The Evolution of a Project

Five years ago M.Martinez created Confidence Is Sexy as a way to counter the kind of imagery they found in American media. The project was made possible by the support of makeup artists, hair stylists, and models who shared this passion. Shortly after the project was completed the original files were corrupted and the final series was unable to be shared.

Confidence Is builds on the same idea by creating unique perspectives of what confidence looks like, expanding on the original idea by encouraging each participant to explore what confidence means to them. It includes models and ideas that should have more and varied represented in mainstream media. What makes this project unique is that everyone involved has agency in the narrative being conveyed. How that people identify is an integral part of the project. Identity means something different to everyone and together, we’ll change ideas associated around gender, race, body image, and age.

More than 70% of the project collaborators identify as Black, Indigenous, or as a person of color, and more than 60% of those modeling identify as women, nonbinary, or two spirt. The project goes beyond creating photos, it acts as a way to inspire, educate, and empower people to embrace their identity and look beyond what they see in others.


The only printable image salvaged is this collage.

Volume 1 & 2

Volume 3 & 4

Inspired by a participant in the first round, volume 3 & 4 focus on how young people 18 and younger experience, express, and embody confidence.

What this project means...

What this project means...

“I was in the first set, (Confidence Is Sexy). In the past 2 years my world fell apart, & I've had to rebuilt myself. This project is an expression of my rebirth”