Allie Monday from Lady Groove is one of our favourite Boudoir Photographers at the moment. Her photos of women document a loving relationship between body and self. Her photos are raw, honest and incredibly sexy.
We chatted to Allie about her pleasure food, pleasure vices, best pleasure investment under 100$ and what it’s like to be “Ladygrooved”. Most importantly Allie shared with us her best relationship advice based on a 10 year relationship with her husband Levi.
Did we already mention that her smile is contagious?
1. What turns you on to life at the moment? What gets you excited to wake up each morning?
My husband reaching over to pull me close to him in the bed. The feel of the grass on my feet and the last moments of warmth in our Fall. Sitting on our new deck with a cup of hot water and a book (currently reading a book called Grounded). Going on walks. The thought of giving a surprise gift to a friend. My monstera plant. The feeling of fresh and super soft panties on my skin after taking a salt bath. The feel of my cat's fur. The feeling of peeing. It's such a fantastic release.
2. Best pleasure investment of under 100 USD?
I bought a water based heating pad and I cannot describe the pleasure and comfort it brings to me. I take it to dinner parties. Not kidding. I haven't invested in a lot of sex toys. But I'll take them if you want to send them ALL my way:)
3. What is the best/useful sex advice you ever received?
David Deida said something to the effect of "Don't focus on having a latin lover. Focus on having someone who is willing to connect." I mean, it'd be nice to have a lover who fills every criteria known to man but it isn't realistic in my opinion. Prioritising when it comes to sex has been an important factor for me to stay satisfied and realistic. Learning to be as patient with your lover AND with yourself has been a challenge for me. I think it's valuable to not always get what we want when we want it how we want it every single time. Focusing on what I do have instead of what I don't is a lesson I continue to learn in sex and in other.
4. Who are some women/muses whom you'd love to photograph.
Women I'd love to photograph are Helena Bonham Carter & Michelle Obama. I'd cry. Helena Bonham Carter feels wild to me and Michelle feels mysterious and so powerful. Also, myself. Not in a self portrait type of way but in a way that I could interact with myself. I feel like I have a knack for discovering deep parts of women and I'd like to be able to explore those same parts of myself while not being myself.
5. Please share with us one self-care practice?
Movement. Whether it be yoga, free dance, or a walk...I must move.
6. What is your favourite part about your job?
Hands down when a woman expands in love for her body. When we take the part that she doesn't feel comfortable with, photograph it, and her acceptance expands through that photograph...that is fucking gold. Also feel stoked when I figure out a new lighting technique.
7. What kind of clothes makes you feel the sexiest/confident?
I LOVE clothes. I remember when I was 6 and my mom let me pick out my own outfit for our family photos and I felt empowered for the first time in my life. Like I was unstoppable. I love an outfit that is tailored to fit my body well, that makes my eyes pop, and that passes for a good combo of classy meets Paris Fashion Week. And red lipstick makes feel so powerful.
8. Your best pleasure breakfast recipe/meal.
I'll eat a charcuterie board at all times of the day, breakfast included. If that's not available give me huevos rancheros and a slice of chocolate peanut butter pie.
9. What do you find incredibly erotic that others necessarily do not?
Sit ups. I remember being in a dance class doing sit ups when I was 10 and asking the other girls "Do you feel that in your vagina?" and they were like "no." And I was like "Bummer because it feels great!"
10. Would you ever be open in photographing men? Why? Or why do you work primarily with women?
I work primarily with women because structure and boundaries allow me to be the most creative I can be. I can get overwhelmed easily and the thought of doing what I do with women has been challenge enough much less having to add in learning about expressing men. I think both (all) genders experience body shaming, dysmorphia, unrealistic stereotypes, etc and all of us have a need to connect with our body in a new and empowering way but I just don't have the space to learn about how to empower men right now. I also think there is something very powerful about a woman empowering a woman. I think the dynamic would change if I were empowering straight men and I'm just not interested in that dynamic right now. Eventually I think I'll expand to include men but good grief there is so much to explore with women that I don't have the mental space to incorporate others right now. And in all truth I don't feel completely safe right now to open my work up to men.
11. Do you have any naughty pleasure vices?
I try not to think of things in terms of naughty. I grew up with a lot of shame around sex and pleasure so I try to view desire as good or as neutral. That being said nothing too out of the ordinary. I like to be held like a baby. Always have. My grandma holds me like a baby and when I can get my friends to hold me like a baby I'll take that too. Fetal position and being rocked is my jam. So basically I'm saying my pleasure vice is being held like a baby hahahaha.
12. Most common question you are asked by potential photoshoot clients?
People like to know what the process of Ladygroove is. How's this gonna go? When do I get naked? Who picks out the clothing? What happens if I'm on my period and I bleed on your stool? I've never done a professional photo shoot before so what do I do with my hands and face? People just want to know ALL THE THINGS. It's kinda like drugs you can't explain it to someone unless they've experienced it. But SO many women say after the shoot time and time again "That was WAY easier than I thought it was going to be and I can't wait to do it again".
13. What are your tips for women who are coming over for photoshoot with you?
Women want to know that they are "doing it right." When I tell my clients that they can't mess up being Ladygrooved, that the woman before them also required a sweat rag, and that their body and personality are exactly as they need to be, they tend to relax. Often times things come up for my clients emotionally or physically right before they shoot. I kinda think its the universes way of saying "You don't have to be perfect. Now go have some goddamn fun even though your ass just broke out and your childhood trauma just resurfaced for the 80 millionth time." Also, champagne.
14. A few things you've learnt to do/be in order to thrive in a long-term committed relationship.
I think I could write a book on this one day. I've been in a 10 year committed relationship to my husband Levi. He's a gem. And sometimes I want to sling him across the room in a very non sexual way. We've been in therapy for the entirety of our marriage and although progress is made that shit doesn't get much easier. "Stay on your own page" is an overall helpful idea. Focus on your own shit and not theirs. Take responsibility for your own feelings and DON'T try to take responsibility for theirs. Comparison will kill you. Relationships are so very very different and its easy to look at someone else and say "oh my god your partner does or doesn't do that or this??" and then compare it to yours. But you have to remember that there are things that your partner offers that theirs does not.
There is no perfect partner. In my opinion your partner was not meant to meet all of your needs. This came as a giant explosive surprise to me and is something I still struggle to accept. Speaking of accept, radical acceptance of the partner you chose is absolutely necessary. You can't have a little of this old person you dated, and a little of this new person you just met, and a lot of this person you have built up in your mind. That's fantasy in a negative way and can cause a lot of damage.
We've been really fortunate to grow together and not a part. We both went from extremely conservative to liberal/moderate during our partnership together. We both went from conservative religiously to having a more expansive world view during our partnership together. That happened at different times and different speeds and hadn't always felt nice and happy. We worked together for 5 years which I would only recommend with great caution but I think we allowed it to create intimacy fast. We are hellaciously honest. We've both grown out of a lot of shame during our partnership which took a lot of bloody, painful work. We've learned to give the other person space to explore themselves within boundaries even if it causes the other partner to have fear. We knew NOTHING about boundaries until 3-4 years ago. We spend a lot of intentional time working on our relationship and problem solving until it's what we want. We had no clue that things wouldn't just all naturally fall into place like the movies. We try to use non-violent communication (even though I've totally thrown a cup through the wall) and I am currently super working on not personalising his emotions, desires, moods, etc.
He ultimately doesn't make me happy. I choose my own happiness. And I can allow this relationship to bring out my own points of growth or I can stay pissed and disconnected. Lastly, it's been a relationship muscle builder to communicate your needs in a ‘non-blamey' kind of way. And if that person can't meet that specific need at the time you can be creative in finding that need to be met elsewhere for a season that stays in the boundaries of your relationship.
15. Things currently happening in the photography field which you are most excited about?
I'm seeing more women get interested in the technical/lighting side of photography and this makes me feel so jazzed. I am not naturally technically-minded (or at least that part of my brain hasn't always been utilised) so it took a lot for me to delve into lighting. Learning to light an image has been one of the absolute most empowering parts of being a photographer. I can control a shoot not only based on my creativity but based on my technical and problem solving skills and this makes me feel like I can fly.