My dear friend and recent collaborator in Rays, Nicki Muller passed away today after bravely battling a brain tumor for the past few months.
I was blessed by meeting Nicki 8 years ago when I granted my first wish for the Make A Wish Foundation. At the time Nicki was in remission battling cancer at the tender age of 14 . It was my first wish I had granted for MAW and little did I know I would have my wish granted that day.
I remember Nicki and her family showing up at the studio, Nicki was so excited and charming to my whole team, she eagerly went through hair and make up, picked her clothes with the stylist and before long was in front of my camera. It was there that she stood and stared my camera down. I saw that she was standing with her scarred arm in view and I tried to carefully suggest she turn so it would be less evident. To that Nicki said “No!” to which I thought, “No one says no to me….!!” but seriously this precocious little girl stole my heart and started me on a journey of self discovery culminating in my book the Beauty Equation. Nicki then said, ” I don’t want to turn away, as this scar, my scar is why I am here, it’s who I am…..” it was the most beautiful and powerful thing I had ever heard and from the mouth of a young girl.
I was so enamored by Nicki that we stayed in touch over the years and as she became a young lady we became friends and most recently collaborators. Nicki was my cover model in my book The Beauty Equation, for the chapter Allure, as well as full time contributor to the BE One website.
Over the past two years Nicki and I have worked together on various posts on BE One and most recently schemed to produce a series of photographs inspired and infused by Nicki’s artwork called Rays.
A week before we were set to shoot Rays, Nicki told me she had recently discovered she had a brain tumor. Nicki was adamant we continued on with our shoot and if possible with even more vigor than before.
Once again Nicki courageously faced an insurmountable task with bravery and without question. Nicki lit up my studio with her laughter, enthusiasm and talent despite her untimely situation. We produced 10 images that I printed as big as I could hang at Studio NB. We then had an incredible full house for the opening night of Rays where we sold out the entire series raising over $5000.00 for the Make A Wish Foundation.
Nicki may have died today but as I sit in my living room looking up at a stunning and thought provoking painting from her series Bone To Brain, I know that her spirit and inspiration will live forever. Nicki may not have lived long but despite how difficult and often times painful her life was she never ceased to amaze, create and wonder. To that my friend I thank you. You are and always will be very special to me. You will remain with me, as you will with so many who you touched.
With all my love