For ages I wondered how I could transition my modelling and content creation work to feel more aligned with my personal values as they have evolved with time,

So my focus has now shifted to partnering with brands who are sustainable and ethical in their production process and who want to promote positive mental health and body image ideals through their marketing campaigns.

This shoot is for a new sustainable swimwear collection by Peony Swimwear with photographer Julia Shashkina

 

 

See the published project at https://www.astrophemagazine.com/single-post/Amelia-Zadro-The-Alchemy-of-Sisterhood

 

Photoshoots with The Alchemy of Sisterhood are not your typical 'pose to create an image' and capture it.

A photoshoot becomes a ritual to explore beliefs we have about what is beautiful, what is deemed acceptable and to find a deeper truth in being in front of the camera.

This project is a collaboration with an ethically handcrafted Lingerie Brand from Istanbul, Else (@elselingerie).

Amelia Zadro (@ameliazadro) and Jordan Cohayney (@jordancohayney) contemplate what modelling has become if it is no longer to try to pretend to be something.

 

"We're not brainwashed anymore

But now we're open and raw

After the years of conditioning

We're still learning this new way of being

More receptive

More gentle

More alive

Paradoxically stronger through acknowledging softness

Empowered in sensitivity

There's no roadmap for this journey

But we're on the path now

And we're discovering a new type of beauty here."

 

 

A short interview with Amelia about The Alchemy of Sisterhood.

 

What led you to start ‘The Alchemy of Sisterhood’?

Wanting to create spaces for people who are yearning for deeper connection with themselves and with others.

 

Could you describe for us your perceptions, understanding and experience of feminine energy?

Feminine energy is receptive, compared to masculine energy which is penetrative. Feminine energy is soft and it is also wild and raw, it is moving and changing, it is the Earth and the nature of life. It lives within all of us, male and female. Feminine energy has been largely repressed and the benefits of it have become elusive in modern-Western culture. Currently our society is dominated by masculine energy, which is about systems and structures, 'doing' and being clear, direct and focused on outcomes. Both feminine and masculine energy are useful but we are in a time where the need to re-learn about feminine energy is growing because the effects of the masculine dominated way of doing things is becoming obvious is the epidemics of burnout's, stress, anxiety that come from too much rigidity and control.

 

“The Alchemy of Sisterhood creates spaces for people who are craving deeper authentic connection within themselves and others”. How do you help others to realise and develop these connections?

Through techniques that bring us back to presence. When we are present, we feel connected. It can be hard to maintain a feeling of connection in day to day life because there is so much conditioning around what is right and wrong, socially acceptable and unacceptable or attractive and unattractive, successful and unsuccessful, all of these subconscious beliefs make us hide little parts of ourselves all the time. The Alchemy of Sisterhood events and sessions that I offer are spaces for people to re-discover who they are when all of this conditioning drops away. I use a mix of meditation, mindfulness, movement as well as techniques I have learned studying tantra, shamanism, psychology, physical health and nutrition, Ayurveda and yoga. It's a mixing pot of all the most powerful tools I have found and a matter of pulling out what's needed for the group in the moment- in the nature of the 'feminine'.

 

What methods do you practice to stay in touch with your inner or higher self?

Practices drawing from all of the study that I mentioned above, but it's as simple as taking time and space each day to tune in with myself and just listen to what's happening in my inner and outer worlds. I use a mix of still meditation, mindfulness and breathing practices, as well as embodied practices like moving meditation, dance, self-pleasure, working out, cooking- anything that brings me into the present moment and into deeper connection with life.

 

What everyday things can women do to support ourselves and other women?

Take time to tune in with yourself, to fill your own cup, process your emotions and listen to your desires before searching for others to love you and take care of you in the external world.

Learn to be your own lover and best friend and then you can show others how to love you without it coming from a feeling of scarcity.

Build a life that lights you up and you'll find you naturally want to support others who are doing the same rather than competing or judging.

Be honest, be courageously vulnerable.

Keep choosing love.

We rise together.

 

 

Updated: May 28

 

Jordan Cohayney and I met 5 years ago, when we were both working as models at Asos 6 days a week.

We worked in the same studio a few times and sat at the same lunch table but barely spoke at all (which is hilarious because we can't keep our mouths shut when we're together these days).

Reflecting on that time, we can now see how we were both much more introverted, insecure and self-conscious and how this impacted our ability to connect with people, including each other.

Our friendship really began when we both decided to go to a conference on 'Modern Beauty Demands' in London, through this we began the conversations that would fuel a deeply supportive and powerfully creative friendship.

From those initial superficial conversations we had in the photoshoot studio, our communication has now blasted down the opposite end of the spectrum where no topics are off limit and the container of our friendship has helped each of us in moving through deeply challenging phases.

One of the common themes of our journeys has been breaking free from the dreams we grew up with of fitting into the fashion industry's beauty norms and reclaiming our connection to our bodies, to our emotions and to our worth as women outside of our physical appearance.

Through this journey, we have created a 'ritual' where we release fears around 'being seen' through a photoshoot experience.

Each time, new layers will come up.

By sharing the photos and the stories that come with them, we aim to reach out to other women, to let them know that they are not alone in the struggles with relating to their physicality and being seen.

This particular story is about Jordan's relationship with reclaiming her beauty through the transition into motherhood.

It is powerful, deeply vulnerable and moving.

I hope the depth of it can be felt.

I feel honoured to have such a courageous woman as my best friend, to meet these pains inside herself, to allow them to be released through her body and to allow them to be seen, with the hope of helping others.

Please let us know if you can relate or are touched by this story.

Why did you decide to do this shoot? What was the intention?

The intention of the shoot was to embrace my body and myself as I was at that moment in time. I wanted to feel empowered by who I am and who I have become and to witness my physical and emotional beauty even if it wasn't a time where I was feeling or looking 'typically' beautiful.

 

How did it work? What happened during the shoot?

It was very emotional, a lot came up very quickly. I realised very quickly that I didn't look the way I thought I 'should' in order to take a nice photo. I felt insecure about my tired skin and messy hair.

During the shoot, my daughter Daisy was crying in the background which made me feel overwhelmed and distracted. The theme turned to motherhood...

As someone who has always relied heavily on youth and beauty for a sense of purpose, motherhood has been one of the biggest challenges I have ever had to face. This shoot made me realise how much time and energy I put into trying not look like a mum rather than embracing myself and my new identity.

I grew up with so many stories and examples of mothers losing their sense of self, becoming serious, taking less pride in their appearance etc. All of which instilled a lot of fear in me, so I clung to what I knew. This shoot made me realise I was still clinging to the person I used to be when in reality I was so far from that person.

There is a quote from Beyonce after she had her twins where she talks about surrendering to how children change you instead of fighting it. She says she was scared she would never get back to how she was, physically, emotionally etc. but then realised that that person no longer exists and that who she is now is so much stronger and more resilient.

"I'm in a new chapter in my life, and I'm not even trying to be who I was. It's so beautiful that children do that to you."

It's like we have to get to know this 'new us.' It takes time. That's what this shoot made me realised, I am still getting to know the new me and it's okay that it's not a smooth transition.

How did you feel at the end of the shoot?

I felt very open and vulnerable, I had a big emotional release which left me feeling a bit shaky but I felt lighter and I knew that I had shed light on something big.

How did you feel when you saw the photos?

It was very confronting. I did not look how I usually look when I see a photo of myself and I think I look beautiful. But it was almost like there was a deeper sense of beauty, something we don't usually associate with beauty, but still beautiful. I think the beauty of raw emotion is beautiful because we can all relate to it, it is familiar and it is real.

What did you learn through the experience?

I learnt that all things pass and shift. These photos were taken at a particularly difficult time in my life, a few months where I had been sick and run down with responsibilities of work, study and being a mum. I was down because it felt like a time that would never pass, like this feeling of overwhelm was my life now.

But seeing these photos a few months later, I realise how differently I feel about all of those things now. I have found more flow in my schedule and have become more gentle with myself through this transition into motherhood. I really do see the power in it and all the strength it took me to not give up during that period, to give my baby and myself what I needed to feel healthy and strong. Nothing ever stays the same and we always have a choice. I'm so grateful to have this memory as it almost feels like a story of transformation photo, a powerful reminder of how far I have come.