We had the good fortune of connecting with Karianne Munstedt and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Karianne, what is the most important factor behind your success
The most important factor behind the success of my brand is authenticity. I think that the first word that anyone who knows me/my brand would use to describe it/me is authentic. But I haven’t always been that way. On the other side of authenticity is perfectionism, and for most of my life, the mask of perfectionism was firmly affixed to my face. I was always striving to have more stuff, have more success, be better. But it was unhealthy striving. It was hiding a lot of things about myself that I didn’t like and accept. A few years ago, I looked in the mirror and didn’t like the perfect version of myself that I saw, so I set out to shift the negative perfectionist thoughts to those which were more loving and kind and helped to propel me further in life, rather than hold me back. Every day, I make the choice to be as open and honest about my life – and all of its imperfections – as I can be. I share my stories on social media and with clients. Being photographed and getting coaching are very vulnerable places to be in. By me being real and authentic, it helps my clients open up to me in their photo or coaching sessions, and to accept who they are just as they are in this very moment.
Please tell us more about your business. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today business-wise. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
A few years ago, when I was starting my business and just as I started creating my website and social media accounts, I had a realization that me like a ton of bricks: I needed photos of myself. It caused so much anxiety. I was at my highest weight. I was rarely in photos. I wasn’t worthy of existing in photos. Yet, on the rational side, I knew that I needed them. As the face of my businesses, I knew that to truly connect with my clients, I needed to show them the authentic ME. So I scheduled a session with a photographer who I hoped could take at least one good picture of me. Going into the session, the negative voices in my head were in full blast: They were saying Kari, you’re too fat to be photographed. Kari, no one wants to photograph you. Kari, who do you think you are? But still, I knew I needed to do this. For my business. For me. So I took a deep breath, tuned out the negative voices the best that I could, and went for it. And guess what happened? I had fun! The photographer made me feel at ease and really DID want to photograph me. I left the session holding me head a little higher. And when I saw the final portraits of myself, I saw the real me…not the outer me…the me in my soul…looking back at me, that moment changed everything for me. My confidence went from a 2 to off the charts! Not only did I have authentic photos of myself that I loved that I could put out confidently for my business, but I also knew in that moment that I wanted EVERY WOMAN to have this same experience. To feel the confidence and power like I felt.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
This is so hard to answer because I haven’t been anywhere besides my home and my photography studio for so long! So of course I’d invite my friend to my studio…because it’s really cool… and we’d have some serious fun creating amazing portraits for her. We’d order carry out from a restaurant in downtown Phoenix…there are so many to choose from…probably Mexican so she’d get that flavor of Arizona. Barrio Cafe or La Santisima. We’d go hiking in town, and I’d also take her up north, perhaps to Sedona, for a day trip. Alright, so let’s jump right in! The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there a person, group, organization, book, etc. that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I’d like to dedicate my Shoutout to the organization Athena Valley of the Sun and it’s CEO Dr. Kristine Quade. I’d also like to dedicate it to Michelle Faust of The Lemonade Legend.