Picture a typical lingerie model and it’s likely you’ll have some version of a Victoria’s Secret Angel sashaying around in your head. But at New York Fashion Week on Monday, 16 women shattered that stereotype.
The women came from different ethnic backgrounds, had varied ages and diverse body types. But it was what these women had in common that made the show truly special:
All have battled breast cancer.
The models were representing AnaOno Intimates, a lingerie brand dedicated to women who have undergone a mastectomy or reconstructive surgery.
Some bared their scars and changed chests, others walked with fists in the air, triumphant.
Of those 16, seven have metastatic disease, meaning their cancer has spread beyond their breasts. Of those seven, four were diagnosed at stage IV. (Post continues after gallery.)
For designer Dana Donofree, the historic show was a chance to use the runway to illuminate an important cause.
"Breasts do not define beauty. Breasts do not define femininity," she wrote on the AnaOno blog. "And whether you are a woman with your natural breasts altered by a lumpectomy, or have new breasts surgically constructed, no breasts, or even some combination of all of these - you are still you and you are still beautiful." (Post continues after audio.)
Donofree launched the company in 2014 after being diagnosed with Infiltrative Ductal Carcinoma at the age of just 27. After a double mastectomy and reconstruction, sports bras and camisoles seemed like her only option.
So she created another one.
"I always dreamed of having my own fashion line, of running my own company, I never thought I would get to experience this dream because cancer threw me a curveball," she wrote on anaono.com. "But here we are, and here I am."