A plus-size — and reportedly pregnant — woman who went viral for a body-positive photo shoot with her fiancé says the steamy session caused her to be fired from her job.
Stephanie and Arynn (who prefer to not have their last names used) are a newly engaged couple from Overton, Texas, and recently posed for a sweet photo shoot, which went viral for its celebration of body love.
Shot by Wolf & Rose Photography, the images show a topless Stephanie straddling Arynn, the couple standing knee-deep in water, and the two kissing passionately. A couple of weeks ago, the photos were posted to Wolf & Rose’s Facebook page, where they received 66,000 reactions and thousands of comments that called the couple “beautiful” and inspired others to feel comfortable in their own skin.
“I honestly have never felt more attractive,” Stephanie told HuffPost about the shoot. “I was so nervous to see the final result. I didn’t know what to expect. But when I saw the album, I was shocked. I look so in love and confident. Every person should be able to see themselves in that light. It is really eye-opening.”
However, on Friday, Stephanie told BuzzFeed that her employer, Austin Bank Texas, expressed concern about the images — and went so far as to let her go.
“They said I was topless, and it was inappropriate and we’re a family-oriented company,” Stephanie told the publication, adding, “There was no defending myself, they had made their decision. I gave over a year to a company that I worked really hard for and then to have them turn on me for doing something so positive, something that I was so proud of — to help myself as a woman — it was hurtful. People were pulling out their phones at work and showing the pictures and that was blamed on me.”
A bank representative told Yahoo Lifestyle that, per HR policy, it doesn’t comment on personnel matters. However, the story has been gaining traction on Twitter, where one person wrote in part, “Men get modeling contracts when their pics go viral…”
Yahoo Lifestyle could not reach Stephanie and Arryn for comment, but Bria Terry of Wolf & Rose Photography tells Yahoo Lifestyle that Stephanie has already landed a new job. “It’s hard because Stephanie is 20 weeks pregnant and she isn’t yet eligible for paid maternity leave or health insurance,” she says.
On Friday, Terry penned a Facebook post in support of the couple, which read, “I completely understand that it is perfectly within the company’s rights to terminate someone. Texas is an at will state, and legally her employer did nothing wrong, but I cannot help but wonder how a company who claims to uphold family values can morally terminate an otherwise model employee who is 20+ weeks pregnant with her first child. Their decision not only stripped her of her insurance which is without a doubt a major necessity while pregnant, but also her paid maternity leave.”
Thank you BuzzFeed for sharing this story! I completely understand that it is perfectly within the company's rights to…
“Stephanie doesn’t regret doing the shoot,” Terry tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “She said if it helped even one person feel more confident, it was worth it.”
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