Words like “courage” and “hero” get tossed around so much these days it’s sometimes hard to remember what real bravery is all about.
But there’s no rhetorical overkill in the ‘Everyday Superwoman’ modeling contest offered by UK lingerie brand Lorna Drew, which invites breast cancer survivors to pose in their underwear for a purpose. Now that‘s bravery.
Women who enter the annual contest can win a modeling contract and other prizes and will become the face of Lorna Drew‘s next seasonal collection of stylish mastectomy lingerie. More importantly, it gives survivors a chance to show other women undergoing cancer treatment what possibilities lie on the other side.
“Our Everyday Superwoman campaign promotes the use of relatable role models for women going through breast cancer treatment. These women share inspirational stories of their strength and present a positivity about their body image, which is reflected in the way that they live their lives,” Lorna said in a press release.
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The use of “real” models is common in lingerie marketing today, but adapting that strategy to the post-mastectomy category is challenging, since breast cancer survivors often deal with changes to both their physical selves and their body image.
For Lorna, whose award-winning brand made its mark as an innovator in maternity and nursing lingerie, the ‘Everyday Superwoman’ campaign was a way to celebrate “women who inspire us and those around them.”
The model who serves as the ‘face’ of the current campaign and contest (above right) illustrates the powerful impact that real-life stories from cancer survivors can have.
Joanna Butt, now 30, entered an earlier ‘Everyday Superwoman’ competition after having her left breast removed after being diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer at age 23. Although subsequent chemotherapy and radiotherapy eradicated her cancer, it also left the married veterinary nurse from Wiltshire unable to have children.
“Despite going through all this at such a young age Joanna is in amazingly positive and body confident,” Lorna told Lingerie Talk. “She regularly campaigns for breast cancer awareness in younger women and for better advice in the National Health Service when dealing with radiotherapy and fertility.
“As part of her campaigning, Joanna did a topless photoshoot with the Daily Mail showing her scar (very brave) and a lingerie shoot with Cosmo to raise awareness. She is very inspirational and a real superwoman!”
The ‘Everyday Superwoman’ campaign also gives Lorna Drew a chance to show off the innovations in its fashion-centric mastectomy line, and debunk some of the myths associated with post-cancer undergarments.
“Many other mastectomy range companies offer a ‘one size fits all policy’ when it comes to their design, assuming that all women have had radical surgery and require designs which sit high at the front with deep side panels and wide straps,” Lorna said. “With today’s surgery this is not necessarily the case, with women undergoing lumpectomies and reconstructions which do not require such total coverage.”
The Grace wire-free bra style worn by Joanna in the photos, for example, uses French lace lined with soft cotton and can be worn with or without pockets on either side.
To enter this year’s contest, women must submit a photo of themselves in their favorite bra, negligee, camisole or kimono (“looking as naturally beautiful as you are”) along with a brief, inspiring story about their breast cancer journey.
Entries must be submitted by Sept. 15, after which 10 finalists will be chosen for a week-long Facebook vote. The top 5 finalists will then go to London for a makeover and photo shoot, and a panel of 5 judges will then select this year’s “hero”, which will be announced on Oct. 12. You can find prize details and the entry form here.