My 5 minutes of fame

Last week I had the crew from NL Supervrouwen TV documenting my team and I for their Me-Time Program. They sent over a gorgeous woman, Sonya Dias, to participate in the Glamour Experience and then share her thoughts about it.

This initiative belongs to Wendy Broersen – she is starting a new online TV program where she talks about women entrepreneurs and their journey; super-women, as she calls them. Some of the names she has interviewed so far are: Ariane Inden, Genevieve van Meerburg, Marielle Sijgers and Louise Beduwe.

I love the idea and the female energy around this. It reminds me of my time being a partner at CRAVE, where we published a book of women entrepreneurs and made an online directory full of awesome businesses, owned by women.

The day went by fast and I was nervous having to talk in front of the camera, having to manage everyone and keep the energy high. Sony was a super-star, she managed to focus and actually relax into it and enjoy the experience fully.

Here are some behind the scenes made by amazing photographer Teresa Hulst from California Girl (CG). 

Make-up by: Lorena Ciubotaru
Styling/Art Direction: California Girl (CG)
Photographer : Cristina Stoian Portraits
Model: Sonya Dias


Here’s the Me-time video that went on to NL Supervrouwen TV. 


And here are my photos that I took of Sonya.


In her real life Sonya is an amazing speaker and presentor, she comes from Cape Verde and lives in Rotterdam. She is so enthusiastic and full of energy, she filled up the whole room with her smile. I photographer her in her capeverdian feather designer dress and various colourful national accessories. She’s magnificent to watch.

Enjoy her beautiful photos!



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Why not exist in photos

I have been photographing women for over half a decade. I can now say that I have heard every excuse one can imagine for women not to step in front of the camera. Why not exist in photos.

  • I’m not good enough
  • I don’t look good on camera
  • I need to lose weight before you take photos of me
  • I HATE having my photo taken
  • I look old nowadays…


During the last years photographing women, I discovered some patterns all women have in common before they decide to have their portrait taken. It is always the same and always baffles me. I do understand it, as I am a woman too, and I wish I can make a difference about it. I will discuss it here, because I think women need to get over it.


1.  I need to lose 25 kilos before I can have my portrait shot taken.


I have been saying that since I was 25. Each year I felt I do not look good enough now. I am too chubby to appear in photos. I had an image in my head about how I was supposed to look, based on how I looked at 14. so I always felt I need to lose weight…and guess what, it never happened. I never manage to lose 25 kilos. Why ? Because I draw myself nearly impossible targets to achieve this and then fail and feel miserable about it. If I look back at my photos of me at 25, I think to myself, I was insane back then. There’s no way I did not look beautiful… and still, inside of me, there was always this little voice that said.. “you don’t look good enough”… do you recognise that ?


My solution: I started taking “selfies” when I turned 28. I’ve started a photo journal of myself for myself. I have been taken photos of me every single week… for 2 years. In each photo, I was trying to show myself in a “beautiful light”. So I learned about posing and lighting. I noticed how my mood changed my photos always, so if I was pleased that day, the photos would look more radiant.. This helped me improve the image I had about myself… and then.. even helped me to lose weight. When I did not think as much about the weight, but as how can I look more beautiful in my next photo, I did miraculously lose 8 kilos. Because 8-10 was really more realistic…


2. What can I do with a portrait


Why do I need a portrait, you must wonder yourself as I did for many years. I was taking photos of other people and it never occurred to me that I should get a portrait done too. And then when I did, I realised why. It is such an incredible gift to yourself. To see yourself the way you are. To be able to show the world who you are. To be able to hold yourself in a printed photo and really admire yourself. It is something so powerful, beyond words. It is something that makes you want to appreciate yourself more and be kind to yourself. It is an experience that touches your soul in powerful ways and it changes you. Once you know why you want it, you will surely know what to do with it. Tips here.


3. I am not ready for this 


Imagine yourself travelling to a foreign country by yourself. How does it feel ? Do you like the fact that there is no person to drag you from your path and that you can see whatever you like to see and go wherever you like to go ? Do you feel free to be able to chose what to do next ?

In my photoshoots I strive to give you the same feeling. We are designing this shoot together, but really you are the one in charge of this journey. It is a journey for you to discover yourself.  I am providing the tools you need for you to shine through. The real you will shine trough. The one that you used to be and now you forgot, the goddess you sometimes felt but now not anymore. Discover where you want to go next and let me help you get there.


4.  I’m too old to have my portrait taken
Nearly all women that come to my photoshoots ask me: can you make me look more younger in the photos? Is there some special light that you can use so my wrinkles appear less?

Yes! your inner special light! Age has nothing to do with your inner light. When your inner light shines, wrinkles have nothing on you. You are more than your body, your skin or your wrinkles. You are now more powerful, witty, deserving. I feel in awe of you and you should be too. Let’s show the world how shiny you really are.


5.  I am not pretty enough


I’m not beautiful enough, I’m not pretty, I’m not good looking…. I hear this over and over again…. and yet… you are! I see the beauty in you how you maybe don’t ever see it. When I talk about your passion, I see your face light up; when I talk about your family, I see you sparkling; when I ask you about your loved ones…you shine so bright . So why not shine when I ask you about you? Why not allow me to show you how beautiful you really are, how I see you when I look at you. If I could only show you how you are in front of my camera, you will change the way you look at yourself… and it’s an experience you won’t forget!



6. It’s too expensive


Paying for a professional photographer is too expensive and I can do it myself with my camera. Why would I pay hundreds of euros to a photographer when I can do it myself.

While that is true, why haven’t you done it till now? I am a portrait photographer and still, arranging everything for a professional portrait, getting my hair and makeup done professionally, creating a mood board for the photoshoot, getting clear what I want to show in a portrait to myself and my family and the world, finding the right outfits for it, get rid of the fear of being in front of the camera, stepping outside the character I show to the world and stepping into myself, the real me, the one I’m afraid to show, clicking the camera away 1000 times till you get the right angle, the right light, the right pose, the right mood or the right connection – I know what it takes. Why haven’t I’ve done all these by myself so far ? Because doing it by yourself is hard.

Knowing this, ask yourself, what is the price you would pay to have a portrait of yourself from when you were in your 20s ? what is the price you would pay to have a beautiful portrait with you and your mother. What would you pay to show your children a portrait of yourself in 20 years from now.


Exist in photographs for your children, for yourself for the people that love you.



“This is not only about you. It’s about the person that one day looks back on a photograph in 20 years time and says, look at these photographs, look what we own, this is more priceless than anything my family could ever buy. This is more priceless than anything I could own. That is what I’m making for you. I’m creating timeless, incredible images that people will cherish for the rest of their lives. One day your children will look for photographs of you, what would they have…  you need to have beautiful photographs, you are good enough to exist in photos.  My job as a portrait photographer is to take the most beautiful photograph you have seen of yourself so that you can cherish this for the rest of your life and your children can love it and enjoy it and it would be more meaningful than anything your family would own… and yes it might cost you a few hundred euros, but trust me, the value of what I am creating for you today is far greater than anything you can ever buy.”


…and you….miss… reading this. feeling safe behind your computer. what stops you from having your portrait taken? Why not exist in photos.  Let me know in the comments below.

It’s Magic

There’s a magic that happens in the studio after the hair and makeup is done and we start shooting. It’s hard to explain it, it’s a connection between me and my model, it’s a click that happens in our eyes, I feel it in my belly and it’s so strong that it gives me energy for the whole shoot. It’s a magic moment that happens around outfit number two, when the client relaxes and starts trusting me completely. I see it over and over again. It’s beautiful and so addictive !

Cristina Stoian Portraits

Cristina Stoian Portraits

The many sides of women

Many women become one-sided in their femininity. They’re used to showing only a certain person to the world. They may have opinions of themselves and their bodies that have grown over the years, often wrongly. They may be used to only being the mother, the career woman, the girlfriend, the daughter. In my shoots, we figure out what side is bursting to come through and, together, we’ll show it.


Sides of women