To add to my yellow brick road journey through life, I met up last week with Miss Pinup Australia 2016, Miss Jade, a beautiful lady who I know through photography as well as fan following on social media. I really wanted to take some photos of her in a glamorous setting to show you all how this lady is overcoming a huge and unexpected obstacle in her life. I felt so many feelings that night!
Let’s backtrack a year ago and I was photographing a group of beautiful 50s looking ladies and Jade was one of them. I had been following her on social media for a while before then so already felt like I was shooting one of the pinup greats. I instantly loved her personality and as a photographer she was great to shoot.
A year has gone by and recently I started seeing Jade totally rocking this glammed up turban look on Instagram. Honestly I just thought she had found a new look and wow it suited her. Then a video was posted which I had to watch a second and third time, Jade was showing her followers what she currently looks like from no makeup to her full pinup look. Just one thing was different, she was bald and talking about chemo. I had no words.
I contacted Jade to ask if she would like to meet and tell me her story for this blog to which she kindly accepted. Which takes us back to the Polit bar on Friday night. We chat over a drink and I must say I felt totally underdressed next to her!
She told me few months back she discovered a lump in her breast, something she hadn’t felt before. After a Dr’s visit and tests she went back to the Dr to be told very frankly it’s cancer. Treatment started immediately with chemo visits regularly. Jade was told hair loss would most likely start 14 days after her first chemo session so she prepared mentally for what was to come and eventually the leap to shave it off after falling out.
To give context, Jade freaking loves pinup, she lives and breathes it and when she said “it’s all about the hair, you know getting that height and playing with it and now I don’t have any”, my heart broke for her. But no, she took it in her stride though and although having bad days she decided to share on social media the reality of it but also gave hope to others with her positiveness.
Jade had looked into wig options but it just wasn’t feeling right or totally her and she told me “Belle, I just didn’t want to look like a chemo patient”. She started experimenting with scarves and diamonte brooches and became ‘The Turbanator’. Her 2 kids even said ‘Now you look like our mum’ because it suits her look so much.
We talked about celebrities in the media that have come out about breast cancer before but you don’t seem to see the struggles and the hair loss and the sickness, just the getting better part. Jade has found that sharing her videos and photos has given encouragement to others in her situation whilst making her feel positive about her own journey.
She has two rounds of chemo left and then onto surgery and radiotherapy, so still quite a bit to go but looking and feeling positive. Jade really expressed to me that dressing up each day and her pinup community has given her so much and makes her feel happy. She even goes full pinup and glam-turban to go to chemo sessions, I can imagine she would be the best dressed there.
We all wish the best for Jade with the rest of the treatment and thankyou for Just being you and so honest and brave.
“Just be… the best version of you. Embrace your individuality and uniqueness.”
You can follow Jade at http://instagram.com/jadeserpentine
Photo credit: Belle Vintage & Pinup Photoshoots Canberra
Venue: Polit Bar
Belle’s ‘yellow brick road’ blog series will share the journey of others, from those who have taken the road of self-love through to inspiring people who show us the power of empathy, kindness and helping others.
Belle refers to her body as ‘cuddly’ and her man loves it. Belle is a mad Oz fan, mumma bear of 3, and loves to shoot people in beautiful settings.