WPPI 2011 : Untold Stories

ell, its Monday. And precisely one week ago today, I was laying prostrate on the hotel bed asking the heaven's why I agreed to speak at WPPI...I was so nervous I could barely function. JD would ask me a question and I'd shake my head from whatever fog it resided and answer, Yes, your meatball did look delicious at dinner last night! The answer was always the same, regardless of the question. I couldn't think straight. This was partly because my friend Regis texted me a picture of the MGM Garden Arena (the venue where I was scheduled to speak) on Sunday night. From that moment on, my brain stopped functioning. This was roughly when JD's meatball arrived to the table during dinner.

The venue was massive and as I sat backstage and waited for the presentation to begin, I saw a picture of Bette Midler. Oh, com'on, how can I compare with the woman who sang WIND BENEATH MY WINGS?! As I approached the stage, I shook like a leaf. A big, brown leaf. I walked to the podium from backstage and I couldn't see. No, really, the first row of seats were 100 yards away. Now this is where JD jumps in and waves his arms and scrunches his eyebrows because he hates when I exaggerate. Jasmine, he'll not-so-patiently say, 100 yards is the length of a football mean 100 feet, right? And then I'll say no. And he'll start flapping his arms again and I'll ask him to stop trying to fly.

So maybe it was 100 feet...but it felt like 100 YARDS!!! I couldn't see, hear, or get a sense of the audience and I felt like I was going to pass out. My voice quivered and my knees shook, but I pushed forward with the presentation. For those of you who sat in the audience and whooped/hollered/amen-ed loud enough for me to hear, thank you. It meant more than you'll ever know. I hope the evening marked a new beginning and I can't wait to hear how you change your story. I'm honored to call you friends.

All photos were taken by Regis...a friend I made at the very first WPPI Conference I attended.

This was part of the evening was where I felt more in my element...talking to people and making new friends!

Many, many thanks to those who came out and introduced the risk of sounding like an After School Special, I'm a better person because of you. Really.

A special shout out to these two girls...they were the last in line and waited way too long, but they were incredibly awesome!

Happy Monday and a HUUUUUGE thanks to Anton for creating the new Jasmine Star started the presentation better than I could have imagined...
...Oh, and a special thanks to the entire WPPI crew (especially Kate, George, and Arlene) for being incredibly supportive and giving me this opportunity...and PDN's Lauren Wendel offering a last minute pep talk before I took the stage...and DJ Kishi for mixing up some of my favorite songs to set the mood right (you can find all his mixes here)...
...Lastly, I need to thank JD for listening while I practiced that presentation waaaaaaay too many times, for getting me to the presentation on time, and for being the other half of my brain the entire week in Vegas...
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Claudia - This has nothing to do with photography and everything to do with it and you will probably never read this but that's ok. My Papi died several months ago. I just spent two weeks with my Mom who had been married to him for 51 years and dated him for 6 (when she was just 15). She's been lost without him. I flew her back home yesterday and this morning I woke up missing my daddy. I had just responded to an email from a friend whose wife(my best friend) had died in a car crash several years ago. I had shared with him an email from my best friend (his wife) that talked about a song in college that I dedicated to my parents and had translated into Spanish. The song was Bette Midler's Wind Beneath My Wings which captures my parents' beautiful sacrifice and love for their children. After sending the email, I cried and turned to your blog as I normally do when I'm sad. It serves as a distraction for me during those painful moments of remembering and I always leave feeling a little better. Imagine my surprise when I read the first post and you mentioned Bette Midler's Wind Beneath My Wings. It just goes to show how God can weave little things together to bring us comfort. We will probably never meet but this morning, at this time, you are my thank you.  07.07.12 - 7:48am
ALMA - I wish I was there.  12.05.11 - 5:16pm
Adriana Morett - I totally love that dress!  07.07.11 - 5:44am
Donal Doherty - This is ROCKSTAR!  03.17.11 - 1:45pm
Gwen Mahurin - Wow! Congratulations on WPPI! This definitely inspires me to pursue photography full speed ahead. I was blessed with an opportunity to have a two day seminar with Mike Colon, and i was completely floored when he told me how had worked with you! It made things seem more real for me, and I am so excited to take the next steps to having my own business that will hopefully one day be like yours! Thank you so much for sharing your amazing talent.   03.06.11 - 11:42pm
Susan Jennings - Oh My! When I saw the first picture, I got goose bumps and butterflies in my stomach. That giant room of people scared me! FYI - it looks like the first row is 100 yards away!! I know you did a fabulous job at WPPI, way to go!! FYI - I think you look beautiful in the pictures! Your hair is gorgeous and you are so darn skinny. (I am very jealous!)   03.04.11 - 11:28am
Chris - Love the dress! And while I wasn't as WPPI, I did hear you speak at Skip's Summer School in August and you were great! I can't imagine you any other way. :-)  03.02.11 - 1:24pm
Erin - Kansas City Photographers - Wonderful!!! Sounds like a blast.   03.02.11 - 12:30pm
Tracy - I have heard what a superstar you were, I wish I could have been there myself. Maybe next year! Congratulations!  03.02.11 - 10:06am
Sindy - You're so inspiring...I'm amazed every time when I hear you speak. Thank you so much! xoxo  03.02.11 - 9:38am
Feuza - so wish I was there and congrats!  03.01.11 - 6:54pm
Jenny Sun - Congrats Jasmine on such an epic achievement!!! :D And yes, I side with Erica on this one, please tell all of us girls who are wondering where you bought that fabulous dress!!! pwetty pwease? :P  03.01.11 - 4:17pm
brianne howard - I'm sure you did great! There's no way I could ever speak in front of that many people!  03.01.11 - 3:46pm
Jess - you were so glad i had the honor of being there and shouting "amen!" :)   03.01.11 - 3:32pm
Hugo Tepe - Big ups to the last two!   03.01.11 - 12:45pm
erica - I'm bummed i missed this, but I Must know one thing i know every girl on here is wondering : WHERE DID YOU GET THAT GORGEOUS DRESS?!!!! :)  03.01.11 - 11:08am
Eric Austin - That room is humongous!!!! Way to rock a big crowd :)  03.01.11 - 6:02am
Chanelle - What a huge crowd! Takes guts to stand up there and speak in front of so many people.   03.01.11 - 2:02am
Tammynize - Jasmine, I was there. You were awesome. So Motivational as always! And that dress is gorgeous! Regis Chen, you rock.  03.01.11 - 1:09am
Jackie Plaza - Love your dress!  03.01.11 - 12:05am
Kim Garcia - Thank you Jasmine for your inspiration! You were wonderful :) When you spoke about your friend you really hit a cord with me...yes, I need to focus on what's important and maybe I'll actually do some outsourcing in the near future. I was so glad to meet you...that is my arm and nose on the left in the 2nd to last photo ha ha   02.28.11 - 10:49pm
ErikaM - WOW! That first shot gave me goose bumps! Bummed to have missed it all this year, but am def looking forward to 2012! Thx for sharing this post! :)  02.28.11 - 10:49pm
Nancy Ramos - Was not able to make it this year. Looking forward WPPI 2012. Hope to see you sometime in the near future. xoxo  02.28.11 - 10:21pm
Juli L. - Holy cow that place is huge! I would've been a nervous wreck too. I wish I could have gone. I'm sure you did great!  02.28.11 - 10:14pm
Lydia - Wish I had been there, but I know from experience that you were inspiring!  02.28.11 - 9:49pm
natalie - This looks like an amazing experience!! Of course it is Jstar is speaking! Thanks for being so open and honest...I will definitely have to go to WPPI next year:)  02.28.11 - 9:34pm
kelsey - You did an amazing job and that arena was big lol   02.28.11 - 9:10pm
Nadisha Cook - You look very nice! :)  02.28.11 - 9:07pm
Elizabeth Kaye - Love you! Also love the girl in the crowd below the stage putting on makeup prior to her photo with you :)   02.28.11 - 9:02pm
Caroline Ghetes - Love your dress! Gorgeous!  02.28.11 - 8:32pm
Jonni - Awesome Jasmine! Way to go and I knew you would rock out. And boy are you ever right about the MGM Garden Arena. Hubby and I saw U2 there in 2005 and that place was huge! Hope you and JD had a great time. Wish I lived closer and could have come.  02.28.11 - 7:15pm
Brittani - You guys look like you had a fabulous time!!! And I still can't believe I couldn't go.... =( But I'll be ok. There's always next year!!! I hope you speak again. ♥ brit.  02.28.11 - 4:58pm
Kay Turner - Jasmine, you are so awesome that you could stand there, shaking, never saying a word and the audience would eat you up with a spoon! I am a huge fan of yours and love your stories. Do you think taking a camera in your hand, out on stage when speaking, snapping a pic or two of the audience, would help ease the jitters and make for a fun easing into the spotlight? Whatever you do, just keep doing it as you are making people smile the world over! Thank you!!!  02.28.11 - 4:30pm
Jessica - I love the girl in the 6th picture checking her makeup! See what you do to people?! Hhaha... I'm sorry I missed you at WPPI, I couldn't go this year. Next year. Or maybe when you come to CT. I will meet you one day, I hope. Congratulations on everything!  02.28.11 - 4:25pm
Mom - I love that you are so animated when you speak!... What a gorgeous dress. Where did you get it?  02.28.11 - 4:25pm
erin. - Amazing Jasmine! I would have been flipping presenting to a crowd that large but I am sure you were beyond perfect!! <3   02.28.11 - 3:30pm
Carrie K - Hol-EEEEEE- Crap! That's a huge audience. What do you do to calm your nerves besides having JD think for the other half of your brain!? Pray? Concentrate on breathing technique? I'd love any suggestions...:)  02.28.11 - 2:41pm
Columbus GA Photographer - What an amazing turn out! Wish I could have made it. I'm sure everyone that took the time to meet you is better for it.   02.28.11 - 1:20pm
Dana Fiorito - Oh, don't need to post this comment but after the workshop in May last year I went home and we changed our name/brand/website... I hope you like it! Thanks JD and Jasmine, I loved how the Lord has blessed my life and our business by getting to know you through your blog and at your workshop.   02.28.11 - 1:20pm
Dana Fiorito - Well, I must say this is a way better turnout than we had at our first speaking engagement yesterday at a wedding show. I was extremely nervous, but all turned out well because they forgot to announce us and no one showed up anyway....wah wah BUT, I will say that this is a huge step for our bsiness because the wedding show coordinator asked us amongst peers and colleagues to present after only being in biznazzz for 2 years, we were completely honoured, maybe next time they'll remember that they have things scheduled.   02.28.11 - 1:18pm
Sarah Danaher - awwwwwwwww!!! so proud of you!!  02.28.11 - 1:10pm
Kim Chan - Jasmine, you were amazing! It was so inspiring to hear you talk not only at your platform class but the Women in Photography panel too. Loved meeting you & JD (even if it was just for a second) while walking around MGM. Thank you for all that you do!  02.28.11 - 12:16pm
Andre Maltais - J* - as you already know from my blog, I was blown away by your presentation. I'm sorry I didn't get to talk to you in person, but just know that you inspire so many of us to follow our dreams. I never thought I could learn so much from listening to you for an hour. WPPI was an amazing experience, and I encourage everyone to attend, if even for a day.   02.28.11 - 12:03pm
amanda thiessen - woot woot!!! i'm sure you were awesome!! congrats!  02.28.11 - 11:47am
Brooke - WOW that is an amazing arena! Congratulations Jasmine, that is a huge accomplishment!  02.28.11 - 11:46am
Shannon Von Eschen - Wendy C's comment made me laugh! I'm in the photo too, so I hear ya, girl! I did the same thing...a blubbering idiot and I was sure I shouldn't have bothered her! And Jasmine, obviously you couldn't be a bigger inspiration to me, but how is it you're so dang beautiful?! Stunning you are! Woot! =)   02.28.11 - 11:17am
Mary Lau - You always say Thank you to your fans but I think we all thank you for being so down to earth. I wish I had the chance to have met you and worked with you before I left Cali but the navy life takes me on new adventures. Way to Go J*  02.28.11 - 11:09am
Kristin Nicole - I am sure you did a fab job, and I love your dress.   02.28.11 - 10:28am
Nicole Glenn - Oh Jas, you are such a rock star! Totally looks like 100 yards to me! I'm sure you were nothing short of amazing!! Congrats, and may the venues get larger. xoxo  02.28.11 - 10:19am
Justine Russo - Thank you so much for sharing! It was amazing to see you in person! You are such an inspiration! I have already talked to my hubby about changing our story! Your talk definitly changed me :)  02.28.11 - 10:09am
Amy Jo - I was there, on the second row, pretty much feeling like I had died and gone to heaven that I was finally hearing Jasmine Star speak live. I was feeling the "Amen" when you started to speak, so glad you gave us permission to say it! =) You always do a great job at hiding your nerves, I hope I master that trick one day!  02.28.11 - 9:55am
Kare - Sweet Lord, woman! Look at you go! It's karma - all the good you put out into the world coming back to you. Some day I will be a speck in the audience, too.  02.28.11 - 9:51am
Christopher Poisella - Great job Jasmine!!! The commercial rocked. Great way to open. You nailed it!!!   02.28.11 - 9:50am
Emma Godfrey - Gorgeous dress! Wish I could have been there to see you ;-)  02.28.11 - 9:50am
Amanda - Hey Jasmine, I saw you and JD zooming down the hall at WPPI last week. Didn't get a chance to say hi. I didn't attend your presentation as I saw you in Seattle but I know you were awesome. AND I LOVE YOUR DRESS!!!!!! The Women in Contemporary Photography presentation was great as well. I was a WPPI virgin this time and I am so excited for next year. Come to Portland for a shoot and I will carry your eqipment and bake you cookies.......;D  02.28.11 - 9:39am
Megan Greathouse - Thanks for the special shout out Jasmine! It was totally worth the wait! You are incredibly encouraging! Thank you for sharing with us! Have a great week! P.S. I was the one in green with gum sticking out of the side of my mouth :0)  02.28.11 - 9:18am
Alicia - SO sad I couldn't stay. I only attended WPPI-U this year because I couldn't leave me toddler that long. And my husband would not have made it that long in Vegas by himself haha.   02.28.11 - 9:17am
NIcki Henne - Jasmine! You TOTALLY rocked it girl! I loved the strength and determination of your words. You channeled your inner 'preacher'. Here is another AMEN for ya!  02.28.11 - 9:09am
Renee - You are such a natural speaker. I would have NEVER known you were that nervous! It sure didn't show! It was the first time I'd seen you speak in person, and it was incredibly moving. I text my husband after your talk, teary, and wrote to him: "I'm sorry. I'm doing it wrong. I work too much, think about work when we are together, and our life is more important than work. I'm coming home different and I want you on this journey with me." He said my text choked him up—he's not a crier. Thank you for helping this workaholic see the light.   02.28.11 - 9:08am
Shannon Lamaster - You rocked and looked amazing both Monday and Thursday!!! Thank you so much for being brave enough to speak in front of all of us and spread your wisdom!  02.28.11 - 9:07am
Stacey - Total City Girl - Jasmine - Wow! That looks sooo scary!! I wasn't there but I'm sure you were amazing! Hoping to meet you soon  02.28.11 - 9:05am
kira lauren - BUMMED that we flew in after your talk and missed it! But I saw the commercial and lovvved it. You're doing a fabulous job :)  02.28.11 - 9:03am
Anne - dang! from the looks of that first picture I would be nervous too!! I'm sure you rocked it though, someday I'll get to see you speak live. For now I have your blog and CreativeLive :)   02.28.11 - 9:02am
Sachin Khona - Jasmine, you and JD are an inspiration to me and so many... Keep living your beautiful story ... x  02.28.11 - 8:59am
Sachin Khona - Jasmine, you and JD are an inspiration to me and so many... Keep living your beautiful story ... x  02.28.11 - 8:59am
Danielle - J*, you were absolutely amazing!! I can't imagine the ball of nerves that I'd be on that stage, but you pulled it off flawlessly. Thank you again from the bottom of my heart -- hearing you speak and realizing that not much separates me from you and many other amazing photographers was a life-changing experience!   02.28.11 - 8:58am
Adriana Morett - I'm so sorry I wasn't there... I know I will someday, but I'm still in the nobody-visits-my-blog, cheapest-dslr-on-the-market, begging-my-friends-to-let-me-photograph-them-for-free stage of my career. It's ok, we all start in the beggining, right? ;) I'm sure you rocked it!! Hope to meet you someday in the not-so-distant-future!! Say holla if you're ever in Madrid Spain :)  02.28.11 - 8:42am
Travis Williams - is there a place we'll be able to hear/see your photo ignite talk if we missed it ? Becker said you killed it.  02.28.11 - 8:41am
Kristen Booth - Oh wow!! The 6th photo down...check out my mug front and center...eyes half open and everything. That's pretty terrible lol. You rocked though! Thanks for the inspiration!!  02.28.11 - 8:36am
anouschka - wow, Jasmine that's huge!!! I'm so happy for you!   02.28.11 - 8:30am
adela - I loved hearing your story, it was very inspirational and definately made me think on changes I need to make in my life so I can be happy with my story. I wish I could of met you but I had a plane to catch! Thank you so much Adela  02.28.11 - 8:30am
Jennifer Beal - I was sitting in the front row - and seriously, it felt like 100 yards away ;-) Your commercial was great and you were even better. Thanks for making yourself vulnerable to to reach out to us. You rocked it. 2 things I am changing about my business: 1) Branding 2) outsourcing so I have more time with my little family.   02.28.11 - 8:27am
Marel - That was a great presentation, Jasmine! I didn't notice you were nervous ... really.   02.28.11 - 8:25am
Mioara Dragan - Um Hi, Jasmine is it? With all due respect, I think you need to change your name. Jasmine ROCK Star! :D Because damn girl! I cringed/curled up/hissed in my chair at home looking @ how many people were there for your presentation and HOLY COW! Major respect for you right now! <333  02.28.11 - 8:24am
Gaby Fuentes Photography - Congratulations J*. Next stop tv?  02.28.11 - 8:23am
Noa - J* - I wasn't one of those lucky photographers who got to attend WPPI this year, but I can tell you confidently that I am SURE you changed many, many lived. You changed mine back in 2009. I can't wait to hear some of my friends re-caps of your presentation! Happy Monday :) Noa  02.28.11 - 8:18am
Ty LaMothe - Thank you for sharing such an inspiring and challenging speech with us Jasmine! It was so nice to meet you at WPPI!   02.28.11 - 8:18am
Jenna - I was there - you were fabulous! :)   02.28.11 - 8:18am
Peter hearl Photography - That's a massive venue, you look so small in the first Image. Any Videos out yet.  02.28.11 - 8:17am
Jared Wanzer - such a great week! everywhere i heard you speak was perfect! thanks for always rocking and inspiring!   02.28.11 - 8:17am
Wendy C. - YAY! I spot myself in those photos... patiently waiting to meet you. I had it all planned out. I was going to stand tall, and talk to you like I had known you forever! But that totally did not happen. The minute you reached out to shake my hand, my shoulders immediately met my ears, and I sounded like a star struck idiot! I swear I even felt you take a step back as if you were thinking, "Oh my goodness, who is this idiot?" Please do not take a restraining order out on me! LOL. I promise to do better next year.   02.28.11 - 8:14am
brooke - i was one of the lucky ones to have heard you speak.. you were seriously amazing, thank you!  02.28.11 - 8:12am
Kelli Boling - Jasmine - you were AWESOME! And I wasn't kidding with my tweet after your session - I am committing to change 2 things and make a difference immediately. My husband is so excited that I'll have more time to spend with him very soon. :-)  02.28.11 - 8:11am
Faith Cherisse - Jasmine, you are beautiful! Inside & out!   02.28.11 - 8:11am
Kristi - OMG! Jasmine, I totally would've melted into the floor if I would've had to make that presentation. I can completely commiserate with you. I wish I could've been there to meet you. Maybe next year. You looked beautiful and I'm sure you did an awesome job.  02.28.11 - 8:10am
Nadya - OH WOW that audience is crazy huge, I def. would have passed out or probably puked lol haha! I am sure your talk was as inspiring as PDN's talk that one really got me to move my butt and change my story! So thank yuo always for that!  02.28.11 - 8:10am
Lacie Lacy - Oh how I wish I could have been there. :) I am sure you did fabulous! ;)   02.28.11 - 8:07am
Eryn Amos - Jasmine your presentation was amazing! You inspired me more than you will ever know and I do agree with you that we were 100 yards away! Thank you so much for spending the time after to say hi to everyone that attended it was amazing to meet you and JD in person!  02.28.11 - 8:01am
Carlise - This is so freakin' awesome!! Huge Congrats to you, Jasmine!! BTW, is that a body guard to the side of you, lol?? ((HUGS))  02.28.11 - 8:00am
Kate Douthwright - Jasmine, your speech was inspirational, as usual. I'm changing my story as we speak. It was so nice meeting you and JD. Thanks for taking the time to talk with every single one of us in line!  02.28.11 - 7:44am
cara @ lillian and leonard - Ohmygod. I crapped my pants a little bit when I saw that first photo. You're amazing, 1) for not crapping your pants and 2) just because.  02.28.11 - 7:31am
LEOLAK - Yoozah...that is massive...but I'm sure you rocked it! You were rocking that dress too! Word!!! I'm sure many were moved by your story and are pumped to get going on theirs. Thanks for the continued inspriration!   02.28.11 - 7:12am
Diana - ok... you look like you did an amazing job, as always! love your outfit too :) Hope to go to WPPI next year! I'm crossing my fingers ;)  02.28.11 - 7:07am
Kelly Trimble - You did a-mazing! My friends and I have heard you speak many times and although we would listen to you recite the phonebook - the new presentation was so exciting!! It was really what I needed to hear. Going to photog unite afterwards continued with your message and it became our favorite night of the week! PS - we were shaking like leafs when we got to talk to you - so we are all even!!  02.28.11 - 7:00am
Carrie LeighAnna - You are such an incredible person to share your struggles! And on top of that to hang out with all your fans!! Also, I'm loving the dress you're rocking.  02.28.11 - 6:51am
Tanya De Leeuw - Sounds like congrats are in order for a great event! Maybe one day I'll make it!  02.28.11 - 6:48am
Jess @ JQ Photography - Jasmine, you're a rock star! I've been babbling about how awesome you are to everyone I know. I can't believe I only stumbled upon your site last week. Anyway, it looks like you did a great job, which isn't really all that surprising to be honest... =)  02.28.11 - 6:36am