MumBoss: Meet Charlotte Clemie, Photographer & Pageant Queen
Charlotte Clemie is one talented Mummy. A former model and winner of Miss Belfast and most recently Mrs Galaxy Ireland, Charlotte turned her hand to photography when she became a Mother. Having honed her skills on both sides of the camera, Charlotte now has her own photography studio based in Leeds. She takes gorgeous newborn photos and fun cake smash pictures, as well as doing wedding photography and beautiful portrait pictures. With invaluable personal insights into having your picture taken, Charlotte's approach to photography is one which makes the experience both comfortable and enjoyable for the client. Read on to hear how Charlotte pursued her photography dream, how she views her body now she's had kids and what values she thinks are important to instil in her children.
What made you pursue photography as a career? Have you always been creative?
I did a degree in Fashion and when I graduated from university I started modelling. I enjoyed the flexibility of the job. I am originally from Ireland so it meant I could be 'my own boss' and go back home as much as I wanted. I even worked for Mattel as their real life Barbie for 4 years, it was great fun. However when my husband and I decided to start a family I needed to think about what I could do that would allow my to be a mother and also work for myself. I decided to give photography a go. I shadowed some of the best photographers in the business that I knew through work. I studied for hours reading books, watching online courses and practicing with my dog as the model. When I finally got my first wedding booking I couldn't believe it. It was published straight away in a national wedding magazine and it has all taken off from there.
You won the title of Miss Belfast. Can you tell me a little bit about that and what you learnt from the whole experience?
I won Miss Belfast when I was in my early twenties. I used to love the fun of pageants and getting dressed up. But, I thought that was all behind me when I started a family and gave up modelling. However, I entered Mrs Galaxy Ireland in October last year. I saw it advertised and felt like it would be a good opportunity to get back to the old me. I was tired of living in my leggings and a baggy hoodie! So, I gave it a go and couldn't believe it when I won!! I will go to the Galaxy International Finals this July where I will compete with women from all over the world. I cant wait for a week of girly fun in the sun, wearing pretty dresses and not having to change any nappies!!
Charlotte wins Mrs Galaxy Ireland!
I imagine that the world of pageants can be quite image focused. Did having children change how you view your body?
I remember dreading turning 30 and thinking it would be the end of looking glamorous. However, its been the total opposite. I am more confident now than I have ever been, stretch marks and all! I was always a size 8 and now I am a good size 12 and I am happy. Don't get me wrong there are days when I feel body conscious, just like anyone. I still have a bit of a 'mum tum' but I enjoy the odd glass of wine, I like eating carbs and I like chocolate...and I am not giving that up for anybody! I do exercise and on the run up to the competition I will be hitting the gym more. However, I want to focus more on pilates and yoga. Good posture and core strength is more important on stage than what size you are.
Charlotte with her husband and two boys.
What do you think is the key to juggling a successful career and a family?
I think having a supportive partner and network around you is key. I have been lucky that my husband was keen for me to have my own career and so he has pushed me more than anyone to keep going on days when I felt like giving up. I have been very lucky to have supportive friends and family. With nursery fees being so expensive, in the early days I relied on working around my husband's shift patterns and asking friends and family to have the boys so I could take work on. Now the boys are in nursery three days a week and it has made things so much easier. I also truly believe having my kids in a good sleeping routine has been a huge help in allowing me the opportunity to also run a business. I followed Gina Ford from day one with both of mine and so they are both on the same sleeping pattern. Everyday they sleep 12.30-2.30pm. In that time I immediately open my laptop , reply to emails, edit my photos, call brides and try to do as much admin as possible. Then they both go to sleep bang on 7pm so again my laptop is opened again and I usually work most nights 7-9pm. Then from 9-11pm it's my time and I can have cuddles on the sofa with my husband and catch up on box sets!
What does success mean to you personally?
I think it means happiness. I think for me being able to be both a mum and a business woman, I am very fortunate. I count my lucky stars every day that I am in a job that offers the flexibility for me to work both out on location, at my studio and at home. I can fit jobs around my family and if we want to go away for a few days together, we can. I don't have to ask permission from a boss as such. To me this is the ultimate dream. I would like to see my business grow, I am still only in the early days and I am looking forward to seeing what the next few years has in store for me.
Charlotte with her beautiful boys.
What are the most important things to you, that you want to instil in your kids?
Kindness and a good work ethic are important to me. I want my kids to grow up with not judging a book by its cover. Not holding prejudice towards other people and being kind to everyone they meet (despite me being beaten up by my two year old last night!). I am conscious of the messages we give to children in society and even watching CBeebies and similar TV channels winds me up. I am yet to see a same sex parent family on one of these shows and I worry that even from being this small its already instilling judgement that these families are 'different'. I really try to teach them it's good to be who you are and not who other people want you to be. However its taken me to be in my 30's to finally be confident being me!
Interested in having your picture taken by Charlotte?