We had the good fortune of connecting with Teri Hofford and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Teri, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
The most important factor behind my success has been trusting and betting on myself and following my intuition. I am definitely a visionary thinker, which means I sometimes see where things are going but the world may not be there yet – instead of letting that stop me from pursuing the things, I recognize that if I get there “first” then I become a founder of big movements.
It’s hard to explain, but I just know in my body when an idea is one that NEEDS to happen as opposed to one that would be good if it happened, but isn’t a priority. I think it is a combination of intuition and strategic thinking that can see where trends are forming and then I act on those to create ideas, experiences, and products that serve to fit niches were there is nothing.
I also use this trust to help me transition from different aspects of my job to others – meaning, I don’t get caught up in my “label” or job title – I go where the energy goes!
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
For a long time I was known as Teri 2 Years because I would never “settle” into any profession, relationship, etc. unless I could see myself doing it forever and for a long time I thought this was a bad thing. Now, I realize that it has been that very same desire to never settle for less that has allowed me to grow in the career that I am currently in, accept change in whatever form it takes, and develop resiliency to handle setbacks and see them as opportunities for growth and teaching.
When I first began running my photography business I was doing it haphazardly, but very quickly realized that if I truly wanted to do that for my life I would need to run it as a business FIRST – meaning I had to do my CODB, look at the marketing assets, and move as needed. Over the course of 5+ years I have been able to grow my photography business into an Empowerment Empire which strives to create change inside and outside of the photography industry.
For a few years I struggled with holding tightly to the title of photographer, even when it was no longer serving me. After a bunch of tough love and journalling, I realize that I needed to “go where the energy was” and I began to focus on educating and it reignited my love. I realized my purpose was to create MAXIMUM IMPACT and as a sole person I could only do so much, but if I could teach and educate others to fulfill a similar mission of body diversity I would have a much bigger impact.
Challenges I faced at the time seemed like I would never get through them, but guess what, I did – because life doesn’t stop because your hard drive broke, you forgot a client appointment, or you have to pay more taxes than you anticipated. You figure it out, you learn, and you adapt.
When I first started doing Empowerment Photography, no one was photographing bodies like mine: fat. I realized how screwed up this was, considering that fat people have amazing stories just like straight sized people and yet, the only way we would be showing up in history is as “headless fatties for the obesity epidemic” (insert eye roll) or as the punch line in a romcom. I wanted to show women who looked like me that they were worthy of being documented and from there it expanded into photographing ALL the bodies because at the end of the day, it was never about the bodies. About 2 years into the photography aspect, I started to study the psychology and science behind body image and expanded my work to include BODY IMAGE BOOTCAMP workshops to help folks understand their body image issues and stories more. From there, I went to school for Positive Psychology to help people with the mindset aspect and then just recently published my first self help book The Geode Theory: Chipping Away At Body Image.
I never want to limit the methods through which I can affect people and help them adopt a mindset of curiosity, compassion, empathy, and education. So, now I educate photographers through my everyBODIES education platform and The Boudoir University platform which strives to bring ethics to the vulnerable genre of boudoir photography and I educate/work with clients through my photography & writing.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
HAHAHA! We would stay at my house, go for walks outside, hang out at my studio, get delivery. If we HAD to go somewhere, I would take my friend to my mom’s cabin and hang out in nature. Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Paulo Coehlo’s book The Alchemist was the thing that REALLY started me on striving for fulfillment despite what societal norms dictate.
My mom Wendy Hofford (@whofford on insta!), a leadership & strategic consultant, has always been in my corner with tough love, teaching moments, and wisdom to help me learn how to critically think, trust my gut, and develop a keen sense of self awareness.