Teenage years are so difficult. Girls are pushed and pulled by all different forces. The goal is simple; teach girls that they are beautiful on the inside and the outside. A unique event was created to accomplish this.


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The photographer, Valerie and the hair and makeup stylist, Sarah created a program where they create a “pretend world” each year to make these girls feel beautiful, but what comes out of it is more important. They put time and effort into creating an environment for these high school girls to look and feel beautiful. But they also show the girls that both life and art need to be pushed and stretched in order to grow. They also teach that using your gifts and talents to help the community is a win-win for all:

Valerie and Sarah get to push themselves to their creative boundaries and create art.

The girls feel so beautiful when their images are revealed at a gala with all their friends and family.

The girls are empowered and feel beautiful inside because they sell tickets to the gala, and collectively, they choose a local organization to receive the proceeds from the ticket sales to the gala.

The community wins because they bring awareness and financial support to an organization that is vital to our support and livelihood.

It takes a lot of work. Sarah and Valerie plan for about 3 months before the event. In 2017, each girl was made into a “Queen of Everything.” Sea, ice, art, berries, butterflies, darkness, stars, jewel, lace, glitter, feathers, peace, bees, paper, wild things, candy, nature, warriors, pearls, love. Each girl took about 3 to 4 hours to transform and photograph.

2017 was the third year of the program. They have raised approximately $4,000 over the past three years, donated to various organizations and individuals in Kalamazoo. Each year it grows and next year is expected to be the biggest event.

More info: valerieott.com

#1 Queen Of The Sea

Queen Of The Sea

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#2 Queen Of Ice

Queen Of Ice

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#3 Queen Of Darkness

Queen Of Darkness

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#4 Queen Of Art

Queen Of Art

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Myxomatosis 8 months ago

My 3rd up vote! The crown should be made out of art supplies. But this is the closest to the concept!

#5 Queen Of Berries

Queen Of Berries

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#6 Queen Of Butterflies

Queen Of Butterflies

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#7 Queen Of Stars

Queen Of Stars

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#8 Queen Of Jewels

Queen Of Jewels

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#9 Queen Of Glitter

Queen Of Glitter

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#10 Queen Of Feathers

Queen Of Feathers

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Myxomatosis 8 months ago

Almost...... almost achieved the title of this photograph. As an educator - I would not be able to "grade" this above a B- . I would love to explain in a better forum.