When it comes to International Women’s Day, we want to celebrate women who inspire us. And who better than Olivia Smith?
The ultimate GG girl inspiration, Olivia tell us in her story in her own words…
“And I’m afraid this treatment does mean you will lose all your hair.” Are the only words that echoed around my head that day at the hospital. Forget the cancer, forget the operations, forget the hospital stays, what about my hair?
I am Olivia, 23 years old, fashion graduate, influencer, founder of Cancer Chicks, and cancer survivor.
I add cancer survivor on the end because without that, I wouldn’t be any of the above. Something I have realised this past year is that everything you go through is preparing you for everything you asked for. It’s all meant to be. I always wanted to ‘be someone’, and ‘make a difference’. Little did I know it would be my own cancer diagnosis that would be the start of all of this…
Just a few days after my diagnosis I said to a friend of mine, I am going to start a blog, I am going to make something of this. I had been looking for other peoples blogs to read that I could relate too, people with cancer who still saw the importance in looking and feeling fabulous. I couldn’t find it.
To me, my appearance is so important. As a woman, I want to feel beautiful. This might appear vein to some people, but to me, feeling good starts from the outside, and somehow, I hope that the inside follows.
Being diagnosed with a disease that was going to change my appearance so drastically, petrified me. The thought of becoming known for the disease, instead of what I felt represented me, petrified me even more. Day to day, I work hard to make sure that women with cancer feel like they are more than just the disease, and that they still feel like themselves, through my instagram page (@oliviarosesmithx) and also through my support group Cancer Chicks.
I started Cancer Chicks when I was going through my cancer treatment last year. I had already begun blogging about what I was going through, to try and raise awareness, but I also spoke a lot about fashion and beauty in the face of a cancer diagnosis. I began getting so many messages on my Instagram from other young women thanking me for the content I was producing and I thought it would be a great idea to connect all these women I had been chatting too.
6 months later Cancer Chicks has over 500 members online, and we are busy planning some amazing events to unite these women.
View this post on Instagram
A REFLECTION ON MY HAIR LOSS ✨ It was best thing that ever happened to me. The less we rely on physical attributes to define beauty, the more empowered we become. I found that it can be exhausting trying to fit into societies beauty standards… it’s so crazy what people have decided we are all supposed to be?! Ditch the hair, the makeup, the possessions, what is beauty now? Try loving yourself for something other than your appearance, it’s much more fulfilling. Photo by @amieaspinall
I didn’t lose my hair suddenly, it took 3 months for the change to happen. As it began to thin I started to feel disconnected from it as it was no longer the hair I loved, so when I shaved it, I didn’t feel sad. I felt relieved, that I could start fresh at the end of treatment. That’s where Grow Gorgeous products came in. To be able to have that pamper session with the hair masks, scalp scrub and serum felt like I was feeding my hair the goodness that it needed, and I once again feel like ‘me’ again.
The whole experience has been absolutely life-changing. The biggest realisation that comes with losing your hair is, that your appearance doesn’t define you. Falling out of love with the way you look can build you up more than ever, as you begin searching for things deeper than that for validation.
This year, I celebrate International Women’s Day feeling proud of the hundreds of women with cancer I have supported, united, and made feel beautiful in the face of adversity.
Lots of love,
Founder of Cancer Chicks
View this post on Instagram
“I never realised how powerful the world of social media could really be until I found this incredible community of humans. It is a community that no one wants to be a part of but I am so thankful to be a part of it. There are girls on here who have got me through some pretty dark times and to be able to meet them and joke with them is friggin awesome! Here’s to the strength & positivity to everyone who is part of a community that no one wanted to join 👊🏼” @georgieeswallow ————————————————————— **cancer gurls of the world – check out @cancer.chicks for a great platform of sharing & caring #supportyourlocalgirlgang #hodgkinslymphoma #lymphomaawareness #cancercantstopme #egghead #friends #community #cancer #fuckyoucancer #togetherwecan