “
~ Angela H.
“I saw the soul of a woman. I saw a mother, a wife, a daughter, a friend. I saw my mother. I saw me.”
~ Donna T.
“Reminded me of Psalm 138:14 ” I will praise thee: for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works. Made me feel PRETTY..SPECIAL.. I haven’t felt pretty in many years. I had been caring for my sick brother for past six years, my daughter submitted my name to be part of the ladies over fifty as a way of caring for me. I felt CARED for.. LOVED. pampered… BEAUTIFUL.”
~ Denise W.
“I saw an extremely attractive woman who was not me! She was lovely!! I felt ‘WOW’ this is really how I could look daily!! I was very excited, elated, joyful, had great anticipation.”
~ Johncie L.
“Who is that?! What the camera (or the person behind the camera) saw is very different from the person I see when I look in the mirror. The person I saw in the photo is more attractive than the person I see looking back at me. She appeared strong and confident. What do you see? Does this photo really show who I am? Is it the make-up? This photo session proved that my view of myself may be very different than others see me…for better or for worse. Thanks for the ego boost!”
~ Etta W.
“I was completely in shock. I thought, ‘Wow! I’m beautiful!’ Seeing my images for the first time made me feel empowered. I looked powerful, regal, and a woman who knows who she is and wants. I wanted to actually be that woman in real life.”
~ Lisa S.
“When I first saw the images, I saw my mother. I always considered her my muse. She’s beautiful, strong, intelligent and fiercely independent. Seeing those images allowed me to see those traits in myself. I felt beautiful, regal and strong.”
~ Deanna W.
“When I saw the images for the first time, I saw a woman that was able to handle all of life’s twists and turns. Made me feel beautiful and like I could conquer the world. Going through the process was very enlightening. During the photo shoot, I was forced to reflect internally, and it was very raw. Often times with social media, being a wife and a Mom, there’s no time for self-reflection.”
~ Tylvia A.
“I have had professional photographs of myself taken before. However, this experience was like no other. Knowing that the purpose of this project was to shine a light on the strength, honor, and individuality of Black women made the process feel unique, beautiful, and necessary. During the process of having my portrait made, it felt that it was not just about me, but about the women who came before me. Women who were never recognized, much less, celebrated. In that moment, it felt as if they were being photographed, too. Because of this, the space felt sacred and the experience, transcendent.”
~ Shante J.
“I saw truth. The images made me feel very connected with my spirit.”
~ Hope G.
~ Lisa P.
“Be bold, be powerful, be free. I saw a woman, the woman I always felt that I was on the inside but struggled to see on the outside. I finally saw me, my true self and it was beautiful.”
~ Latina B.
“Timeless beauty and elegance. Grateful and blessed. Excited to be living my best life!”
~ Lavdena O.
“When I saw my images for the first time, I was shocked. I saw myself like the world sees me. I saw what the camera saw, what Rhonisha saw. I was unapologetically me. I was beautiful and soft and my eyes were smiling. I saw me without all the self doubt.”
~ LaTrice P.
“When I first saw the images of myself, I didn’t initially see “myself.” Instead, I saw regality! I. Saw. Queendom! I had never been photographed in such a manner that allowed me to see everything in myself that I aspired to be, but what these three mere images showed me I already possessed. The sight of them gave me a since of pride. Pride in my skin tone. Pride in heritage. Pride in simply being Black! The moment I decided to be a part of the project, I knew it would be a big thing. I don’t know why. I just felt there was something intrinsically special about it–something that would change the way black women as a whole viewed themselves. Perhaps, it was the whole premise behind it that sold me on what I knew I would inevitably and ultimately feel about myself. Being at the set the day of the shoot gave me sense a strength, and that strength bolstered my confidence. From the empowering poses to the way Rhonisha encouraged and guided me through that confidence, it was all such a very empowering experience.”
~ Thai B.
“A little emotional. I don’t look how I want to look–I put on some weight last winter and it was still very much on me when we shot the portraits–but I do feel that the pictures are really gorgeous. I see my mother so clearly in my face, and that is a blessing.”
~ Jamilah L.
“When I saw my photo I saw my picture but it wasn’t me. I saw a beautiful photo that was worthy of a portraiture but that wasn’t who I am. It was a reflection of what other people saw when they looked at me. I’m sure there is a lesson here!”
~ Starsha V.
“Beautiful Joy. I cried. Overwhelming Joy because God has protected me from looking like the hell and pain I had been through.”
~ Paula B.
“I saw me, I saw my mom and sister (who are no longer with me) and all of the women who have poured into me. l saw my inner Grace and God’s Mercy. I felt proud, empowered and beautiful.”
~ Pamela P.
“When I saw the images for the first timer I saw depth, beauty, clarity and an extremely high quality photo. I was not expecting the photo to be as striking as it was. I stared at it for quite some time transfixed thinking to myself ‘that is me.’ The images made me feel proud, happy, seen, appreciated, understood, and very grateful.”
~ Ambiya B.
“I thought the images didn’t look like me.”
~ LaShaun M.
“I saw raw beauty. Seeing my images for the first time allowed me to see myself in a way I had never imagined. It was truly a work of art.”
~ Erin T.
“I see my past, present, and future”
~ Natalie C.
“Strength. Overcome with emotion, I felt powerful.”
~ Tameeka B.
“I saw myself as the woman I’ve always aspired to be. Seeing my images for the first time made me feel confident and admire the beauty of features I had seen as flaws. Going through the process revealed joy and peace in being free in my most authentic self.”
~ Jasmine F.
” A Beautiful ME! Who knew that I could really look so different except my Photographer!!”
~ Vivian S.
“Black Girl Magic. Proud, Important & Beautiful to have an image that would last a lifetime for my future generations to look to always. Rejuvenated as a new mom and wife to do and have something that was for me and showcasing beauty and heritage.”
~ Krystle J.
“I saw beauty elements of and in myself that I had not yet noticed before. Stunned and Empowered to say the least! I felt as it I was self searching. I really had to sit quietly when presented with the 3 questions and investigate my inner and outer being.”
~ Jessica W.
“When I saw my pictures for the first time, I did not see myself. I was like “who is this person!” LOL. I was also amazed to see how purposeful and resourceful Soror Rhonisha had been in putting together all of the aspects of the sitting that I could not see at that time. Picking my outfit, choosing flowers and leaves from outside, the styling of my hair…Wow! All I could think was how incredibly talented and visionary she was to pull this off. At first, I was a bit overwhelmed, to be honest. I was looking for what I am used to seeing. But the more I looked at them the more I loved them—seeing Soror Rhonisha’s creativity bringing out something from me that I didn’t ever know was there. Ultimately, I felt very honored and grateful that she saw something in me that motivated her to include me in this beautiful art exhibit. Sometimes uncomfortable—because I didn’t have control—Rhonisha did! But I had to trust her and when I accepted that, I relaxed and let her do what she does best. The results were amazing! Thank you so much, Rhonisha!
~ Vivian E.
“I saw my DIVYNE self. I saw a creatrix, bound by no limits. I saw my ancestors. I felt seen. It was like veiwing myself on film as an avatar for the feelings I experience on my very best days. I saw my potential and my flaws all in the same glimpse, and I knew it was perfection. It was a knowing that came from my soul, more like a recalling…DNA memory. I felt free and at home! I trust Nisha completely so I knew I was in the best, most capable and caring hands.”
~ Jasmyn K.
“I was in such awe… seeing me in all my glory. Perfectly Flawed… All I could do was smile. Fascinated and Speechless. I was nervous about doing it because this was different… This was about who I am on the inside and everyone doesn’t see that side of me… that person I hold near and dear to my heart… keeping her (me) protected. It was an opportunity to feel vulnerable and excited at that same time… Trusting the expert to do her work… Such an adrenaline rush”
~ Nikki P.
“I saw a beautiful and wonderfully made woman of God’s creation. It made me feel like a Queen. I was so excited and anxious to be part of this wonderful project that my daughter was doing.”
~ Justine F.
“Making these self portraits encompassed so many layers, from executing a technically sound image to the shared energy with my mother. I photographed my mother just before we created my images together. She created the orchid head piece that I’m wearing and placed it on my crown. She helped me step into my skirt and shared her own jewelry with me and we were able to honor each other’s womanhood on that morning. As I sat for each image, she acted as my mirror and simply making that statement brings a tear to my eye. She is my mirror and I am hers, if you were to zoom in you would see a reflection of her in my eyes. I will treasure these images for the rest of my life. The process of creating this project was one of self discovery, self love, and self determination. I was able to heal myself while bringing healing to others and Profile Noire will forever be part of my soul.”
~ Rhonisha F.