Emerge Photoshoot

Emerge photoshoots celebrate the courage of survivors of domestic violence. Survivors are styled, pampered, and photographed as a part of the healing process. The entire Emerge Team (photographers, stylists, make-up artists, assistants) is committed to a celebratory experience and showing each model their inner and outer beauty.

Beauty is empowering and beauty strengthens the resolve to be a strong survivor. 

We capture this beauty as a part of the solution to end DV. Stunning images of courageous survivors highlight the possibility of a life free from violence. Emerge shows that there is happiness and success after abuse and inspires victims to reach for help. It uses art to spread a message of hope from the artists and survivors to those who feel trapped in an abusive situation. Emerge models are proof that there is a way out. 

Models are chosen for the Emerge Photoshoots by an officer of the Choose Courage Foundation and the lead photographer for the session. Survivors of all cultural backgrounds, body types, and birthdays who would like to help break the shame surrounding domestic violence are encouraged to apply. The images are used in domestic violence awareness campaigns and are run in cities across the United States and continually in the Dallas / Fort Worth area. Models will be notified when Emerge is coming to a city nearby.


ANGELA – Survivor

“I hope my images tell others that you never know what a person has or may be going through. Always be opened minded and remember no victim planned to be abused, no victim is stupid, every victim loved just like others loved.”

ANDREA – Survivor

“Even after healing from your abuse you can forget the beauty that you have inside. It can become hard to trust others with that beauty so that you become hardened. If you allow yourself to trust, let go and “flutter” there is a strength and beauty within that is stronger and it becomes you.”

GINA – Survivor

“Being a survivor means I have endured. There were things that happened to me that were unjust and unfair. I choose to not be mistreated anymore. I have found my way and overcome great obstacles.”

CRYSTAL – Childhood Survivor

“I can empower others to heal and inspire hope.”

ADELE – Survivor

“I want to inspire other women that loving yourself is not vanity but sanity.”

TRACI – Survivor

“I feel as if I have been reborn. I love who I am now and proud of who I have become.”

ANGELENNA – Survivor

“You can choose courage or you can choose comfort. Nothing in life worth anything is ever comfortable. You can do this. I hear you, I see you, and I believe in you!”

KELLY – Survivor

“It is easy to bury the past once you consider yourself healed. I want to be that light, that hand reaching out to someone else in a time of need.”

LILLIAN – Survivor

“Being a survivor means overcoming everything. I got out of a terrible situation and made a life for myself. I defeated the voice in my head saying I wasn’t good enough.”

GENA – Survivor

“Being a survivor means freedom. Freedom to live the life God designed for me. Freedom to follow my dreams. Freedom to make my own choices and make my own mistakes. All these things make me who I am.”

SHANNON – Survivor

“Abuse is not love. Hurting someone you love is not normal and it’s not ok. There are many options for help and the people who love you want to help you.”

DEANNA – Survivor

“Leaving my abuser what the hardest thing I’ve done. But if I can do it, then another woman can also.”

LORIE – Survivor

“I am still here, I am fierce and nothing will stop me from being happy and continuing to move forward.”

MICHELLE – Survivor

“I felt beautiful inside and out from that day forward.”

CAROLINA – Survivor

“I hope to show others that there is a way out and that one’s life can be fulfilled with joy and happiness.”

LATASHA – Survivor

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GARY – Childhood Survivor

“I’m standing up for anyone exposed to Domestic Violence. I hope people see someone who has overcome the psychological barriers of Domestic Violence and has become a leader and a dad despite my abusive father.”

DIANA – Survivor

“I’ve come a long ways from doing that photo shoot and to where I am now. You always continue to keep moving forward in life. I started college again and plan on completing my degree and helping Veterans in some capacity. The support of family and friends is overwhelming and where I am in life now, I am pretty blessed.”

CHRISSY – Survivor

“I am not defined by what someone else did to me. I am defined by my own actions.”

ANGIE – Left Behind

“There has been much sadness the last few years. The photo shoot for me represented putting a face to all those that are left behind when a loved one is lost to intimate partner violence.”

Modeling in honor of her daughter.

ALYSSA – Advocate

“Watching my best friend go through it, I think that it has taught me and my friends what we are worth as women and even if it is the hardest thing to do we cannot accept violence from a man. That is just simply not love by God’s own definition. After seeing and hearing stories from everyone I am in awe of their mental strength and I respect them so much!”

AIDA – Survivor

“Life after being hurt by the person you believe is the love of your life will always take choices. We can choose the road of forgiveness and love or the road of pain and misery, I chose the road of forgiveness several years ago.”

CHRISTIE – Survivor

“I would encourage anyone in the cycle of abuse to reach out to someone.”

MELISSA – Advocate + CCF Board Member

“There is power in taking a stand for others. God calls us to love our neighbors and this is a cause that communicates love. I’m standing up for the voiceless, the powerless, and the oppressed.”

DANYELLE – Survivor of Teen Dating Violence

“Love yourself…choose yourself…the power is yours to change your situation. Focus on your hopes, hold on tight to your faith, and dig deep for the courage to reach out for help.”

CANDACE – Survivor

“I feel grateful to be a part of something greater than myself. The women in this group have been tested in their pasts that have led to wonderful testimonies for others. Without our sufferings we cannot reach out and help others; those who are still suffering abuse and those who are still healing.”

BRI – Survivor

“To me being a survivor means having the courage to get out and move on with our lives.”

CHRIS – Childhood Survivor

“My mom was a beautiful soul and she lost her battle with domestic violence and fear. But in the short time that I knew her as the most beautiful woman in the world, she passed love onto me.”

JACEY – Survivor

“I want to bring awareness to domestic violence.  We are not a statistic, we are someones mom, sister, someones friend.”

PAMELA – Survivor

“I found the courage and strength to leave. I am healing and finding myself again. Life is a beautiful blessing!”

JANET – Survivor

“You don’t know what’s on the other side.  There is always light at the end of that tunnel that seems so long and so dark.  Just as a beautiful butterfly emerges from it’s cocoon  into beauty into freedom, so does a survivor.”

CHRISTY – Survivor

“When I’m having a bad day or find myself dwelling in the past, I go to work-out and I’m completely transported to a whole other place. My focus is entirely on the current task and it makes me forget that I even have a past. Working out gives me goals and new success stories to tell.”

BAY – Survivor

“I no longer feel weakened by this part of my life. I can’t wait to see how Emerge touches the rest of the world.”

DIANA – Survivor

“My wish is that my courage gives someone the strength to get help. My dream is that this will inspire others to help those in need, so they may find that strength and courage also.”

FAITH – Survivor

“Working with this project has solidified my God-given purpose – to help women who feel stuck and hopeless, to see their true beauty and potential. From victim to Survivor. From survivor to advocate.”

KRISTEN – Survivor

“Fitness was the first step I took in my healing without even fully understanding that I had taken a step forward. My fitness community surrounded me with a group of incredibly positive people that cared for and believed in me. And in the process of becoming physically stronger I began to see how incredibly strong I am overall.”

FELICIA – Survivor

“Forever chasing her dreams, she Evolves everyday in Love. an Inquisitive being of life, she Carries passion In her soul And heartfelt WORDS on her hip.”

MARSHA – Survivor

“Moving forward is the best way to go.  All you can do is keep trying.”

APRIL – Survivor

“It broke down the walls I’ve had up that told me I am ugly and fat and not worthy and unloved and unwanted and instead replaced it with feelings of beauty and Grace and a powerful strength and bravery that is inside of me I never knew existed. I am blessed to be called a survivor.”

MARION – Survivor

“It was at that moment, I realized…. I had EMERGED!  I had emerged into a beautiful, ever growing butterfly.  While my past had created fears and phobias and a very fragile woman, today I live without limits.”

KAYLYN – Left Behind

“I was drawn to the CCF because domestic violence has impacted my family for generations and I have witnessed, first hand, it’s long-term effects. I hope that I can use my experiences to inspire others to have the courage to break the cycle and change the course of their lives.”

Modeling in honor of her grandmother.

JESS – Survivor

“Domestic violence is not something to be ashamed of. Beauty can come after something so dark. There is light after the darkness.”

LAURA – Survivor

“Be strong, there is nothing wrong with seeking help and guidance to get out of the violence.”

LINDA – Survivor

“I would tell them run, don’t walk.  Get away because you can make it.”

MEREDY – Survivor

“I am drawn to CCF because I have great empathy for survivors of domestic violence. As a teacher, I have witnessed the horrific consequences of growing up in an environment where domestic violence is present.”

MARCIA – Survivor

“I am happy and safe and I can be a beautiful hot mess without fear of judgment or pain. I am completely free to be me and smile about it…even laugh about it. I have emerged.”

MELISSA – Survivor

“There truly is that defining moment when a choice is made and you have to courageously move forward.”

MISSY – Survivor

“Letting go of resentments and letting go of the past.  To move forward to be in a healthier and happier place.”

PAULISSA – Survivor

“We can recover and we can go on. There is a certain beauty in survival.”

STELLA – Survivor

“I felt a sense of relief as if a piece of me was “healed.” It was not just a photo shoot for me; this was a life changing experience that I could share with the world of not only my past hurts and pains, but my current and future triumphs as well.”

RONI – Survivor

“Domestic violence needs to be more addressed and people need to know that there are options to leave an unsafe relationship and that they have inner strength.”

TAMARA – Survivor

“I would say that starting over isn’t the worse thing in the world.  Once you get away from that situation that’s when you will see how unhealthy the relationship was.”

TAMMY – Left Behind

“In life and in fitness, strength is developed through practice, patience and pushing our limits. If we never reach outside our comfort zone, we’ll never expand our comfort zone. Sometimes tragedy forces us out.”

Modeling in honor of her sister.

VIRGINIA – Survivor

“I thought for so long I was the only one who went through this experience.  I would have welcomed another person to tell me that what happened to me was not a reflection of who I am.  I want all victims to know that what others do to us should not take away from who we are and how we see ourselves.”

DONNA – Survivor

“My smile reflects true happiness and I reclaimed my freedom to enjoy life. There is beauty on the other side of darkness.”

ALLISON – Survivor

“I have always wanted to find a way to help other domestic violence victims become survivors. I want to tell them that they should not be ashamed of what happened to them.”

BRENDA – Survivor

LISA – Survivor

“Being a survivor means living a better life in spite of what has happened in your past.”

KIMBERLY – Survivor

“Face the fear, make the change, get away and start a new journey! It will amaze you how much better your life will be.”

GALEN – Survivor

“At first I was very nervous about telling my story. In my communities DV isn’t something that is talked about. This very mindset made me want to write my book about my experiences.”

JOHN & ELIZABETH – Childhood Survivor, Survivor

Married 5 years the day of their photoshoot!

“To me being a survivor means overcoming any misery, any downs life can throw at you.” – John

“Being a survivor is one of the hardest things I’ve ever been labeled, but I am a warrior and I wear that label like armor.” – Elizabeth

KAMILLAH – Survivor

“I thought modeling for Emerge Philly would be a great opportunity to show survivors that they don’t have to be a victim of their circumstances.”

JENNIFER – Survivor

“I have come a long way and with the help and love of others I am stronger and healthier than I ever have been in my life.”

MEGAN – Survivor

“Most of all I want to inspire someone to find that inner strength to move on and forward with their life.”

SARA – Childhood Survivor

“Being a survivor gives me the responsibility to help others and do my part to be a part of the change.”

TASHA – Survivor

“It means my life matters to me.”

MELISSA – Survivor

“I want to help counter the stereotype of what a survivor acts or looks like.”

LACEY – Survivor

“Talk to someone. Now.”

LEETA – Survivor

“I want you to be able to look at my picture and know you can move on and be happy.”

AURORA – Survivor

“You need to find for yourself that you are worth a lot and you are important for your family, children, friends and this society.”

DIANA – Survivor

“A survivor doesn’t just survive, we survive, we become stronger, and then we dive back in to help others.”

VERONICA – Childhood Survivor

“As childhood survivors it’s up to us to break the chain of domestic violence through creating a different person within ourselves.”