Monday, July 26, 2010

Queen of Hope Worldwide/International Pageant - Tempe Center for the Arts

What a week I had! I was surrounded by beautiful women, with even more beautiful stories to tell. I was often the quiet spectator just taking it all in while snapping away at my camera. This was my first experience with the pageant world, and let me tell you it was very interesting getting to see it from behind the scenes!
It was very stressful for me the first couple of days, trying to keep track of so many contestants and their photos and who wanted what and I spent my first two nights up until 2 am working, but it was worth every second of it!
Along with the stress, came emotions, especially when we visited the Cancer Treatment Center of America. I knew this was going to be the hardest appearance that I would have to snap. I went on the special tour where inpatients were anticipating some of the queens to come and visit (they signed up for it as soon as they found out they were coming to the center). I knew that would be the best group to go with, as the patients would want and deserved pictures, but the second I got into the hallway to where their rooms were, I lost it. I immediately had teary filled eyes and started fanning myself. I had to walk away and try to pull myself together. Cyndee was the only one who really knew why I was crying, and at this point it was full on tears, so she stayed with me while I just let it out and remembered Brion. He didn't even spend that much time in the hospital, but it just reminded me of him being so sick and I was scared, scared to see the patients pain that I was going to take pictures of, but I did pull myself together, because I knew that it would be something that they would cherish for a long time. I am so happy that I got to spend time with three very sick patients, they were beautiful and so thankful for their visit. To see their faces light up was amazing. The Cancer Treatment Center of America in Arizona is phenomenal facility and the care that they are able to offer patients is amazing. To me, that was the most emotional, but the most unforgettable day spent with the pageant.
Ok, so along with the stress and emotions, came some hilarious moments. Including pageant day where I was attacked by a cactus or twelve! I was wanting to snag some artsy shots of the crowns by the cacti, representing where the pageant takes place and I thought they would represent that perfectly! I must say they did and I love the shots of the winners crowns, but holy cow, did those cacti make me pay the price for sticking crowns on them! I accidentally backed up into one of those bad boys when I lost my balance and it stuck it to me! They were so baby fine and felt like thousands of slivers were slicing through my skin (I had to take off my pants - they got it the worst! Good thing I was wearing a dress)! Oh, and they burned! A few of the girls were nurses, so I immediately went running to them and begged for help! One of the girls grabbed my camera and started snapping at them working on me! I must say it was hilarious to watch, as tape was the only way to get them out of my skin, and I am grateful for the pictures now, but it hurt! I will be more careful around cactus in Arizona from this point on!

And proud moments too! One very special moment was when Lola was crowned a Princess of the Queen of Hope Pageant! She clung to Henriette's hand and when they crowned her she cried, bawled more like it. One of the girls made a comment about knowing that girls cry when they win their crown, but that Lola took it to a whole new level! HA! She had no clue what was happening, but she sure did look cute in her Dear Lillie tutu! Later, during intermission, she made a much happier appearance onstage and waved to the crowd!

Alright, enough about me and my experience, on to the pictures...

I sorted through about 2500-3000 pictures and picked some of my favorites for this post to share with you, as you have been waiting so patiently! I took lots of group photos and candid shots while the girls made appearances, but thought that I would showcase some of the girls that had personal photo shoots done at some point or another during the week!
They are gorgeous and I will let the pictures speak for themselves...

Some of the group appearances the girls made.
(If you click on the pictures, you will learn more about each organization)

Mrs. Queen of Hope: Linda Lieser
Ms. Queen of Hope: Lizelle Marais
Miss Queen of Hope: Brittany Poppen
Classic Queen of Hope: Carol Tuohy

I learned so much about myself as a photographer and as a person. My week was beautiful and I am grateful for the experience and I look forward to seeing so many of these girls next year (as the photographer, not a competitor, although I was questioned multiple times as to why I wasn't competing - they were so sweet! Thank you, but I think I will stick to being behind the lens)!


  1. Jenni!! My word, when was the last time I visited your blog?!? I LOVE your new look!! It's awesome! And I love the pageant pics. They turned out fantastic. You are doing sooo great! xoxo

  2. OMG-I am just bawling. This is incredible. I am passing this on to some of my survivor sisters. Are you on facebook J? Look me up Juliana King. I am just floored by this.

  3. WOW! I couldn't imagine doing what you did!!! How cute that Lola was crowned!! What a memory that will be for her!! One to give her bragging rights for sure;) lol!:) Was she crying cause she was excited? or happy? How perfect to have Dear Lillies tutu for the event!!:) Awesome job Jenni!!

  4. Yes, also loving the new look of the Rosie J blog!
    You never told me that story about Lola, but I couldn't help but laugh at the crying pic! Total pageant style- I love it! She looked SO GROWN UP, smiling on the stage & waiving like that too.
    So many great photos, but really love the one of South Africa holding her crown & looking to the side like that.

  5. I didn't realize you had a photography site/blog. You do amazing work!! Your daughter is so adorable being crowned! How fun for her and such a touching experience!

  6. I'm loving the new blog look. Very professional, and perfect!

    I loved reading all about your week, even though I heard it all from you. You did an AMAZING job and I am glad it all worked out for you.

    Lola is truly a beauty queen. SHe looks so stinkin cute in her tutu. I wish I could have been there to watch.

    Sorry I had to laugh at those pictures of you and the cactus. You looked as white as a ghost, are you sure you didn't pass out too? HA!

  7. Love the new look of your blog Jenni. Beautiful!!

    This post is so moving. Visiting the hospital had to be so hard. I cannot even imagine how tough that was on you and the ladies.

    I adore the pics of Lola being crowned a little princess. She is the cutest! Your photos are stunning. xo

  8. The blog looks great!
    You did an awesome job on the photos. You even make selective coloring look good! ;)
    That tutu Lola is wearing is adorable, and she looks so sweet being crowned.
    Sounds like you better stay away from the cacti next time!