An Ending, and A Beginning

Last week I published a blog post with a general update on what I’ve been up to over the past few years, as well as a promise to share more about what I’ll be doing moving forward this week.

Before we look at the future, however, I’d like to acknowledge and honor the past.

In 2014 I was rear ended on my way to my girlfriend’s house. It was a Saturday, and we planned to attend a kink event that evening. At first I thought it a mild inconvenience: my car was visibly damaged, and I was shaken up, but I was “just” rear ended - right?

By the time I finished exchanging insurance information with the other driver I was starting to feel stiff through my neck and shoulders, and decided to head back home. Driving two hours no longer seemed such an exciting prospect, and my girlfriend agreed that I should rest.

Before I drove home I called my fiancee, who directed me to urgent care.  I spent the next few hours getting diagnosed with whiplash and muscle strain, and was told to visit my doctor on Monday.

By Monday it was clear that something was seriously wrong. I was in too much pain to walk up the stairs to my bedroom and was behaving erratically. I was confused, belligerent, and forgetting things, repeating things I’d said just a few minutes before. My doctor confirmed whiplash and diagnosed a concussion. My chiropractor told me to take the next 3 weeks off from modeling if I wanted to heal properly.

At the time, 3 weeks felt like way too long. The semester had just ended, and I was planning a cross country road trip with another model. Modeling wasn’t just my only source of income, it was my life blood, my passion, my pride and joy, and at that time my only hobby. Asking me to take three weeks off to rest felt like being asked to give up the very core of my being.

I wasn’t willing to risk my recovery taking longer, so I acquiesced. Over the next few weeks that turned out to have been a very good idea. I was so disoriented I couldn’t be left alone in the house, so physically disabled I couldn’t shower without help. In addition to the physical pain and memory issues I was dizzy, nauseous, and depressed. I experienced severe anxiety and mood swings, and once forgot who my parents were and thought I was being kidnapped while riding in their car.

About a month in I saw a neurologist and started taking a medication that helped mitigate the concussion symptoms. At first I felt great on 10mg, but over time I had to increase the dose until I was taking 100mg every day just to function.

Then my grandma died.

There are times in each of our lives when everything gets turned on its head, years where everything breaks apart so we can remold ourselves from the ashes. At the time I wasn’t able to view this process magnanimously - all I knew was that my life was falling apart, everything sucked, and I couldn’t stop bursting into tears at inappropriate times.

And time passed.

I never really shared online how bad things got for me through the worst of this. Without getting too deep into the misery, suffice to say I eventually pulled myself out and began recovery. I learned how to practice effective self care, how to keep from perpetuating cycles of overworking and burnout, how to listen to and take care of my body. My pain and energy levels are now returning to better than they were before the accident (I had already suffered from chronic pain and fatigue), and last October I finally got off the medication I’d relied on for 4 years in order to function normally.

This was not my planned upon blog post for this week, by the way. But life happened, as it so often does.

This weekend I was rear ended on my way to a friend’s house. It was Saturday, and we planned to attend a women’s empowerment event the next day. At first I thought it was the end of the world - I’d been here before, you see. I knew what came next: the pain, the confusion, the tears, the years of rehabilitation.

As I got off the freeway and found somewhere safe to park I was sobbing. “Not again,” I kept saying. “Not again, not again, not again.” But even in shock, panicking, and deeply triggered, the self care techniques I’ve learned over the past few years kicked in. I started breathing deeply, I calmed myself down, and I reminded myself that I’m a different person, and in a different place, than I was five years ago. I have a stronger support system. I know and teach so many tools now that would have changed my life if I’d had them then.

And I started using those tools.

Over the past few days I have been in a deep process of healing - not only the whiplash and mild concussion from Saturday, but the trauma and pain left over from 2014. I am in the midst of a beautiful experience of being able to see this not as a pattern repeating, not as the ushering in of another dark night of my soul, but as an opportunity to close that chapter of my life.

That’s not to say that this hasn’t been painful, nor would I ever describe the past few days as easy. They’ve been intense. They’ve been powerful. And while I wouldn’t have chosen this, I’m grateful for the experience. And I’m grateful to have come to a place of gratitude that very same night, to have been able to change my focus from feeling victimized to looking for the beauty, the healing, the wisdom in this experience within an hour of it happening. That couldn’t have happened without the years of intense work, self growth, and transformation I’ve put in.

I’m also grateful that this time around my life is not on hold. I am taking care of myself and tending to my business. I’m writing this blog post. I’m planning a photoshoot for this weekend. I did a card reading yesterday.

There are cycles in nature, as there are cycles in our lives. I believe that lessons repeat until we learn them, and I couldn’t have asked for a clearer way to know that this lesson has been learned. This pattern will not repeat. And as I move into this new chapter in my business, I’m excited to also move into a new chapter in my life: one in which the car accident I was in does not define me.

It taught me the tools I need to help my clients, and I can let it go now, secure in the knowledge that I don’t have to identify with that pain any longer. That’s not who I am anymore.

About the Author

Eleanor is an accomplished traveling nude model and has been pursuing her art since 2010 and posing nude since 2011. Her work has been published in a variety of magazines, books, and galleries, including a special event at the Louvre.

Contact Eleanor

What has Eleanor been up to?

Hey loves! It’s been a while, hasn’t it?

I logged onto my blog recently and was blown away to discover that the last post I published was in 2015! I’ve written a lot over the past four years, but in the midst of publishing essays in anthologies, sending out email newsletters, and writing posts for Model Mayhem I guess I never got around to actually posting anything here. (The draft section, however, is full of half formed blog posts I thought I’d finished. Whoops!)

Recently I’ve been feeling called to start blogging again, so you should start seeing more regular updates soon. In the meantime, in this post I’m sharing what I’ve been doing over the past several years, and what I’m up to now.

As you may know, I was rear ended in June 2014. That car accident left me with a severe concussion and three dislocated ribs that were threatening to collapse my sternum, which in turn could have collapsed a lung. I spent three years trying to find a holistic approach to relocate my ribs, but in July 2017 I finally had major chest surgery to stabilize my ribcage.

I honestly thought recovery would be short and simple, but life had other plans. (Turns out being young and relatively healthy doesn’t factor quite so much into recovery as the amount of time it takes for a sternum to fuse back together after being sawed open!) I was out of commission for a lot longer than I expected, but it was also a beautiful opportunity for me to deepen my self care practice and focus on my coaching clients.

Nearly two years later, I am happy to announce that I am healthier now than I was before the surgery – in some ways healthier even than I was before the car accident. My recovery is still ongoing: my energy levels haven’t quite stabilized, and my sternum is still tender to the touch. Overall, though? I’m enormously pleased.

I wasn’t able to model for quite some time during my recovery, but I still kept pretty busy: I moved to Central California, got published in two feminist anthologies, went on a book tour, got married, and kept things moving with Empowered Muses (if not as active as I had hoped back when I thought I’d heal within a month). I kept working with clients, launched an online course, and ran two group programs.

Last November, however, it became clear that it’s time for me to step up in a bigger way as a coach and serve a wider audience. I love working with models, but I’m feeling called to bring the healing and transformational tools that I’ve discovered and developed through my own journey as a model, and over the last four years as a coach, to women outside of this community. And my work has evolved: over the past two years I have been recording most of the business advice I offer in videos my clients can keep and rewatch as needed, while spending most of my 1-on-1 time with clients diving into transformative inner game work around confidence, boundaries, and self-care…

These are the tools I really want to teach.

So things are evolving. I originally thought I could add my new coaching packages under the Empowered Muses umbrella, but it’s become clear that I’m creating a new business entirely. I don’t have the bandwidth to focus on and market two separate coaching practices, so Empowered Muses, as it used to exist, will not be continuing. I will still be working with models 1-on-1, and I’m working to create a comprehensive online course for models who want the business training without the inner game work. The resources I have already created will still be available, but outside of the new course I don’t anticipate creating new materials for models.

Moving forward, the bulk of the content I create, post, and send to my list will be focused on women’s empowerment. I’ve been doing a lot of soul searching and experimentation to figure out what group of women I want to serve, so if you follow me on social media you may have seen several different posts aimed at different target markets.

Though I hadn’t gotten totally clear on who exactly my new tribe is yet, for the past several months I have been super clear on these three things: I help women experience more joy and freedom by helping them break through patriarchal belief systems, my work is about helping these women reclaim their lives, their bodies, and their power, and I’m being called to facilitate transformational nude photoshoots for women who’ve never posed nude before to experience their bodies in a totally new way. This is deep, important work, and I feel so privileged to be doing it.

(Even more exciting? Between the first and final drafts of this blog post, I’ve finally come to clarity around the group of women I want to focus on serving as I move forward. I’m not quite ready to announce it publicly yet, but stay tuned for another post very soon!)

In the meantime, below you’ll find some info on what services I offer. And whether you’re seeking a muse, looking for support, follow me for inspiration, or are here to enjoy my art, I hope you’ll reach out and say hi in the comments.

For Photographers:

I am once again available as a model! Complete with nifty new chest scar, I am now accepting limited bookings in California (and elsewhere with travel costs covered). I am also accepting the fact that I am semi-retired as a model: moving forward I will only be available for 2-3 bookings a month. I encourage you to visit my bookings page to learn more about my current focus as a model, as well as find my rates, booking policies, and testimonials.

I also offer coaching for photographers who want support learning and implementing best practices of ethical model photography – contact me for more info.

For Models:

I have a great deal of passion for providing resources to freelance nude models, so as I retire Empowered Muses in its current form I am creating a online course that will provide the materials I teach in a more accessible format. I will no longer be running my group programs, but I will continue to coach models 1-on-1 with a focus on more inner game and transformational elements in addition to implementing better business practices. If you’d like to learn more about how I can help you transform your modeling career, I invite you to sign up for a “Becoming the Muse” Breakthrough Session.

For Women:

As I explained above, my coaching practice is moving into the realm of women’s empowerment. I work with women to help them break through patriarchal belief systems, set and enforce boundaries, and create self care systems that support their lives. I also offer VIP packages for women who want to experience posing nude in a totally safe, freeing, empowered, and confidential environment. If any of what you have read here has resonated I would be happy to discuss how I can support you. Please visit my coaching page to learn more, or set up a free “Reclaim Your Power” Breakthrough Session now.

For Everybody:

Those of you who have been following me on Facebook and Instagram may have noticed that I am now offering crystal card readings for people seeking intuitive guidance. A mixture of coaching, card reading, and crystal healing, these sessions are particularly helpful for women who are interested in getting a taste of my coaching and intuitive style, but men who feel intuitively pulled to my work are welcome as well. If this speaks to you, you can schedule your card reading here.

About the Author

Eleanor is an accomplished traveling nude model and has been pursuing her art since 2010 and posing nude since 2011. Her work has been published in a variety of magazines, books, and galleries, including a special event at the Louvre. She now draws on her experience as a freelance nude model as a women’s empowerment coach, helping women reclaim their lives and bodies through transformative nude photoshoot experiences.

Contact Eleanor

Modeling as a Social Platform

I’ve spent the last four months interviewing models of all ages and experience levels. What really stood out to me was that when I asked the newer models what their goals are, they all lit up. They’d talk excitedly about the fact that modeling is not only an artistic outlet, but that it lets them show people who look like them that they’re beautiful too, or that it lets them defy gender norms more than they otherwise could. Almost all of them had a reason for pursuing a career as a model that went beyond creating art or making money.

What I have loved so much about my own modeling career is that it’s given me reach, visibility, a voice, and a platform. People love to follow models on social media. They see us, and as they start to know us they start to listen to us as well. They might not always agree with us, but our voices get heard. That gives us such an incredible capacity to actually make a difference, to spread the word about whatever we’re passionate about. We’ve seen this so many times when agency models have committed themselves to causes or created their own. Modeling is a career that gives us an incredible opportunity to make a difference, should we want to.

When I think about freelance models who have really taken advantage of that capacity, the most obvious example is London Andrews. This stunning powerhouse has not only taken a stand for #beautyatallsizes, but she uses her Patreon account to fund volunteer trips all over the world. Her work is a perfect example of the kind of good we can create with the visibility that comes hand in hand with marketing our modeling careers. Unfortunately, within the realm of freelance models she’s one of only a few models I can think of who have really tapped into that.

Now not all models want to do this, and that’s fine. If your goal is to pay off student loans, or just have fun, that’s fantastic. The creation of art is certainly also, by itself, a worthy reason to be a model. No other end goal is necessary.

But I am obsessed with making sure that the models who do want to use their modeling career as a platform for something bigger are able to. Because right now, I see so many getting so caught up in the struggle to make ends meet that they’re too stressed to even think about creating something bigger. I can’t even stress how much of a shame that is. 

That’s why I’ve spent the last year learning about every facet of successful business and marketing techniques I’ve been able to get my hands on. That’s why I’ve attended events, hired business coaches, and studied everything from branding to successfully designing and launching webcourses. That’s why I was so excited when I learned that conscious and heart based entrepreneurship communities exist. It’s at the heart of why I founded Empowered Muses.

I am passionate about making sure that freelance models are able to build a sustainable income quickly so that they can focus on making the dream at the heart of their modeling career come true. 

So that you can focus on making the dream at the heart of your modeling career come true.

What is your vision? Tell me in the comments!

About the Author

Eleanor is an accomplished traveling nude model and has been pursuing her art since 2010. Her work has been published in a variety of magazines, books, and galleries, including a special event at the Louvre. To see more of Eleanor’s work you can visit her website.

Contact Eleanor

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