Guest Post: A day in Hyderabad with Paula Watts Photography

We are so thrilled to get to share today’s guest post! Paula Watts is an incredible lifestyle photographer who presently resides in India. So you can imagine how thrilled we were to arrange for her to visit our sewing center in Hyderabad. Here’s a bit about her time there and a few of the MANY gorgeous images she captured during her time there. Enjoy!
I hardly knew what to expect traveling to Hyderabad to photograph the formerly trafficked women that International Princess Project works with. How do you prepare yourself for the emotions and the stories and that kind of reality?
I remember the first time I ever learned about human-trafficking. Admittedly, it wasn’t all too long ago. My husband and I were living in South Africa at the time and it was about a year before the 2010 World Cup. We were noticing posters around town asking if you’ve been “approached” with promise of work or schooling opportunities from someone you didn’t know and if so, please dial a hotline number as you may be vulnerable for trafficking. WHAT? It’s that easy? It’s that common? It’s happening around me? It made my blood boil, my stomach turn, and that feeling you get down your spine when you hear nails down a chalkboard.
Today, having educated myself on the tragic figures of human trafficking, knowing that it happens everywhere in the world (no, not just far from where we all live), not just by large villain-like movie characters (sometimes by family members or kind looking “good samaritans”), I still find it hard to comprehend how it happens and what to do about it. The sheer evil involved to trick, sell, or coerce someone into a life she is trapped into, a child sold for pennies, a woman caged, a young girl used for sex and seeing no future of anything else. It’s gut wrenching and it needs to stop. As Shannon, the founder of IPP, so eloquently puts it, “we have a zero tolerance policy”.
Shouldn’t we all?
For me, getting to photograph the rescued women that IPP helps to rebuild their lives, their dignity and to make a sustainable way for them to succeed in life was a gift to me in so many ways. It was certainly an emotional struggle to actually put faces to statistics and proper names to tragedies we had merely only discussed about. But it was necessary. And powerful. And messy. And I won’t lie, there was a lot of crying at in-opportune times, and emotions that welled up in the my throat, making it hard to speak or even swallow. But it wasn’t because these women, or I should say, young women, were sitting in pity. They weren’t sitting in a corner refusing to talk, as I would fully understand (and even expect). And it wasn’t because I felt sorry for them. It was because they, for the first time, maybe ever, are seeing a future for their lives. They are seeing hope. They are seeing and experiencing that elusive light at the end of the tunnel, and they are understanding joy. Because they are given a chance to learn a viable trade, earn a livable wage, and have resources like counseling and schooling for their children, with the help of IPP, they have a life they dreamed of. And they smile. And giggle. And their eyes sparkle and they are beautiful. And they are on the road to restoration.
Here are a few images from Paula’s time in Hyderabad:

Human Trafficking Awareness Month and Red Light Wednesday

This month is human trafficking awareness month! We want you to be aware that Human Trafficking still exists and is growing.

Human trafficking is the largest international criminal industry behind drug dealing. It happens in far off countries, yes, but did you know it happens in OUR country, too? In our states, our cities.

Will you join us in the fight to end it? We want to build a community of advocates of FREEDOM and HOPE for those who have been trafficked all our the world. This year, this MONTH is your chance to make a difference. BE a world changer!

How?

Well, first, you can participate in Red Light Wednesday! Red Light Wednesday is a day when we take time to pray for those still trapped in red light districts around the world. Every time we stop at a red light, we pause to remember the more than 3 million women and girls enslaved in India’s sex trade. And, a day when we pause to renew our vision of giving HOPE to each and every one of them.

Also, all month long we will be partnering up with other companies in the fight against sex trafficking to bring you giveaways! Giveaways will be launched every Sunday on our social channels, be sure to follow us and enter!

And, as always, shopping our Punjammies™ products will help support the women in our sewing centers in India remain FREE from slavery!!!!

Let’s do this, world changers!!

DIY Christmas Ornament

christmas holiday ornament diy

We hope you are staying warm and having a wonderful holiday season! We are keeping very busy at the office as all of the holiday orders come in. With every order placed, that is another promise that the women in our sewing centers will have a sustained job.

Amidst all of the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, we wanted to take some time aside to do something fun! We invited Jess from Jess Loves This Life over to our headquarters in Costa Mesa, and she helped us bring you today’s DIY. She is so sweet and is such a creative gal too. :)

You Need:

PUNJAMMIES™ bag (we used our new Vijay ), Empty Ornament Balls, Ribbon, Craft snow, and Twine

Total Time:

10-15 minutes (3 ornaments)

We hope you have as much fun making this Christmas tree ornament as we did. Once you place it on your tree, we would totally love to see a picture of it. Post it on social media or email it to us so that we can share it too!

With Love,

Christine — One gal super excited for Christmas

Thanks for all of your help Jess! :)

Model Talk with Nikia Phoenix

Interview with model Nikia Phoenix

Preethi Punjammies

Mala PUNJAMMIES™

Swathi Full PUNJAMMIES

Bhavani Capri PUNJAMMIES™

 

We are thrilled to have been able to work with model, Nikia Phoenix not once, but TWICE this year! She is such an inspiration as a model that stands for more than just beauty in the way our world may define it today! We find it very important to work with women (and men) who believe in the strength of women, and have a heart to work together to help bring human trafficking to an end. So today we are brining you an interview with model, freedom fighter, and creative thinker, Nikia Phoenix of Model Liberation!

 

1.When did you start modeling and what made you move to LA?
This journey started close to 10 years ago when I moved to Los Angeles. I relocated here from the East coast for a number of reasons, but the top one being why not LA?! There’s opportunities, entertainment, fashion, and obviously great weather. A few months after arriving, I started modeling professionally.
2.  What is it like, being a model living in LA?
My experiences as a LA model probably differ so much from what other models say. There are times when I’m running around to tons of castings and auditions, and other times that I’m literally just working on projects of my own like my blog. I’m working around the clock because I love to create.  I will say, it’s kind of cool when people recognize you from the work you do.
3.  When you are not modeling, what are you up to?
I like to live life to its fullest which sometimes means just staying at home with my cat and a latte.
4. I know your faith is very important to you and how you represent yourself. Tell us a bit about that!
Religion and spirituality can be such touchy subjects. But I can honestly say that I wouldn’t be who I am and where I am if I I didn’t have my faith.  There are a number of things that I’m anxious about or afraid of, and believing that a higher power is looking out for me helps me get through.  It allows me to release my stress and anguish. My faith challenges me to push harder even when I’m worn out. I know there is a force bigger than me that unites us all, and that puts my soul at ease.
5.  What is the intersection between the work you do and your faith?
I enjoy putting my heart into my work. If I’m doing it, then I believe in it. While it’s important to earn a paycheck, it’s just as important to have integrity. Sure I can do editorials and ads that are edgy and push the envelope, but it has to have a point. I want to look over my body of work and be proud of what I’ve accomplished instead of being ashamed. Having a strong faith lights my career path for me and allows me to help others through my job.
6. How did you find out about International Princess Project?
I first heard about International Princess Project when photographer Michelle Kim asked if I wanted to model for PUNJAMMIES™. I looked into it, and really fell in love with the message and the mission.
7.  Where does your heart and desire to help end human trafficking come from?
I believe that every human being should have equal opportunities despite age, gender, race, economic status, and all the rest. Unfortunately many of our young girls are not given the same respect and bad people try to strip them of their dignity. If you have a voice, it’s important to speak up for those who can’t.  That’s why I stand behind International Princess™ Project. Someone has to support the victims of human trafficking, and let them know there’s something bigger and better out there for them than the injustices they’ve lived through.  Sharing is caring.
8.  How did you come up with the title of your blog?
The title of my blog came from a place of creativity, strength and empowerment. The word “model” was a given,  but I needed the other half.  I’m a freedom fighter, so I needed a name that reflected that. But it also couldn’t be something that would alienate people. When my friend Sam suggested “liberation” I got chills. I wanted the name of my blog to reflect what I do and who I really am. Just because some may view me as a glorified mannequin, I know that I am so much more.  So with “Model Liberation” it’s not just about fashion and how cool I look in clothes, it’s also about what I do to liberate myself from the j-o-b.  It’s therapy.
9. How do you define beauty?
Beauty has very little to do with physical appearance and more to do with your spirit. Someone can appear to have nice bone structure and a symmetrical face but maybe they’re not beautiful. I think that has a lot to do with the way you live, your personality, and how you treat others. You can be attractive on the outside and a mean person, and to me you’re not beautiful. Beauty is loving yourself and those around you. Beauty isn’t perfection. Beauty is accepting your flaws.

DIY Fabric Origami Box

DIY 8 Cardstock Fabric Box PinJoin us today for some origami, sewing, and fun! Using your PUNJAMMIES™ bag, you can create this cute little knick knack holder for your office desk, or for hair pins. I hand sewed this, which added a good 20 minutes to the project, but if you have a sewing machine, this should take you no more than 7 minutes to complete! Also, if you have always wanted to learn how to make origami, this is your chance!

Don’t forget to head on over to our Youtube Channel, PUNJAMMIES™, and subscribe for more DIYs and behind the scenes looks at our photo shoots.

For Freedom’s Sake,

Christine — Intern and Happy DIYer :)