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  • Writer's pictureMorgan Short

Mary Castillo - Boudoir Photographer Champions Inclusivity and Self-Love Through Art and Social Media

Updated: Apr 28

Behind Mary Castillo’s lens, every shot is more than a photo. It’s a stand for inclusivity, a courageous act of self-love, and a challenge to the tired stereotypes cluttering up art and social media. 

Mary is a renowned boudoir photographer and educator who hosts workshops, speaks at events, and captures photos that empower people to embrace their bodies and elevate their self confidence. She joined us for episode 8 of Art is the New Wall Street to chat all about her journey to finding photography, building and promoting her business, and championing inclusivity and self-love through her work.

Life as a stay-at-home mom was the nudge Mary needed to carve out something that was unmistakably and dinstinctly hers. Borrowing a camera from her partner, she began capturing life around her—families, couples, you name it, in Colorado. Eventually, a client came along, wondering if Mary had experience shooting boudoir. She hadn’t, but was absolutely up for giving it a shot. The session was a hit. The sheer joy and sky-high confidence she saw in her first client was all she needed to know that this was it. She had found her niche.

Finding Community and Mentorship in Minnesota

After some time in Colorado, Mary moved back to Minnesota where she is originally from. There’s an incredible, tight-knit boudoir and photography community in Minnesota. She found her tribe and a mentorship that seemed written in the stars. Winning a mentorship with her boudoir photography idol, Ashley Jackson, was the kickstart to what turned into a booming business and a ride-or-die friendship. Now, they’re jet-setting across North America with FEYRE Workshops, teaching other photographers everything there is to know about the warm and gentle side of boudoir photography. 

The Importance of Inclusivity in Art

Mary's emphasizes that boudoir is for everyone. Her process dismantles the idea that you need to fit a mold to celebrate your body. Mary's studio is a judgment-free zone where every client’s story matters.  Beauty does not conform to stereotypes. She invites and celebrates every person who steps in front of her lens regardless of gender identity, sexuality, race, or body type.

Mary’s own journey underscores this mission. As a half Mexican, part Indigenous, queer woman who doesn’t fit the mold of a size zero, she understands the importance of representation firsthand. She takes proactive steps to ensure her art is inclusive. Recognizing the lack of diversity in traditional boudoir imagery, she actively reaches out to underrepresented groups, offering free sessions to individuals who bring diversity to her art. 

How Mary Uses Social Media to Promote Her Art and Business

For Mary, platforms like Instagram and Tik Tok are extensions of her studio, where connections are made, stories are shared, and communities are built. Consistency, authenticity, and genuine engagement have made Mary very successful on Instagram and Tik Tok. 

  • Authentic Connection - She shares genuine moments from her work and life, transforming followers into a tight-knit community.

  • Celebrating Diversity - Mary's intentional showcasing of diverse beauty invites everyone to see themselves in her art.

  • Sharing the Real Parts of Herself and Her Life - Mary’s transparency about her journey and the realness behind her shoots create a deeper connection with her followers.

Mary was open with us about the rollercoaster of postpartum depression after having her second child. Sticking to her art means facing the good, the bad, and everything in between head-on. For Mary, keeping it 100 in her work is all about living out that authenticity in real life —embracing every twist and turn of her journey and cheering on others to do the same.

Mary is a force. She’s using her platform to promote inclusivity and radical self-love. Through her lens, she invites us to see ourselves in a new light.

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