Monday, April 4, 2011

Taking it off for Breast Cancer Awareness!

This is a cause that I'm very proud and honoured to be a part of - Breast Cancer Awareness. I was approached by the Breast Cancer Association (BCA) in Johannesburg to pose topless and, even though I was a bit inhibited at the idea of posing completely topless, I really wanted to support this worthy cause and help women who are diagnosed with breast cancer. 

How it works: the BCA organises events in the United Kingdom where all the photos from the shoots are auctioned. The photos which are sold at the auction, goes into a Breast Cancer Awareness calendar and all the money raised goes to women, here in South Africa, with breast cancer who can't afford to pay for the necessary operations to have the cancerous tissue removed (read more about the surgery here). And as you know, if the cancerous tissues aren't detected and removed early, it can spread to other parts of the body. The photos aren't just about topless girls, but about capturing the true beauty of being a women, the beauty of having healthy breasts and about being comfortable in your own skin.

I couldn't fly up to Johannesburg for the shoot, but arranged one in Cape Town with the help of photographer Naco Rautenbach and make-up artist Michelle Dickman. Usually the shoots are done in a studio and the girls wear only jeans, but I wanted to add my own touch to it. I wanted to have it done in a forest and decided on the beautiful Helderberg Nature Reserve, and they were more than willing to assist. I also didn't want to pose in jeans, but went with a pink sarong instead. In some photos I'm completely nude, but we used objects in nature to make it as tasteful as possible, like standing against a tree or covering the bits with leaves and twigs. Even though you don't see me completely nude, in reality, I was walking around in a forest in my birthday suit. What's it like to pose nude or topless? It's very daunting, yet very liberating at the same time. I was shy, but after 10min I felt completely comfortable and at one with nature. After about 2 hours of shooting, we got about 20 really great photos, of which four will be auctioned. The photos came out very very nice and Naco exceeded my expectation yet again. He captured exactly what the BCA had envisioned and they are also very pleased with the outcome. I decided on a very natural make-up and Michelle did a wonderful job creating the look, which the BCA also totally loved.

Here are some behind the scenes.

07h00 and freezing outside.

Getting ready to shoot. I took Johlene with to assist with lighting and for moral support.

We chose a very isolated spot. It was very peaceful in the forest. Beautiful.

I had to keep my shoes on because you never know what you might step in. Shoes aren't in the professional shots.

As you can see, covered with twigs, though, it can easily be mistaken for something else...

And the final product! I can only share these with you as the rest are exclusive to the BCA.

A big thank you to the BCA for making me a part of your project; Naco Rautenbach for the photography (he is definitely my new favourite photographer); Michelle for doing my make-up (I love your work); Johlene for assisting me at the shoot and the Helderberg Nature Reserve for being so helpful.


(Do not use images without permission)


  1. Mooi pics Dame. Sê my, hoe werk die hele "for breast cancer awareness" ding? Word die fotos gebruik vir 'n veldtog of hoe?

  2. hi
    dankie, ek het bo verduidelik hoe dit werk. Dit word ge-auction en in kalenders gebruik in die UK. Die geld wat hulle maak deur die fotos te verkoop by die auction en die geld wat hulle kry deur die verkope van die kalenders, word gebruik vir die operasies.

    Maak dit sin?

  3. Thank you for using your unique 'talent' to make more people aware of the scourge that is cancer and especially breast cancer. My sister is undergoing chemo and has lost her left breast and lymph nodes, but is sooooo strong. Love her Mega.