Over the summer QVC TV interviewed me to hear how I felt about being selected as a Breast Cancer Care Model for 2014– here is the outcome!
QVC: What inspired you to become a Breast Cancer Care model?
Clover: After attending the London Show in 2012 I was so encouraged by the fashion, model's stories and live entertainment, especially as I was feeling at an all-time low to my ongoing experiences with breast cancer. The London Show also proved to be an important breast awareness and fund raising event for Breast Cancer Care to continue to provide its services for free to so many people.
The following year I volunteered as a Breast Cancer Care hostess 2013 Show, and proudly helped to raise money and awareness for the charity. When 2014 model applications came out, I spread the word with blog post encouraging women to apply. I worked up the courage to apply myself, although I did not expect to be selected as I heard of Breast Cancer Care had the difficult task of choosing from over 300+ applicants who apply each year. I’m still pinching myself to have been selected to be one of 24 models for 2014 - first time round!
Having a diagnosis of breast cancer deeply affected my life on many levels, not only physically...
Having a diagnosis of breast cancer can deeply affected my life on many levels, not only physically. I applied to be a Breast Cancer Care model to share with others that something as poisonous as this disease can be a source of motivation: having had breast cancer has helped me to recognise my goals and desires and to go after them, even when those goals and dreams feel huge and and unattainable. One of my goals was to model for Breast Cancer Care – this soon be a dream come true.
The Breast Cancer Care Show marks the beginning of Breast Cancer Awareness month and is a great way for attendees and participants to witness the effects of fashion on people with cancer: fashion can have powerful impact on the psychology of people with the disease as well as how others perceive and treat them. It’s a privilege to support Breast Cancer Care this year through the The Show, whilst representing one of 55,000 men and women who are diagnosed with breast cancer each year.
I am also excited about being a Breast Cancer Care model QVC-TV Be Aware Show You Care show on Monday 13 October 2013. Again it’s an opportunity to raise money and awareness for the charity, and hopefully encourage others who may have quite negative feelings about their cancer experience, that they can have an amazing life afterward.
I hope people will be motivated by my story, and will donate generously through QVCTV to Breast Cancer Care, enabling the charity to continue delivering free support services to people like me who are diagnosed with the disease.
QVC: What about The Show are you looking forward to and what are you most nervous about?
Clover: I’m rather nervous about doing a Naomi Campbell fall on the catwalk in high heels… or stepping out on the runway and bursting into tears like Gwyneth Paltow at the Oscars!
Seriously... I’m excited about getting to know the men & women who I will be modelling with. We all met in April 2014 at Breast Cancer Care, and to be honest there was something special being in a room with others with a shared knowing’ we have all faced this disease.
We 22 female & 2 male models have since met for various events, including a pre-catwalk fitting day where we were styled by Hilary Alexander OBE. Hilary volunteers her time towards the not-to-be-underestimated task of designing 6 scenes in the fashion show with frivolous, fun, and high fashion clothing choices for us. We all had such a laugh together getting dressed up and trying out catwalking! I’m looking forward to actually wearing Hilary’s selections; and I must admit, I am excited by the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to walk on a catwalk & dress like a Pirate of the Caribbean!
QVC: What are your biggest hopes for the future?
My short-term whole-hearted wish that all of the models, in our various stages with breast cancer, are as healthy and happy as we can be as we walk down that runway.
My long-term hope to remain cancer free and work towards supporting others who face to a breast cancer diagnosis.
My diagnosis of breast cancer really affected me to the core of my being. Facing up to what felt like a death sentence with a shortened future resonated deeply with me. My body confidence and self esteem was shattered. However dealing with the disease and its treatment gave me the time and razor-sharp focus to see what really mattered in my life…
Which has led me to a brand new career focusing on the very things that I value: supporting others to embrace wellness, confidence and self-esteem after cancer through fashion. I now design confidence-boosting great fitting swimwear for women who have had breast cancer surgery, to help them feel confident and look gorgeous!
My business came about as a result of me having to sew a bikini to cope with the challenge I was faced concealing my mastectomy and still look youthful when on a much-deserved holiday. On my return, I spoke to many other women through Breast Cancer Care and found my experience was all too common.
So my future now consists of creating post mastectomy swimwear, encouraging exercise and positive body image to the many women whom I’ve inadvertently become linked to through this disease. I also will continue to raise awareness and funds towards Breast Cancer Care services so that people know of the great work the charity does, and know where to turn should they need it.
Some may perceive having an interest in fashion as shallow. However my own post -cancer experiences showed me that clothing can be transformative; a breast cancer diagnosis and treatment means many of us have to readdress how to cover and conceal our altered bodies in a number of different circumstances.
Buy tickets for Breast Cancer Care Show October 1 2014 and witness firsthand how fashion can transform...
Also, QVC TV's 'Be Aware Show You Care' show is on Monday 13 October 2014. Click here for more details.
With warmth, Clover
About Clover, Creator of Clover Lewis Swimwear
Clover started designing mastectomy swimsuits and bikinis after struggling to find a stylish, beautiful post surgery bikini to wear on her first holiday after a press cancer diagnosis. The holiday? A trip to Bali to overcome her fears by learning how to scuba-dive.
She made her first mastectomy bikini, got her PADI diving certificate wearing it, in that moment personally realised the connections between body image, clothing confidence for women with breast cancer
So despite the expectation to carry on with “life as normal” her experience had a profound effect on Clover. It became the fuel for her mission creating beautiful swimwear for women to feel good about their bodies so they can swim again.
Through Clover Lewis Swimwear, Clover helps women feel body confident… and feel like they belong on a beach.