Ladies, do you love yourselves? When you look in the mirror each morning, do you see yourselves as beautiful? Or are you among the many who struggle with self-image? Maybe you feel like you lost a part of yourself with your cancer diagnosis. If the latter two are true for you, supermodel Mieko Rye has a special message for you.
Believe it or not, this model, who has been in the business for two decades, was in the same boat. She was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer and had to go through chemotherapy. Being someone whose career depended on society’s rigid beauty standards, losing her hair, eyelashes, and eyebrows was a painful process.
“I thought, ‘This situation is so sick with irony because of my job,'” she said. “I would say it jokingly to people but I was really crying on the inside.”
She didn’t want to give herself a good look in the mirror, believing her reflection would show her to be less than what she desired. When she finally braved it, she cried; “someone else” was staring back at her.
“I still dream of how I used to look like,” she said. “And when I looked at myself in the mirror, I couldn’t deny it anymore.”
But through her situation, she grew. She realized the woman in the mirror didn’t look that bad and grew to love herself.
Inspired, she took to Facebook with pictures from a stunning photoshoot, pairing pictures of herself with cancer alongside a picture of herself beforehand. She also explained her journey, saying she didn’t need love or approval to define herself. “I am simply Mieko. I have nothing to hide. I have stage 3 breast cancer and I have never felt more beautiful in my entire life.”
She wants her fellow breast cancer-fighters to come to that realization, too. That “you haven’t lost anything.” That no matter where you are, you are beautiful, because beauty comes from within and shines outward.
So take another look in the mirror. Throw your shoulders back. Smile at your reflection. Now do you see it? So beautiful.
A. Stout received a Bachelor of Arts in Writing through Grand Valley State University, graduating Magna Cum Laude in 2015. In addition to being a passionate autism advocate, she is a member of various fandoms, a study abroad alumna, and an animal lover. She dreams of publishing novels and traveling all over the world someday.