Nude ESPN Athletes Talk About Empowerment

ESPN is an unexpected magazine to have an annual nude athlete edition. Even more unexpected is how many of the athletes talk about it being an empowering moment for them. (find links at the end Blogs end.)

For example gold medalist Jamie Anderson related, “I’ve never done any naked shoots or even bikini shoots so it was new for me to do this.” Anderson went deeper, “At first I was a little bit terrified but it was really good practice for me to accept everything about myself and love my body and not judge the little things that we do as women or anyone and just embrace where I’m at.”

Her first impulse, she explained, was to work out like mad to “get super-crazy fit” but she hurt her foot a month earlier so she couldn’t.

Yet that turned into a positive as Jamie explained, “I still live a healthy, active lifestyle but I wasn’t able to train as I would have. It became even more beneficial because I got to step back and embrace myself and how I am and not try to fit this Hollywood image of being really super skinny.”

US Figure Skating Champion Ashley Wagner was thrilled that her shoot displayed her hard work on her body. She laughed when saying she “needed these for when she was old and shapeless so she can show her children she looked like this.” Many of our clients echo the same side reasons. For some it was to be a personal memory lane.

Like every woman Ashley has pride points, her bum, her back and her core. She wanted the world to see that skaters are athletic and have strong bodies.

Track and Field Hammer thrower Amanda Bingson recalled being kicked off her high school volleyball team because she was too fat. Even now she fluctuates between 210 and 215 pounds. But she exclaims, “I embrace it. I love myself.”

Her nude figure graced the 2105 ESPN cover. She tells young women: “Whatever your body type is, just use it!”

Tennis Pro Caroline Wozniacki is one of the ESPN 2017 magazine naked cover girls. She talks about how she doesn’t stress about her body and what she doesn’t have.

” I just embrace what I do have.” Now, she is fit to excel in her sport but “If I don’t look like a supermodel on the runway, that’s okay because I look good in my own way.”

All these athletes are in their prime. All are amazing examples of what focus and hard work can achieve. But they say over and over again, that is not the point. They all have negative things about their bodies that they have to embrace.

What so often came out of their interviews was how empowering it was for them to do this. For many it was their first time, which made them nervous.

Having nude, or hidden nude as their images were, taken was a confidence expanding moment. Nearly all the athletes talked about being role models. About putting it out there, embracing their bodies as is.


I know the same thing happens to the everyday woman when she bares it all for her photography shoot. While the photographs are the end result, the process to get there is the really valuable part.

Our studio is where the breakthrough point lives. The discovery happens in our photo sessions. The photographs do many things.

They remind you that you did this and it turned out well. When you show the images off you tell of your adventure, how it made you feel, reinforcing the memory and results in your subconscious. The images remind you of your achievement, your celebration moment.

It’s a powerful experience. Luckily, it’s not just for prime athletes gracing covers. Any woman can get the same enriching feeling.

See the ESPN photos at their Website – Body 2017

Posted by: Mark Laurie

World-renown photoartist Mark Laurie of Inner Spirit Photography specializes in Female Portraiture: nudes, boudoir, prenatal & fine art. His empowering images of women reveal their heart & soul.