I’m not pretty. Well, I should clarify. I have never thought of myself as pretty. I’m not the gal that walks into a room and people turn their heads toward my blinding beauty.

I’m the gal that trips and makes a scene as she walks into a room, and people turn their heads to stare.

Nowadays, I don’t even worry about who is more pretty than me.

I worry about which kid left a back-pack at school. I worry about why one of my kid remembers sports trivia facts and can’t remember one spelling word for the oral test tomorrow. I worry about normal mom things: mortgage, coffee, half and half for the coffee, cat food, dog food, who has clean clothes, who ate lunch, and if we ate dinner, wait – do we even have food?

I rarely think about myself. I mean, I have a job and I get to the job reasonably close to “on time” (20 minutes late). I often feel like I’ve been running, not driving, to my job. I arrive breathless, windblown hair (it’s 3 day old hair, tossed around in our violent desert windstorms), and mostly caffeinated wearing half of the coffee on my blouse and pants.

I don’t look in mirrors. I know the reflection I will see. Freaky, wild blonde hair, bags the size of the infamous Crescent City (New Orleans) under my eyes, and most likely, smeared mascara decorating the edges of those gigantic bags under my eyes. Lipstick? Questionable. I wear it if I can find it in the bottom of my purse (or is it on the floor boards of the car)?

You get the picture. Well, maybe you don’t. Maybe you’re put together, with beautiful hair and makeup, kids that listen and do as their told (the first time!) and have pressed, wrinkle-free business casual clothes that make you look slimmer!

I’ve been a runner for a long time. Even though my body wasn’t runner skinny, I was able to handle a 13.1 miler for training and still bike and skate board with my kids when it was over. 

A while back I got tired of being and looking tired. The running just wasn’t doing it for me. I knew I needed a change, but what?

On a friends’ Facebook Post, I saw a local photographer holding a contest for local women to participate in a photoshoot similar to the “Dove beauty campaign”.

This was a photoshoot contest to help discover the “Beautiful Women in New Mexico.”

The photographers holding this contest are the amazing Lindsay and Kyle Hartsock of The Hartsocks’ Photography.

                Through a small biography, other fans of their facebook page and Lindsay and Kyle chose finalists to be photographed in their “Real Women of New Mexico”  photo shoot.

                I’m a risk taker. I submitted a bio thinking I’ll never get picked!


I was picked to be photographed IN UNDERPANTS AND A TANK TOP! Because, when you get photographed for a beauty campaign, that’s what you wear: NEARLY NOTHING!

The mantra of the photo shoot was that beauty comes in all shapes, sizes, colors, widths, heights, and styles. The women in that photo shoot are some of the bravest women I had the honor of meeting. Many were just as nervous and just as shocked that a group of people looked at the selfie submitted and thought they were beautiful.

Let me tell you, getting photographed in your underpants is humbling.

But when you are surrounded by other women in their underpants, you realize the beauty of the women around you.

Then you realize that you are in that group.

And that you are beautiful, too.

WineJazz-3 (2)

Deb Burke

I grew up in the picturesque town of Madison, Wisconsin. That's the only normal thing about me. I also grew up in a family shoe repair business and soon learned that child labor laws don't apply to family businesses. I left Madison to finish college in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Here I became a spelunker, a cyclist, a mountain trail runner, an avid hot air balloon watcher (much to the dismay of the drivers behind me) and quite the connoisseur of green chili cheese burgers. Eventually, I fell in love, had 2 children, bought a house, and then got married (in that order). Life is certainly crazy keeping up with my two boys!