Chestnut featured in ‘Belly Art Project’ book
By Alaina Denean Deshazo | The Selma Times-Journal
Alicia Roye Chestnut has been modeling as a hobby for many years but in March she had a gig unlike any other.
“When I was about 8-months pregnant, I came across this opportunity to be featured in this coffee table book, featuring about 100 different mothers to be,” Chestnut said.
Chestnut modeled for the book, “The Belly Art Project” by Sara Blakely, which partnered with Christy Turlington Burns’ non-profit organization Every Mother Counts. The organization raises money for expectant mothers to help them have a healthy pregnancy and birth.
“It’s a great project. It’s really a movement about mothers supporting other mothers and really just highlighting the fact that a lot of women around the world, they don’t have the same resources that we do,” Chestnut said. “If we can give back to mothers in any kind of way, we really should.”
Chestnut said modeling has been her hobby for a long time, but this photo shoot meant more to her than any other.
“I’ve been modeling for a long time … So of course when I got pregnant, I wanted to find a project that was worthwhile during my pregnancy and something that would capture the moment and something that I could hold on forever,” Chestnut said.
“To me, this is my favorite photo shoot that I did, with honoring myself and my little baby that wasn’t even born yet, and this was my very first child.”
Chestnut said having her baby, Cadence, has helped her realize how important it is to give back to other mothers and appreciate motherhood.
“[The book] means a lot to me. Until I became pregnant myself, I don’t think I really appreciated motherhood,” Chestnut said. “It’s really good to have an appreciation for motherhood, and it also made me want to be even more responsible to help out other mothers.”
According to Chestnut, the project was officially launched Tuesday.
Chestnut said 100 percent of the proceeds go towards Every Mother Count.
The book can be found at bellyartproject.org, and Chestnut said she hopes that the project will inspire other expectant mothers to paint their bellies and put them on social media by tagging @sarablakely and #bellyartproject.
“It was amazing. It’s still amazing because it’s really unfolding now. We did the work upfront, with the photo shoot. But it was an amazing experience. It has become a community of women,” Chestnut said. “The more books that we sell, the more funds that are raised to help mothers in need.”