5 ways to let your freak flag fly w/ boudoir photographer (+ pro freak ;) lezandra mcginnis
kickstart your freak flag era w/ a boudoir session
For Boudoir and erotica photographer LeZandra McGinnis, her job extends beyond the camera lens and deep into your personal transformation. Her goal? To help you better tap into your authenticity and, yes, that part of you that wildly, proudly and unapologetically waves your freak flag. To that end, she's gone back to school for sex coaching and offered more boudoir-adjacent services centered around sex education, kink and erotic play. We chatted with her about how to ignite the parts of you that remain hidden and why we bury the parts of us that make us who we are. (And if you missed our first interview with this mistress of freak flagdom, check it out.)
what's your definition of a freak flag? do we all have that in us?
I would say a freak flag is anything that you feel is your most, I don't want to say necessarily shadow self, but your primal self, the part of you that has desires that are a little bit more provocative, something that really lights you on fire. It's that inner spark that gets you going.
And whatever that is, it's different for different people. A lot of times we're taught to hide those things that we're really excited about because it might not be the most norm or traditional. So, I would say something more along that line. And I definitely think we all have that. It's like someone's inner passion that's a little bit hidden.
and is it sexual? Is it creative?
It's both. I think sexuality is inherently creative.
why do you think we should all let our freak flag fly?
As we are working to navigate life, we get really caught up with different roles and expectations that others place on us. But being able to really hone in on the thing that you are uniquely drawn to, the thing that uniquely excites you, that is how we maintain our own sense of self, our authenticity. It's how we stay grounded in who we are rather than letting everything else tell us what we're supposed to be.
"Personally, the more I've had my own boudoir sessions, the more I've gotten comfortable with my body, I'm way more comfortable with being more free out in public"
obviously you do insanely gorgeous boudoir photography, but you’re tapping into something deeper that helps people unlock their freak flag. what is that deeper part of us?
I think it's different for everyone and it's very individual. I think for my clients, for example, when we are diving into sessions, a lot of times it's really uncovering what are the different messages you've been told and led to believe about yourself? And who do you find yourself to be despite that?
And like I said earlier about the whole freak flag, as we're going through life and we become mothers or we become wives, we have these expectations that are placed on us as far as what we're supposed to do and how we're supposed to act. And so, the more we're able to define those rules for ourselves, the more we're able to better tap into who we are and what our ultimate passions are.
I think with photography, we're able to really dive into that because everyone's definition is going to be different. But I think ultimately, we're all very united in wanting to be expressed as we are, rather than as we are told to be.
and when you're doing photography, do you see people unfold their wings, or change, or evolve just during the session to become more in tune to that deeper part?
Oh, absolutely. I think once you remove that component of shame, and you allow someone to just be themselves, without feeling like they have to be X, Y and Z, you're telling them, "It's okay to be exactly who you are, and exactly who you are is perfect." Then, it takes away that sense of secrecy or that idea that they should keep parts of themselves hidden.
Someone might feel like they have confidence issues, but it might not be so much confidence in who they are. It could be something not completely related. It's not necessarily they have issues with their body, but they have issues with how they were told that they were allowed to share their body or show their body. Like, "I can't wear that," or, "I'm too old to wear that," or, "That thing won't look good on me."
There's so many messages that we're told in regards to just what we wear and put on our body to present ourselves. And a lot of times it has nothing to do with how we actually feel about ourselves, it's just the expectations that we have that others will feel, the feeling that they'll judge us for how we are.
"I think ultimately, we're all very united in wanting to be expressed as we are, rather than as we are told to be."
Next let's dive into 5 ways to let your freak flag fly… First, shibari. You’ve been holding shibari classes. How is that a part of your overall boudoir brand and how does it let people let their freak flag fly?
Shibari was really something I started because my husband's ex-wife actually is a rigger and a local shibari artist. I hadn't really explored it too much until I met him and her, and learned more about it. And just being the artistry that's involved in it, I feel like there's a lot of expression that you can dive into when it comes to being bound or binding. Both roles, being tied or being the one tying you're able to be creative, you're able to let loose, you're able to release a lot. It's like you're able to drop so much of the outside world and slip into your own space.
It's a trust in your body and your body's ability to withstand what you're going through as far as the endurance aspect. It's putting trust in another person to do the tying and trust that they'll honor your safety and your needs, but also being able to advocate for what you need and exactly how you're feeling. I think a lot of times we don't speak up for ourselves. And with rope, it requires you to directly speak up for yourself because your safety is directly in line with it.
And then, exhibition and voyeurism obviously are fundamental to boudoir in some ways. So, how can we play with that in and out of the bedroom to let our freaky side out?
Ooh. In and out of the bedroom? I would have to think on that one. I know the after being photographed and then also being able to play out that... I tell a lot of my clients that one of that self-connection rituals that I like to do is just standing in front of a mirror and watching myself. But perhaps viewing myself through the eyes of someone else so that I'm not as critical as I normally would be. Mentally role playing with yourself, and taking on the role of someone else, and how they would view you through different spaces.
And then also, exhibitionism, I would say for me personally, the more I've had my own boudoir sessions, the more I've gotten comfortable with my body, I'm way more comfortable with being more free out in public. To where it's become a fun thrill versus just something that I would never do before.
I'm sure just having also being witnessed by you as a photographer, someone taking a boudoir session probably feels themselves open or feels like the safety of your gaze too.
Oh, absolutely. Yeah. Being comfortable being seen rather than feeling like they need to hide.
"Masturbation is huge. I tell everyone you really need to be tapping into your own pleasure, and just really connecting with yourself, and finding what brings you the most joy."
third, what is another easy off-radar way to tap into your freak flag?
I would say tapping into your five senses, just to bring yourself to a really physical space. If you're struggling with the mental aspect of, "Oh, I can't do that, I can't do that," tapping into physical pleasures. Really surrounding yourself with things that are textures that are beautiful, making sure you're indulging in foods that taste great, perfumes that smell exciting to you or seductive, that could be a way to just bring these little pleasures into your daily life.
fourth, what’s a way to tap into a freak flag that is approachable for almost anyone?
Masturbation is huge. I tell everyone you really need to be tapping into your own pleasure, and just really connecting with yourself, and finding what brings you the most joy. Because a lot of times we don't know or we might feel detachment from our bodies. So, just getting really, really connected.
I know with shibari, for example, some people might be interested in trying it, but they're hesitant to bring it up to their partner. But that's something you could experience on your own, some self tying and binding, and enjoy pleasure that way. Incorporating different things that you would probably... Be more creative. Don't feel like you have to bring a partner into your pleasure. You can do it on your own and find creative ways to do so.
and then, the last question, just for advanced freak flag flyers, what's a way to dial it up and really surrender and let go?
In my experience, I think reaching out to community, finding others that are involved and equally as involved and excited as you, and being able to share that with them. The more you're able to find people you feel safe to explore these things with, the more I feel like you can expand your horizons of what's out there.
I just got approved for my group on SBC, which is a website for those looking to connect in the swinging lifestyle. We do a lot of, "Let's talk about sex talks here locally for our local community."
But this I was really excited for because I have a lot of clients that are from all over the United States. And I wanted to be able to connect with them, especially for those who are looking to do more erotic photography, but they aren't sure who to go to. Because there's not as many people that offer it.
So, I'm really excited for that just because it's something that I'm personally really involved in. And to be able to bring that involvement to my community and get more visibility, has been really cool.
Have you experienced a boudoir shoot? How do you inspire your freak flag to fly?