In a move that, for many, symbolises a courageous “coming forth” following an emotionally and physical draining period, Claire Farwell, a model who worked with Cindy and Naomi in the 90s, has come forth to disclose more information about her personal fight with breast cancer that culminated in a double mastectomy.
Having situations like this one prove that there is an incredible opportunity for starting a much needed dialogue regarding the “presence” and effects of different forms of cancer in our society. This story is, in fact, a more developed tale than what can be told solely within the confines of this article. Following her double mastectomy operation in 2010, Claire participated in a “tell all” photo shoot, featuring scars and all. At the time, Claire disclosed that her principal source of inspiration for the shoot came from the Scar Project, a published book that documented the story of 50 breast cancer survivors through portraiture.
Farwell’s 2010 photo shoot was, for many, a shocking first-hand look into the world of breast cancer, which, for many, remained a distant concept as opposed to a pressing issue. Shot by the famous photographer Byron Atienza, Farwell’s images reveal the full physical changes she had undergone throughout the operation, including the removal of her nipples. When asked about this particular element of the surgery, Farwell was quoted as saying, “‘I realised I did not for one second feel any less of a woman from having my breasts taken away,’ she said. ‘I feel even more of a woman today than ever!”
In many ways, Claire is not alone. Her sentiments resound throughout the breast cancer survivor community, many of whom view her photo shoot as a vicarious testimony to their own new found courage and bravery post-op.
Claire is now an active voice for breast cancer awareness and fundraising. In 2012, Claire, who has since become a fashion designer, launched Claire Farwell London. When discussing her new found passion as a designer, Claire explained that “‘Breast cancer gave me this creativity, and now I’m building a brand I’m so passionate about.”
Essentially, Claire’s story is no different from so many women who have experienced similar trials and operations. In many ways, that is the message that Claire is hoping to spread. Breast cancer is a very real element of female life, and it should be approached and conquered with the strength of the community in tow.