ENGLEWOOD, N.J. — Coming to terms with their changing bodies has proven difficult for many of the expecting moms that Englewood's Laura Hoyos has worked with.
"Not a lot of women are comfortable with their bodies late in pregnancy," said Hoyos, a body painter and makeup artist.
They don't want to show their bodies to anyone, much less themselves, she said.
But once they see how their tummies look once Hoyos is done with them, everything changes.
"They thank me for making them feel pretty again," said the artist, 30, who owns Paint 2 Smile.
"It gives them a little reminder that they are pretty."
There was one client who was particularly self-conscious before her session. But afterwards, she had her husband bring her to the beach to take more pictures of her bump.
For the artist, that's what it's all about.
Paint 2 Smile originally launched as a makeup and face-painting business. The artist has done work one clients across Bergen and Passaic counties, and even as far as Brooklyn, N.Y.
Hoyos was introduced to the art of belly-painting through a friend and mom-to-be who had recently discovered the fad.
Soon after, Hoyos was among a handful of other body painters who helped kick off Sara Blakely's "Belly Art Project" on the TODAY Show.
What Hoyos enjoys most about maternity painting is giving her clients a confidence boost and developing a personal connection with moms to their babies through art.
For example, Hoyos recently did sun-themed a piece for a mom expecting her second child, who sang "You Are My Sunshine," to her other daughter.
She painted a panda on another client who calls her growing baby "Amanda Panda."
And when she's painting, Hoyos can feel the baby kicking and moving around.
"I like it because for the moms, it's a way to celebrate that precious time," Hoyos said. "We all get to have a good time."