What is your relationship with each other and how did you meet?
SONIA: We are both cancer survivors! Lily and I met via Instagram, after I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer I was desperately searching for someone who could understand me and what I was going through. I searched the #breastcancer and found Lily. It was so great speaking with her, she was of similar age 28 years old at the time and completely related to what I was going through.
LILY: This is the first time we’ve met in real life! We found each other on Instagram - Sonia and I were going through treatment for breast cancer at the same time and I loved how relatable and candid she was! She was telling my story (but in a better way than I could!), and we just understood each other.
Describe your relationship with your body?
S: Pre cancer, I wasn’t confident with my body image at all. I was always looking for things to improve. I could never take a compliment. However, after having breast cancer and having a double mastectomy with reconstruction leaving me with a hip to hip scar, breast scars and scars on my arms, I am much more confident.
I have realised I didn’t appreciate my body before and now I am going to make sure I do. Even though my body is full of scars, I am more confident in believing that I am not my body, I am so much more than just my body and that in itself has made me a much more confident person. The pre-cancer me would have never taken part in a photoshoot like this!
L: Now? I accept it, and I love it. It’s pretty awesome; it’s flawed, it’s scarred and covered in stretch marks, it aches in the mornings. But it dances and it’s warm. I live in it. I spent too long thinking my worth lay in how it was perceived, and then I was shown both how fragile and how strong it is, from the inside, and now my appreciation for it can show on the outside too.
Why do you like wearing Beija?
S: It’s comfortable, versatile and makes me feel sexy. I also just love the brand and what they stand for.
L: I feel sexy! And I feel that’s the way I should feel! It makes it so easy!
What was it that made you want to take part in We Are Beija?
S: I wanted to be part of We Are Beija to help represent the many different women, the many different shapes and the many different skin colours.
L: I love the styles and how inclusive and accommodating they are for different body types- I was a fan before I got cancer! There were times during my treatment I thought I’d never feel okay with my body ever again, but I was so, so wrong. And with the opportunity to (finally!) meet Sonia too, it just made perfect sense.