”Women’s bodies, in my opinion, are one of the earth’s most beautiful creations! The curves, subtle shadows here and there, their hair, eyes, freckles…it’s all so intriguing”- says Adriana Mega. We have met in a social gathering awhile ago and I have been fascinated by her for a few years now! Not for some kind of achievements, but for her being deep, raw and caring around a sense of responsibility to be the best she can. From being a gymnast to doing nude photography, while battling her own insecurities and fighting her voids. With all the lost and won little battles in her life she is never afraid to share, so lets dive deep into ONE WOMAN’S WORLD just to see and feel how connected we all are. Biggest THANK YOU ADRIANA!
What does a woman’s body mean to you? How do you deal with your own imperfections (as you might see them)?
Every person’s body is a temple! It’s a gift from our parents and absolutely no one is perfect! In fact, “perfect” is merely a subjective term and the more ordinary you are, the less appealing in my opinion.
I won’t lie: growing up with a huge scar down my abdomen from my birth defect was challenging. When I was a kid I told other kids that it was from a shark bite, and when I was a teenager I said I was stabbed in a fight. But now I own it with pride like any other scar, knowing there’s a beautiful story behind each one…even the emotional ones.
As for my confidence as a woman, being nude and creating art while nude without wanting to be looked at as a sexual object has been challenging. It’s taken me years to educate my peers and support system about what fine art nudity is and why it’s so invigorating as a woman to be able to express her beauty in the form of nudity.
Women’s bodies, in my opinion, are one of the earth’s most beautiful creations! The curves, subtle shadows here and there, their hair, eyes, freckles…it’s all so intriguing. No matter the size, shape, or color of women’s bodies, each one is reflective of who a woman is and where she’s been in life.
It’s absolutely no one’s business to criticize or label women, or to tell them what they should or should not be. We’re all who we are and should be proud of that. And if we’re not happy with something about ourselves, it’s up to us to make the changes we want to see.
Tell us a bit about your family and upbringing
I was born and raised in Denver, Colorado. My mom was in High school when she got intentionally pregnant with me and unfortunately, my father wasn’t around much. He struggled with a very serious cocaine addiction and was in and out of my life for 18 years. My mother raised me alone with the help of extended family, but then remarried when I was 7.
My step-father has played a huge role in my life over the years, and is still a significant part of my life today. When I was 13 my mom started over and had my brother, and then had my sister when I was 16. To say the very least, most of my high school years were consumed by being the built-in babysitter.
Were you always into sports?
My mom got me into dancing when I was only 3 years old! To this day, at 36 years old, I dance professionally at various music events, and from time to time practice at a studio or with a crew.
At 7 I started studying gymnastics (which I still do) as well as competitive golf! My grandfather Jimmy and uncle Monty got me into the Colorado Junior Golf Association, and I started playing on country club courses by the age of 10.
These days, I maintain my strength and physique through doing Crossfit and through living a balanced and healthy lifestyle.
Let’s talk about your experience with nude modeling. When did you get into it and why? What inspired you? What do you love about it?
To be honest, I started modeling originally for all the wrong reasons, unfortunately. I was dating a guy who was abusive and ended up cheating on me with a girl whose claim to fame was that she “modeled.” Out of pain and obsession with approval, I started “modeling” too… and by this I really mean paying professional makeup artists and photographers to make me look amazing.
At 28, I created a portfolio and become part of a modeling community where you can apply for what’s called, “Trade Shoot” (or “Trade-for-Print”) casting, which means a photographer trades a model prints of a photoshoot in exchange for the model’s time. From there I shot about 15-20 different concepts in a matter of months.
It was around that time that I shot with Dave Wood photography and found my niche in fine art photography. Being 5’3” and 28 years old—and having a huge scar on my abdomen from a birth defect, I wasn’t a good candidate for the fashion, beauty, or even fitness industries.
Within a year, I was booking shoots left and right with some of the country’s best artists and now I have a portfolio that’s taken me 7 years to create—and I’m extremely proud of it! And for me at this point, there’s no looking back!
I never have and never will exploit myself in a sexual or erotic manner; the work I do is purely artistic by nature.
Do you think our self-perception affects our work or personal relationships? If so, how?
Absolutely! Our self-confidence affects our personal life and wellbeing every single day!! How we love ourselves reflects how we learn to love others and how we learn to respect our own lives.
Conversely, if we are surrounded by negativity or hate, we learn to think that way of ourselves, which leads to neglect, abuse, and self-inflicted pain. Too often I see a woman who is a product of their environment, who become prisoners of those who think less of them or confine them in a space that’s filled with destruction and suffering.
Women are sensitive creatures, and although we like to be strong and independent, it’s amazing how another person’s opinion of us deeply affects us, even if we say it doesn’t. I have taken a complete stranger’s projection of themselves very personally and allowed it to ruin my day! And honestly, here’s something we should all keep in mind: typically, those who are the most critical and negative are the ones who have the most insecurities within themselves. It’s imperative that we never allow the judgments of others to affect our lives or take the beauty out of our day.
Most importantly, as women, it’s important to lift each other up! It is unnecessary to consider each other competition or a threat! Too often I hear about how women are scared to express themselves because they’re afraid of what other women will say or think. The only thing we should ever say is “YOU GO, GIRL!! YOU LOOK AWESOME! KEEP IT UP!” Unless they are completely disrespecting themselves, women should always support and encourage one another to express themselves confidently, no matter what size or shape.
I remember your post on Facebook saying, “What does not kill you makes you stronger.” What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced that broke you down at the time? And what are some of the outcomes, when you look back?
Growing up without a father was a huge challenge, as was my mom’s indecision about keeping him in my life. One day he was the devil the next day he was the most amazing man just going through some problems. Watching him go in and out of prison due to drug addiction was traumatizing. When I was 18 he died in my arms from an overdose and soon after I struggled with addiction of my own for nearly 18 years. Those addictions led to bad decisions that led to getting raped, getting kidnapped, and being in very toxic and abusive relationships.
Although I’ve been broken down and hit rock bottom in every way possible, I’ve always found the strength to push through and become stronger in the end. I never allowed my unfortunate experiences to define who I am. I tried to play the victim role at some points, but then realized I was better than that—and being that person is lonely and pathetic, frankly.
I’m a born leader as well as a Leo, so to be anything less than my best is insulting to the amazing person I am inside.
I eventually took the time to understand the predators in my life, including my father. Working in nursing for 8 years helped me better understand the pain and suffering of addiction. And reading about mental psychosis and understanding people on that level has helped me more deeply empathize with those who are unable to control their sick behaviors. The world can be a scary place, but understanding the generally misunderstood has helped me grow past my own trauma and move forward in becoming a leader and mentor to those most vulnerable.
Has nude modeling helped heal your trauma? And now that we’re talking about it again, walk us through a nude photoshoot, if you would. How do you get naked and pose in the middle of the street? What goes through your mind? Has your thought process during a nude shoot changed with experience?
Getting naked in front of a complete stranger after being kidnapped and raped is the most incredible therapy I could have instilled in my life. Teaching myself how to listen to my instincts, study people, and learn how correspondence alone can inform whether someone is suitable to work with in a professional environment…is INVIGORATING.
I’ve done over 200 shoots and haven’t faced any threats or issues whatsoever, but it takes common sense and research to develop an understanding of others as well as time to appreciate them as artists and how far they’ve come. There is a huge difference between a real professional and someone just using this community for all the wrong reasons. A few simple details and about 30 seconds of looking at someone’s portfolio can tell you all you need to know.
As for getting naked, well that’s easy. I only shoot with artists highly experienced in nude photography, so anything I have isn’t anything they haven’t seen before! In fact, they have seen nude bodies so many times that all they’re looking for is the art of the shot, and best perspective to shoot from. “T&A” aren’t even a thought. Now getting nude in rural locations, well that takes proper planning and coordination with the photographer. They need to line up the shoot, get me properly in the shot, and once they get the lens in focused it’s “go time.” I’m naked for maybe 2 clicks of the shutter and that’s it.
Although brave, I’m also respectful of others’ beliefs and experiences. I don’t push my art and nudity onto others and wont while shooting either. And I strive to do shoots when no one else is around, which often means shooting at sunrise or in abandoned locations. But you bet your ass that every awesome shoot I’ve done in a city was taken in that very spot. I don’t do digital enhancements or green screens.
What’s your favorite photo that you’ve posed for? And who is your favorite photographer to work with? What are some of your greatest achievements in this field to date?
I can’t really say what my favorite picture is because they’re are all so unique and wonderful, and the same goes for all the beautiful artists I’ve collaborated with. Just about every experience is unique and has its own story, many with their own funny or exciting elements. I’ve had so much growth and so many pivotal moments in my experience on shoots that even that would be something to talk about.
As far as the biggest achievement I’ve had thus far? Well since I do this as a hobby and don’t seek monetary exchange, I’d have to say that being a part of international competitions such as the Spider Awards and getting runner up out of thousands of contestants has been great. But being a muse to a fine art painter and having one of my paintings in his gallery is by far the most incredible achievement thus far. All I’ve ever wanted was to have a footprint in this community so no matter where in history, someone in my family can look back and find me <3 I don’t seek exposure, money or fame—just the opportunity to create beauty and magic with likeminded individuals for as long as my body allows me to.
What advice would you give to women wanting to try nude photography?
Do it for yourself! Don’t do it for fame or fortune, because the minute you’re not accepted or “good enough” to someone else, you’ll be inclined to beat yourself up over it. Do it because you want to capture a beauty within yourself that you want to keep forever as a reminder of what you’ve overcome. Don’t ever compare yourself to others either! We are all unique and beautiful in our own way. Find that beauty and confidence within yourself and own it! Being nude is natural and organic; being anything you’re not ISN’T.
What does being a strong woman mean to you? I follow you and love your honest and inspirational posts. How do you stay so positive but raw? And why do you share? Some people might say, “oh she’s seeking attention…”
As mentioned before, I have embraced my role as a leader in this world. Being an alpha female comes with the responsibility to motivate and inspire other women to be strong in who they are and what they represent.
Far too many critics roam this earth and even as a society we maintain mental parameters about people in terms of what they “should” or “shouldn’t” be or do. It’s amazing how much we are encouraged to “be ourselves,” but the moment we step outside the imaginary lines prescribed to us, we get scrutinized. I’ve never lived within my “boundaries,” in fact, breaking the rules and pushing my limits is exciting for me, as long as it’s not at the expense of someone else’s wellbeing.
The moment someone tells me I can’t, I do whatever it takes to show them I can. Being inspirational and positive on social media is what we should all do, I think. There’s enough negativity we face day in and day out between the media, work, and family issues. Why live in dark shadows when we can be the light for others to walk in? If being awesome and positive is me “seeking attention” then GOOD! Perhaps the attention I’m getting is motivating others to do the same and become as strong and enlightened as I am.
I want to thank you so much for your time, courage, and willingness to share your experiences openly. My last question is this: what would you say to someone who feels like a failure right now?
Failing at life is a wonderful, WONDERFUL thing. Only through failures can we ever truly succeed! It’s the lessons in your failures that allow you to grow into something more. But being honest with yourself and where you may be lacking is all up to you! So is taking the right steps to make the change in your life necessary to grow and succeed.
NO ONE is responsible for yourself except for you, and no one has any business telling you how to live either. Own who you are, your actions, and how the imprint you’re making on this world affects other people. Do YOU, as long as it’s not at the expense of someone else. Anyone can live the life they want with balance and happiness, all it takes is time to love yourself and the ones around you while doing so.