Breast cancer survivor hits NYFW runway bearing post-mastectomy scar: ‘We need to be able to be present in our bodies the way we want to’

Erica Hart walks the runway during the Chromat x Tourmaline Spring/Summer 2022 runway show on Sunday in NYC. (Photo: Sean Zani/Getty Images for Chromat)

Making sure that New York Fashion Week 2021 bombshell, sexuality educator, activist and breast cancer survivor Erica Hart made a powerful statement on Sunday, modeling a red one-piece swimsuit on a beach runway and highlighting her post Pulled up for – mastectomy scars and reconstructed breasts on her walk.

Hart, who modeled on the last day of New York Fashion Week, and is known to proudly bear her scars – whether at Afropunk, fashion shows (she’s done many others) or in magazines — Captured in empowering the moment Instagram post, notes in the caption, “They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but it’s worth a little more or less depending on how you look.”

“Fashion Week,” her post continued, “put such a high premium on whose body is worth watching — even shows that feature a petite fat, racially ambiguous person are sending a message. There’s no way you can be a part of it. The fashion world and not criticize it. Well I’m sure there is a way and it’s probably just that it mostly stays the same – from people designing clothes to models. is given a seat to watch – no one should be feeling like s**t on some damn clothes!”

Hart says, “Even as many black queer trans non-binary fat and people with disabilities are given access to a space that was created to exclude us, we still have to criticize it and Have to consider why we want access to that space. And who am I if I can’t or can’t participate.”

Finally, she thanks the designers behind the show – the artists and activists. tourmaline, who collaborated with chromate, the inclusive swimwear line founded by Becca McCarren-Tran — “to create a show that didn’t disrupt a sacred space.”

Hart, at center, descends into the Atlantic on Sunday after walking the Chromat x Tourmaline Spring/Summer 2022 runway show in Reece Beach Park.  (Photo: Sean Zani/Getty Images for Chromat)

Hart, at center, descends into the Atlantic with other swimsuit models after walking the Chromat x Tourmaline Spring/Summer 2022 runway show in Reece Beach Park on Sunday. (Photo: Sean Zani/Getty Images for Chromat)

That spot, the eastern end of Jacob Rees Park, a beach on the peninsula of Rockaway in Queens, has long been a quaint beach, especially for LGBTQ people of color. this form searched by others, Hart warned in his post, “currently at risk of being gentrified.”

“Gender Euphoria” and Beaches were the show’s themes, Hart tells Yahoo Life. “Chromat has swam for a very long time and has always included queer and trans and nonbinary people in its shows… and it was great to bring it to Riis, which is a very sacred place and there are people in suits who The genders were—confirmed.” The show included expressions of all shapes, sizes and genders, and with the new swimwear line being premiered, Ally explains in her own post about the tourmaline show, “designed for girls who don’t tuck do, non-binary and intersex people…”

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 12: Models pose after the Chromat x Tourmaline Spring/Summer 2022 runway show at New York Fashion Week on September 12, 2021 in New York City.  (Photo by Shawn Zani/Getty Images for Chromat)

Models pose after the Chromat x Tourmaline Spring/Summer 2022 runway show at New York Fashion Week on Sunday. (Photo: Sean Zani/Getty Images for Chromat)

Hart says it felt natural for her to be part of the show by pulling down her suit, which she did at the end of the show, and also a tribute to beach-goers in Rees, who often swim and sunbathe topless. Huh. “I’m always topless,” she says. “I’m very comfortable, but the nerves are always there… there’s so much pressure with Fashion Week.”

Still, enduring your breasts, scars and all is part of Hart’s awareness-raising mission. As He said allure In 2017, her mother died of breast cancer at age 38 and Hart was 28 when she found a lump of her own, leading to a diagnosis of bilateral breast cancer followed by a double mastectomy and reconstruction. “Since my scars run across my breast, I have retrieved these marks in the form of my nipples,” she explained, also discussing how to highlight her scars for the first time in Afropunk, the black that started in Brooklyn. A festival showcasing artists, musicians and designers that he has been participating in over the years.

“I was thinking, you know, I want to go topless in Afropunk, and I want to go topless because I want to raise awareness about breast cancer. There is no image of a black breast cancer patient… And let’s educate,” she said, remembering that she was nervous at first, but then inspired on several fronts. “I want people to check their breasts. I’m going to take it off and I want to be seen. I felt so attractive, I felt so sexy, and people took pictures of me and people came up to me and asked, like, ‘what happened to you?’ And that was very dangerous to me. Like, how come you don’t know what it looks like? And then I remembered: We don’t talk about it. There’s no image of it.”

While it’s still an issue, there are more images of post-mastectomy breasts and chests than ever before, thanks in large part to Hart—who acknowledges that part of why she keeps it, thanks mostly to confirmed responses. accompanies, including “cheers and applause” on Sundays. In addition, she adds, her motivations have expanded to include a “f*** you” around not only breast cancer awareness, but censorship.

“I was looking VMs, and there was a cisgender guy who was topless, and it wasn’t a big deal – he’s not getting interviewed, he just finds a way to express himself. I want to be like that without any problems.” “So, yes it is for breast cancer, but also we need to be able to put in our bodies the way we want and for others to affirm us. “

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