Dianne Wraight is part of a legion of women who call themselves “flat and fabulous.”
This week, many of them will be making their modelling debuts at New York Fashion Week.
They’ll be sporting designs by AnaOno, which specializes in lingerie for women who have had mastectomies, breast reconstruction or breast surgery.
“I’m trying to figure it out. I don’t really wear heels,” Wraight told Gloria Macarenko, host of CBC’s On the Coast.
‘Proud and confident and sassy’
Wraight learned last year that her breast cancer had come back a second time.
The news came as a shock given that Wraight had undergone a mastectomy.
Regardless, she went through more chemotherapy and decided she would undergo reconstructive surgery.
Then she came across a video online of the previous AnaOno runway show.
The first woman walked out in a long, flowing cape that showed off her tattoos.
“I just remembered thinking she looked so amazing. Just proud and confident and sassy,” Wraight said.
Looking at the woman’s chest, she realized there was nothing there. More women walked out and each of them had missing breasts.
“I just started to cry,” Wraight said. “It was one of those moments where something switched and I just knew I wouldn’t reconstruct.”
Finding support online
More online sleuthing led Wraight to a private Facebook group called Flat and Fabulous.
It features more than 4,000 women who are flat or going flat, she said. Some have had their implants taken out after reconstruction, a procedure known as explanting.
Wraight hasn’t been able to go back to work yet. In the meantime, she’s found support through online communities and started her own Facebook group called Flat in Canada.
Wraight also attended the Vancouver General Hospital’s breast reconstruction awareness day last October.
She stood on stage topless so that newly diagnosed women could examine her chest and ask questions.
Runways, parties and new friends
Wraight has a busy week lined up.
She’s joining the modelling team in New York as a standby. But given the chemo treatments that her fellow models are undergoing, the chances are high she could make her runway debut.
Even then, there’s plenty of behind-the-scenes planning. Wraight is organizing a cocktail party the night before the show at a bar in the East Village.
But it’s not the glamour that excites Wraight most. Rather, it’s meeting a friend she’s made online.
That woman was one of the models Wraight first saw in the runway video. Her name, Wraight learned, was Ciara, and she’s battling stage-four breast cancer.
Wraight can’t believe they’ll soon be meeting face to face.
“We’re all laughing about how there’s going to be a lot of tears,” she said.
With files from CBC’s On The Coast