Today we’d like to introduce you to Chanel Jaali Marshall.
Chanel Jaali, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I am a sexologist, entrepreneur, and artist. I am the creator of Glow Photo Series, a traveling photo project aimed to highlight the beauty of Black and Brown women. I ask women of all hair textures, ages, body types, abilities, and complexions to pose in a predetermined color in an attempt to shift the perspective of what the standard of beauty should be.
I wanted to create something I wasn’t seeing while scrolling through social media. Everyone deserves to be represented and everyone deserves to know that they are beautiful. The project was a random idea that started with me wanted to take group photos of my friends.
When not shooting for Glow, I’m conducting community classes or presenting research through my sex education business Jaali Co., or shooting natural light and portrait photography via Chanel Jaali Photography. Atlanta is my hometown where I went to high school and the REAL GSU, Georgia State University.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Though I am very passionate about Glow Photo Series, it’s not always easy! I plan, organize, and fund everything myself. That can be overwhelming but I try to implement processes that make things smoother. I’m a full-time entrepreneur, so balancing Glow with my businesses can be challenging.
Because this project took off unexpectedly, I’ve been having to learn how to shape and grow this type of venture. I’m researching how to gain sponsorships and get connected to the right folks to reach more participants.
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Glow Photo Series – what should we know?
Glow Photo Series is a traveling photo project aimed to highlight the beauty of Black and Brown women. I ask women of all hair textures, ages, body types, abilities, and complexions to pose in a predetermined color/pattern in an attempt to shift the perspective of what the standard of beauty should be. I want people to see themselves and their loved ones when they see the photos. I want it to be clear that Glow Photo Series is inclusive and aims to represent all expressions of womanhood. Femme folk, trans women, nonbinary and gender nonconforming are welcome at Glow. Beauty does not look like one particular way, and I want to be sure that that point is at the forefront of Glow Photo Series’ message.
So far, the project has been to DC, Charlotte, Atlanta, Harlem, Los Angeles, Brooklyn, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Raleigh/Durham, Tampa, New Orleans, and more. Each session starts out with a “sister circle” where we connect and talk about what brings us joy. Women are able to relate and network, often resulting in new business opportunities and friendships. The positive feedback that I have received from participants and viewers has kept the motivation going!
Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
I have such an amazing community around me! When you start something, you never know how people will respond. I’m grateful to say that people, both friends and strangers, have been so encouraging and supportive. On the days when things feel overwhelming, I always receive confirmation that this project is needed and appreciated. There’s always someone there who will capture behind the scenes footage at a shoot or will share posts to bring awareness to the series. Additionally, I always have to take the opportunity to acknowledge my parents, both of whom have always supported my endeavors. They even have my work in their home “gallery style”!
- Website: www.glowphotoseries.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: www.instagram.com/glowphotoseries
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/glowphotoseries
- Twitter: www.twitter.com/glowphotoseries
Jaida A. Photography (personal photo), Chanel Jaali Photography (all other photos)