I’ve been around ballet most of my life. I’ve always been fascinated with pointe shoes. It wasn’t till later on in life I learned what a dancer’s feet looked like under that shiny satin.

I envisioned doing a shoot that would really represent suffering from mental illnesses/mental health issues, but internally and having to conform to the stigma that hangs heavy over mental illnesses. I wanted the pointe shoes to be the focal point of the shoot. You watch ballet dancers glide across the stage gracefully all put together. Our attention is drawn to their pointe shoes. They’re beautiful shiny satin on the outside tied perfectly, but underneath their feet are destroyed. Beaten bloody all too keep up that appearance of beauty and gliding across the stage gracefully.

Even though we’ve come a long way with talking about mental illnesses/mental health issues there’s still a brutal battle being fought. Not just internally, but in society. I’m hoping these photos can be an encouragement.

My dear friend Trina Atkinson did an AMAZING job and it was very special doing such a sentimental shoot with her. She was able to capture EVERYTHING I wanted to in this shoot.

I chose to name my nonprofit Something Beautiful because I felt it’s so incredibly important to remind people that:

Even under all the pain and no matter what anyone says including ourselves you’re something beautiful.

Butterflies are a symbol of transformation and hope. That’s why I chose a butterfly for my logo.

These turned out magical. Again I hope they can be an encouragement. I really wanted to be able to share a new perspective with the world when it comes to mental illnesses/mental health issues.

Photos by Tina Atkinson Photography

Pointe shoes donated by Roxanne at Centerstage Dance Shop