An engaged couple never imagined that pictures from their loving photo shoot would garner so much attention.
Stephanie and her fiancé Arryn (who requested their last names be withheld) posed for a boudoir photo series with Bria Terry of Wolf & Rose Photography. In the photos, the Overton, Texas-based couple hug and kiss by a lake. Stephanie had on a backless, strapless bra and bathing suit bottoms, while Arryn went shirtless and wore jeans.
During the shoot Stephanie tells PEOPLE, she “never felt more confident and beautiful.”
“I’ve always loved this style and how confident the women look in the photos,” she says. “It’s something Arryn and I have talked about doing before. We were just lucky enough that Bria was needing a courageous enough couple to take them. I honestly wasn’t nervous. I was more excited than anything. Arryn has never made me feel like my body is something to hide. He always loves me, no matter how I look.”
After being posted on Facebook, the photos went viral.
“It was completely unexpected,” says Stephanie, who is about 20 weeks pregnant. “I thought there would be a few comments or likes for doing something out of our comfort zone, but never did I think it would be like this. The feedback has been amazing.”
However, in addition to messages praising Stephanie’s body positivity, she received one, unexpected blow. She alleges she was fired from her job at a bank because of the photos.
“It was told to me that they believed I had violated their Code of Ethics and Conduct, that I had signed when I was hired,” says Stephanie, who was also told she was a “work distraction” since other employees were showing each other the photos while at the office. “It states that every employee should act in a professional manner on and off the clock while being employed with the bank. They said that being ‘topless’ was not family appropriate nor something that they wanted to be a representation of the bank.”
Stephanie, who worked at the company for a little over a year and recently received a promotion, says she tried to defend herself, but to no avail.
“I tried to argue their points, saying that what I do in my time is completely separate from my professional life; that I wasn’t actually topless; and that I cannot be blamed for actions of other employees. I could tell during our discussion that their minds were already made up,” she says.
Although she admits to being “sad” she was was let go, she is happy to move forward.
“Even if I had known the outcome, I would have still done the photo shoot. If it helps one person feel better about themselves, it’s more than worth it,” she says. “To have so many people tell me that I have inspired them, is beyond words. This kind of thing doesn’t happen to women like me. I am a normal person who wanted to have an intimate boudoir session with the man I love. I am so blessed to be apart of all this.”