Nearly four years after she was diagnosed with breast cancer, Genevieve Esgate has stripped away her clothes and been painted from head to foot to raise awareness of the disease in younger women.
The mother of two is one of 12 breast cancer survivors from regional Australia being painted and photographed for a calendar produced by the charity So Brave.
Ms Esgate modelled at a Kingscliff photo shoot in northern NSW, and said it was an important and empowering experience for her.
“I am standing here, completely covered in paint, but it feels amazing to say ‘here is my new body, here are my battle scars’.
“I have been through a lot, but here I am feeling amazing and looking beautiful.”
Ms Esgate was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was 35 after feeling a thickening in her right breast.
She had a mastectomy and radiation treatment, then chose to remove her left breast six months later.
She said the experience affected her body image, but learning how to dress for her new body made a big difference.
“As soon as I could find items of clothing that made me still feel beautiful that was the turning point for me,” she said.
“I thought ‘wow it’s just a matter of shopping differently to adjust to your new body’.
“When I could do that right, I felt I was in a good place because I could look as beautiful as other women again.”
Her message for young women who have not had breast cancer is simple: “Just know your body and what feels right and what could potentially be different,” she said.
For artist Wendy Fantasia, who painted Ms Esgate, her work is personal.
Her mother is a breast cancer survivor and she wants her paintings to pay respect to women who have battled the disease.
“Unless you have gone through breast cancer or heard these stories you don’t realise all the different aspects,” she said.
“It’s not ‘you get breast cancer, you get treatment, you move on’, it’s a lifelong issue that you are left with.”
#live So Brave – Breast Cancer Fundraiser Calendar #genevieve Leave Me Breastless
Posted by So Brave – Breast Cancer Fundraiser Calendar on 2017年5月13日
So Brave founder Rachelle Panitz started the charity after her own experience with breast cancer.
She said she wanted younger women to be aware of the risks of the disease.
“It’s about raising awareness that breast cancer actually kills women,” she said.
“It’s not a fluffy pink ribbon, it’s not something that older women only get.”
So Brave has photographed women in regional Queensland, Victoria and NSW, South Australia and the Northern Territory.