Two friends in their late 20s were tired of looking at social media and seeing all of the holiday pictures of perfect-looking families, including the adorable children.
Their fatigue led to inspiration.
For her 28th birthday, Nicole Ham posed for a portrait taken by Stephanie Smith, her friend since grade school. A professional photographer, Smith took pictures of her fellow Irmo High School alum. She told The State the photo session was “a parody of our lives.”
The pictures were of Ham, swaddled in a blanket like a sleeping baby, with a large bow on her head. Lying next to the peaceful-looking birthday girl was a message board that read “336 MONTHS OLD. Loves—Champagne. Hates—Dating in 2018. GO TIGERS! 12.29.18”
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“It was Nicole’s idea, laughing at being 28 and single,” Smith said in an interview with The State on Thursday. “We had nothing better to do with our time. We know it’s stupid, that’s why we did it. ... It was hilarious for both of us.”
Ham continued the fun in a Facebook post of the picture. She added the caption, “i’m 336 months old today! things i love: champagne, paper straws, clemson football. things i hate: dating in 2018, paper straws, pedal taverns.
Smith also shared the pictures on the Facebook page for her business, Southern Stitched Photography, with a caption that read “Because your best friend only turns 336 months once.”
That post has gone viral, garnering more than 15,000 reactions and 14,000-plus comments. It had been shared close to 30,000 times by Thursday night.
According to Smith, it has been viewed more than 6 million times.
“I love how much people enjoy it,” Smith told The State, saying she has also been interviewed about the baby portraits by “Good Morning America” and “Inside Edition.”
While the holidays provided Smith and Ham with inspiration, it also afforded them the opportunity to pull off the photo shoot at the Columbia-area home of Ham’s parents. She was visiting from Nashville, where she works in marketing, according to Smith.
Ham’s mother Andrea even helped out with the photo session, according to Smith who said she made the oversized bow and helped swaddle her 28-year-old baby.
“She rolled her like a baked potato,” Smith said.
While Smith has done similar photo shoots for newborns, she said it was hard to execute this session because she and Ham were laughing so much.
It helped that Ham insisted they finish in time to watch her beloved alma mater, the Clemson Tigers football team, play in the Cotton Bowl, according to Smith.
While Ham has to be happy with how the football team has performed, Smith said her “diva best friend is loving every second” of the popularity of the portraits on social media, even though she wasn’t wearing any makeup.
“She’s a very bold person,” Smith said.
All of the eyes on the posts has been a professional benefit to Smith, who said she has seen an influx of business.
Smith said she puts her heart and soul into her business while also taking online courses from Coastal Carolina. Smith said she hopes to transfer to the University of South Carolina next fall.
In the meantime, she expects to have some more fun photo sessions with Ham. She said they are already devising a plan for her upcoming birthday as well as Valentine’s Day, where the 20-something singles will “mimic what it’s like dating these days.”
While she welcomes new ideas for photo spreads, Smith said the only people she and Ham are making fun of is themselves.
“We don’t want to offend, we’re just making a mockery of our own lives,” Smith said. “It’s OK to be fun.”