When our favourite MTV VJ from back in the day decided to work with us, we were starstruck, but also a bit nervous. We ask Denise some questions about her pregnancy journey and birthing experience.

As newborn photographers and parents of very young children, the only celebrities we are familiar with tend to be those we grew up watching. 

So when Denise Keller decided to work with us, we were undoubtedly starstruck as well as ecstatic for the opportunity to photograph our favourite MTV Asia VJ from our youth. 

While you would imagine photographing a face and personality who needs no introduction in Asia to be an exciting experience, it was actually a nerve-wracking one for us. The pressure was now on as it dawned on us that we would be photographing someone who had been in front of the camera for most of her life, appearing on the covers of countless fashion magazines.

Our anxieties about the session mostly stemmed from our recognition that Denise would know exactly what happens in front of and behind the lens. After all, she is also a model who frequently works with a production team for her projects, and due to her ample experience, usually gets to have a say in most aspects of the creative process. All of this made the idea of preparing for a shoot with her somewhat daunting.

At first...

How did you find out that you were pregnant?

It was a normal workday for me. I was teaching yoga and going for fittings for an event I was preparing for. Something wasn’t quite the same when I was getting ready though. My clothes seemed tighter and I felt I was having PMS symptoms. And yet, somehow I didn’t quite feel the same.

When I came home, I decided to do a pregnancy test. I was overjoyed to find out I was pregnant. I wanted to surprise my husband but I just couldn’t keep it together and blurted it out on the couch that evening. It was probably one of the best moments of our lives.

How did you announce your pregnancy to the world?

The gram! Well, I first told my closest friends and family of course. I needed that support ring before I went public with it. I was kind of nervous about the announcement because I didn’t know which week would be ideal. So my photographer bestie Karan and I worked out some shots; I liked them and then I changed my mind, and then we did a reshoot because I wanted to wear something more feminine and soft. Thank God for Stylease who helped me choose the right gown and voila. It was so nice to see so much support pouring in from everywhere, including the press and media publications.

Fortunately for us, we weren’t going to be photographing her as a model, but as a new mum to an adorable little baby girl, Mia! She gave us her full trust and confidence before and during her session. Phew!  We just needed to get over feeling starstruck and try to focus on doing what we do best. 

Acknowledging that Denise is a first-time mum, who hasn’t been for any newborn shoot, she surely had a lot of questions; “how long would the session take”, ”what to prepare before the shoot” and “what to bring”?

Just like we do with all of the amazing families we work with, we sent her our preparation guide. This is a very important part of the process for us, as it gives mummies—whether they are seasoned moms or first-time parents—a detailed overview of what will likely happen before, during and after their session with us.

“My girl. My Mia.”

and then...

Did you have any weird experiences or cravings during your pregnancy?

Hmm. I got this question a lot in my interviews and sadly, I had nothing unusual to share. I didn’t have any major cravings. My pregnancy experience was pretty straightforward and I loved every minute of it. Well, I didn’t really like the acid reflux at night but Gaviscon was my best friend.

How did you find out the baby’s gender? Was it a surprise?

Robert and I wanted to know the gender early on. We’re first time parents!!! We would have been happy with any gender, but we’re thrilled to have a healthy girl.

How did you pick your baby’s name?

I’ve always loved the name Mia. There is a meaning in every language for Mia, but I just loved saying “my girl” all the time when I was pregnant, and that just sealed it. My Mia…

Is there a special meaning behind the name?

Her surname is a very strong Catalan name (Gaxiola) and I wanted to find something soft to match it. Mia Gaxiola rolls off really nice.

We also sent our questionnaire over to her so we could get to know her a bit better, together with a mood board. We talked about colour palettes to ensure both of our expectations, hers and ours, were as closely aligned as possible.

Honestly, we were humbled by how much trust she placed in us so we did our best not to let her down. We picked out all her outfits, as well as outfits for her husband, Robert, and guided her through all the poses. Admittedly, posing a supermodel felt a bit weird, but Denise was as kind and patient as we could have hoped for, and her husband was one of the sweetest daddies we have ever met, too, patiently following our directions while ensuring nary a hair on Denise’s head was ever out of place.

The birth...

What hospital did you give birth at?

I gave birth at Thomson Medical Center.

What was your experience like?

It was a long but a beautiful experience—I loved everything about it. My husband will probably disagree. I think he nearly had a heart attack towards the end. LOL.

Our doula was with us all the way. She was amazing. She helped me change positions when I was tired and made sure I was okay every step of the way.
I wish more people knew about what doulas do. They really are the unsung heroes of childbirth.

Do you have an interesting story from the birth you would like to share?

Hmm. Interesting? More like miraculous. Words cannot describe the feeling I was experiencing but I thought I was in heaven when I first laid my eyes on Mia. She was everything that I ever dreamed of. Pure love.

What is the one thing you will never forget about the birth of your baby?

That moment when Robert and I saw Mia for the first time. Tears of pure joy.
Happiest moment of our lives.

Oh, and don’t get us started on baby Mia. Such an adorable little bub! While she didn’t sleep as soundly as we’d hoped throughout most of her session, she’s definitely a supermodel in the making, staring right at the camera on many occasions with her big, gorgeous eyes. Awake babies are typically fussy and never keep still, but not little Mia, she was as focused on the lens as a true professional.

The session...

Why did you decide to have newborn photographs taken?

There is something so special about the newborn stage in babies, which doesn’t last long. I wanted to have photographs to remember and cherish this stage forever.

What was the most memorable part of your newborn session with us?

Everything about our newborn session was memorable! The studio was AMAZING and the duo team were so personal and friendly. They even helped us with poses and styling! But above all, Yuyeth was so gentle and beautiful to Mia when styling her. Her tender loving hands and care was probably my favourite part of our newborn session.

What were some of your favourite setups or poses from the session?

They were ALL my favourites; it’s too hard to choose!


Why did you choose Bows and Ribbons Photography to photograph your newborn?

I chose Bows and Ribbons Photography Photography because they were the most professional and seasoned in Singapore. I love that they don’t use artificial light on newborn babies and were so meticulous in caring for our Mia. Plus, their style and vibe was so in line with what I love. Natural tones, soft light and a beautiful ambience.

What advice would you give to other parents when choosing a newborn photographer?

Ask lots of questions! How are the shots set up? Do you use artificial light? Can I nurse my baby with privacy? It’s so important to trust a newborn photographer and make sure that your baby is safe and cared for.

Well, we had an awesome time photographing this beautiful family, and are already looking forward to the next.

CREAM SETUP: Wrap by Loto Knit, Tieback by Poppy and Cy Bonnet by Whatsoever Things Wool by Cwtchi Coo Bassinet from Newborn Props Eu MUSTARD SETUP: Wrap by Manly and Pretty Little Things Wool from Jessica Kandi Photo Props Tieback by Poppy and Cy Rattan Bed from The Original Photoblocks DEEP PLUM SETUP: Basket from JD Vintage Tieback by Poppy and Cy  Wrap from Manly and Pretty Little Things Knit Blanket by Love That Prop SWADDLES from Garbo and Friends, Luna's Treasure and Bebe Organic DRESSES from Hazel and Folk

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