Posted by / Category London, Looking Good /

Have you noticed how often we are judged? People judge each other all the time. Well, as you probably know, when you are a woman, it is twice as bad. And if, like me, you happen to be French, it gets even worse. For some weird reason, we French judge each other all the time. And why do people always have an opinion of women’s choices? I have heard countless times comments like ‘she is so selfish: she doesn’t want another baby’, ‘she needs to dress her age’ , or ‘it’s normal to be overweight after having babies, your children must be your priority. Don’t exercise too much!’. I am sure that some people mean well. Well, most of the time anyway. As for me, the penny dropped when I made the cover of The Times (see here). The picture was nice, but I was, well, a bit fat (As I happen to be French, I judge myself all the time. Not nice, I know). I decided to take action. Fast forward to now, and I have never felt better. And I think that I have never looked better…What do you think? I shall let you be the judge of that…


You see, it was time to get back in touch with my sexy side. I felt a bit too mumsy. Obviously, on this side of the Channel, my French accent seemed to be enough to be labelled ‘the sexy French lady’. But frankly, I wasn’t feeling sexy at all. That’s when talented photographer Alejandra Moral contacted me. The timing was perfect. Alejandra is a young Spanish mother living in Germany. She understood what was going on. She gets women of all shapes, background and ages to get back in touch with their sexy side. And boy, she is damn good at it! She travels all around Europe to take pictures of woman and guess what: she was coming to London. I simply had to try it out. It simply couldn’t be a coincidence, right? I decided to take the plunge. For me, it was a leap of faith! You see, I don’t pose. I am so not a model.
But I didn’t need to worry, because Alejandra prepares her events meticulously. I was sent a questionnaire about my personality, and how I would like the photos to look like. The thing is, I couldn’t see myself being ‘sexy’. After two kids and pretty full-on days, I think that most women will understand me. I just take it one day at a time. Having to fill a questionnaire made the whole thing feel more real, and at the same time I started to dream. Being meridional, I wanted something with very red lips and a black dress, a bit like -gasp!- the perfect Monica Bellucci. And dreaming made me forget about my wrinkles and my age for a short while. After all, who cares? I am doing this for me.
The day of the photoshoot, I started to freak out. I don’t do sexy. I had second thoughts. I am a serious woman, right? I had three coffees before the start -scheduled on a surprisingly sunny Sunday. We eventually met at a cosy flat in Barnes. Alejandra was with her assistant, and Anastasia started the make-up. If I have to wear some make-up, I never spend more than 10 minutes doing it, because that’s usually all the patience I have. Anastasia spent one hour and a half doing my hair and my make-up. I looked, well, different. Perfect. The brown bags under my eyes had completely gone, and my smokey eyes looked, well, just right. As right as I will never get them to look, if I am completely honest.
The photoshoot could start. I had brought a few outfits. We started with my little black dress. Of course we did. I couldn’t survive without my LBD. I had to pose. The thing is, I don’t know how to pose. Alejandra and her assistant were incredibly patient, helping me to look less stressed. It was a labour of love. I was brought up being told that women needed to have a serious job, and modelling clearly didn’t make the cut. My French father, who happened to be a retired teacher, had very strong views on the morality of models in magazine (long story short, they were all depraved). Such memories always come back at the wrong time, right? Slowly, I started to relax. We took pictures on the sofa, next to the window, on a trunk.




Then, we decided to change outfit. I had brought one of my husband’s white shirts. Did I ever mention that I absolutely love men shirts? Somehow they always look good on me. I put on my lovely blue necklace, and some black undies. I knew that I should have felt ill-at-ease but, curiously, I didn’t. I was starting to enjoy the whole process. It was feeling natural. It was already well past 2pm and I wasn’t even hungry. Maybe it was the cup of champagne they gave me? I will never know.
At some point, Alejandra started taking pictures of me lying in the bed. She was standing on it. I felt like a movie star -it was absolutely great. And suddenly, I started laughing. The whole situation was hilarious, right?
There was another lady modelling after me. Her name was Gabriella. She was gorgeous, with legs up to her neck. What was I doing here? This clearly wasn’t my scene. Alejandra told me to wait for the pictures.
She was right. Of course she was. Just look at the results and see for yourself. A (French -of course!-) friend of mine, whom I have known for more than 25 years (was it this long ago?) even said to his partner -who repeated it to me, of course- ‘I didn’t know that Muriel was sexy’. Here you go. It says it all, right? It is out there now. I might be 42 but I have still got it! And my closest friends didn’t even know it.
 All Pictures of this post by Alejandra Moral, MUAH Anastasia Parquet
Don’t make the same mistake than me: don’t forget your sexy side! Book your #MySexySide photoshoot with Alejandra, buy some nice lingerie, or go to a spa. Because that’s part of being a woman, right? And you will feel so much better for doing it.
And please don’t listen to anyone who puts older women down. Seriously, sexy doesn’t come with a sell-by date. As for me, watch this space: I have landed a couple of modelling jobs, and I have decided to fight against the stereotypes. On French women. On older women. And I will be a sex-symbol at 80. That’s a deal, right?
Mama and More