Celebrating Women: Siouxland photographer builds confidence with Rock Star Model team

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A local photographer has been capturing Siouxlanders’ special moments through her lens for more than 15 years, but KJ Wingert does more than just take pictures of her subjects. Photography by KJ goes the extra mile, building the self-confidence of young women, one picture at a time.

“Photography is kind of my world,” photographer KJ Wingert said.

Wingert has been a professional photographer in Sioux city for more than a decade.

“I truly enjoy doing what I do and I hope that people get some satisfaction out of their photos and that they look at them and they love them for years and years and years,” she said.

But KJ wants her subjects to love more than just their photos, she wants them to find love within themselves.

“In my line of work I see a lot of woman who don’t promote self-love and that’s so hard to see,” she said. “You are beautiful inside and out and that’s what’s most important. That the insides match those outsides. And sometimes you just have to get out of your own head and be like this is who I am. And it’s ok.”

In an effort to promote positive body image and self-confidence in young woman, KJ put together a rock star model team, helping high schoolers find their inner light.

“Highschool Seniors, I think there’s a lack of confidence there and I think that comes with social media and second-guessing how they look and what they wear and what they do and how they act and we really try and promote just be comfortable in your own skin,” she said.

Along with photo shoots and team bonding activities, the Rock Star Model team walks in an annual fashion show that has raised thousands of dollars for local charities. It allows high schoolers to build their self-esteem, while also giving back to the community.

“You’re gorgeous how you are. You don’t need to change anything or act a certain way for anybody you can just be you and that’s cool,” Wingert said.

The Rock Star Model team held their 8th annual fashion show this year, raising nearly $4,000 for the Food Bank of Siouxland. Over the last eight years, the team has raised more than $30,000 for the Siouxland community.

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