Over the last few months, the VUE by SEK team has been interviewing ladies in the D.C. area to highlight their view on life, work and creativity. Originally from Panama and a world-traveled Army brat, Leah Beilhart's life and work covers 20 countries and 200,000+ miles across the United States. She's been published and recognized as a change-maker and social impact innovator in Washington, D.C. by Mayor Muriel Bowser. Read below to learn more about Leah’s photography career and her everyday style.
1.Introduce yourself! Tell us about yourself and your business.
I'm a proud military brat who's been blessed to see many corners of the earth, where travel and culture has immensely influenced my core values and professional work. As a portrait photographer and community leader, I've grown to be recognized for my intimate portraiture with women. I focus on telling their story and provide services with intention, love, and understanding. I've learned over time as both a photographer and a woman, that women tend to loathe their bodies. My work integrates a level of education; teaching the women I work with to fall in love with themselves again and that they have permission to look at themselves in admiration. We work together to detach shame and guilt and replace it with pride and honor.
2. What brought you to start a career as a photographer?
My camera is but a mere tool. There will always be photographers that will exceed my abilities. What I think makes me a strong photographer is my ability to connect and break through walls most people put up when a camera is pulled out. I love listening and "seeing" that person in front of me, even when they believe that they have nothing of value to contribute in that given time and space. When I saw a photograph of myself during a service project I was a part of in the Czech Republic, I was moved to tears from the joy that was captured of me. From there I realized how powerful photography was and it propelled me into this passion. However, I went various routes for college. My Bachelors focused on Art Therapy, supporting children with disabilities, and my Masters was in Journalism. My love for both helping people and sharing stories, morphed into using my camera to be another extension of storytelling.
3. What’s your VUE? Tell us about your signature, everyday style.
Comfort is key, though I break it in the evening if I want to go out. I don't want to go as far as saying that my style is "minimalistic" but I enjoy simple, curated pieces that fit loosely on my body. I love shopping at vintage boutiques, like Kaleidos, or ethical brands based overseas in Australia. It allows me to choose pieces that make me feel unique, confident, and able. You'll catch me wearing high waisted jeans and an oversized blouse, rocking my curls and red lipstick. If I'm shooting or out for an event, I'll always roll up in something sleek with heels. I love a good pair of earrings, especially when I'm wearing something that isn't very punchy. If it's an editing day at home, it's hard to pull me out of my sweat pants.
4. What are you looking forward to this winter season?
Tea, the sound of leaves crunching under my shoes, and the smell of burning wood.
5. How did you choose your custom VUE by SEK earring pairing?
Because I wear neutral clothing, I tend to find pieces that will both compliment and stand out. The blue was an easy choice - like finding your go-to pair of jeans that will match with everything.