I am an artist and a nurturer, fiercely motivated by using my talents to make women feel confident, empowered and whole. Today, I am proudly confident, empowered and whole (and so much more), but I didn’t always feel that way. Allow me to share a little about my journey to become the Karianne I am today.
Growing up with an abusive role model left me filled with fear. I countered this in my teen years by attempting to be perfect – I strived for perfect grades, was an excellent athlete, and an extracurricular overachiever. While I excelled in these areas, something was missing. In the bustle of trying to do everything and trying to do it perfectly, I never took the time to understand who I was. Fast forward to my young adult years, I continued down this path of perfection while also doing all of the things I thought I was supposed to do. This included earning a business degree (MBA) and getting married. I also set my sights on earning a doctorate in higher education leadership. On paper, I was a high achiever who knew what I wanted in life. But in reality, I was lost. My whole body repealed the idea of a doctoral degree as soon as I started down that path. And after I sought the help of a counselor, it didn’t take much time to determine I was in a marriage that didn’t serve me.
This was the start of an awakened journey for me, one that erased the need for perfection and pursuing dreams that weren’t ever mine to begin with. My newfound journey led me to consider becoming a social worker. After getting accepted into one of the top universities for social work and submitting my resignation as Assistant Dean at a local University, I again found myself in a familiar place – a path didn’t feel right. When I was close to packing up and moving to another state for this degree, I met my current husband. Trusting my instinct wholeheartedly, I decided not to chase a social work degree and instead stayed in Arizona to start my new family.
When you go on a spiritual journey, you connect back to the things that brought you joy as a child. For me, this was photography. I was always the child with a camera in hand. It was time for me to pick it up again. I started photographing everyone I knew - family, friends, kids and anyone else - who would let me practice. I discovered not only a rekindled love, but an innate talent to capture a person’s true inner beauty.
My hobby morphed into a career the moment I met my mentor, renowned photographer Sue Bryce, after attending one of her workshops. Putting the principles she taught me into place, I began to build confidence in myself and in my work. She selected me to participate in a educational video series for curvy woman, which helped me better appreciate my own curves and understand what it was like to be on the other side of the camera.
In 2017, I left my full-time corporate job to completely focus on Karianne Munstedt Portrait. When I work with my female clients, I want them to see themselves as the most beautiful person in the room. That isn’t easy for most, so I make our time together feel like a day of pampering and self love. Then, when we’re together, I take my time and wait for their comfort and confidence to blossom. It always comes, and I’m there to capture it with my camera.
When I’m not living my passion of photography, I’m focused on helping women and girls become the best version of themselves. I was recently named President of the Board for Girls Rule Foundation, a nonprofit based in Phoenix that works tirelessly to develop, support and educate teen girls. I’m a wife and proud stepmother to a beautiful 12-year- old girl that I hope to instill my values of confidence and self-acceptance in.