The Calender Girls: cancer awareness and body confidence

Inspired by Feeling Fab’s cancer awareness event last year, personal stylist Denise Sanderson-Estcourt shares how she ended up going bare for a calendar – all for a good cause! Plus how you can donate and make a difference.


In November 2013 I attended a Feeling Fab cancer awareness event with my sister. I was touched by the various testimonies shared by cancer survivors and sufferers including Eddie Nestor, Shawna, Marcia and father of four, Gareth.

Whilst they were all amazing, it was a prepared speech emotionally yet eloquently delivered by 24-year-old Bianca Brown that really resonated with me. Bianca shared with us how she was Instagramming her ‘cancer diary’ and I thought that she was incredibly brave for doing so, raising awareness of the impact of chemotherapy and the fact that breast cancer can affect one so young. I left feeling inspired to do something about what I’d heard, but not quite sure what.

the cancer diary

Following a Facebook conversation between a group of Colour Me Beautiful consultants, personal stylist Meg Hanlon suggested we create a calendar on body confidence, to not only highlight that what we do is fun and frivolous, but that it can have a profound effect on how someone feels about themselves. I thought it was a great idea and agreed to be part of it not really thinking what I was letting myself in for – especially as talk turned to us taking our clothes off à la The Calendar Girls!

Those who had tentatively signed up set about discussing which charity this calendar would support. We decided upon Breakthrough Breast Cancer as this tied in with the body confidence theme. I asked my husband and sister what they thought – half hoping they would talk me out of it – and they were both very supportive.

The reason behind doing it and the cause helped put aside any fears. I remembered my promise to do something following Bea’s presentation and decided that if she could share her story I could certainly do this.

Although we were blissfully unaware at this time, we soon found out that one of our consultant friends, Maria Hastings, was actually about to undergo treatment for breast cancer. Meg asked the ever positive and fabulous Maria to be our cover girl.

On 10 April, along with a number of consultants and assistants, we shot our calendar at Halliford film studio with the award winning Media Wisdom Photography.

It was an amazing experience and we can’t wait to get the calendar printed and sold, with the aim of raising £50,000 for Breakthrough Breast Cancer.

At the moment we are raising funds for printing, so anything you can give via our donations page would be appreciated. Find the calendar’s Facebook page and be sure to follow us @_BodyConfidence.

And please note: Whilst we did strip, we did drape ourselves in stunning silk in our most flattering colours. Well, we are stylists after all!

Denise is founder of image consultant service Damson Belle. Follow her on @DenDamBelle. Donate to the calendar project here.english to portuguese translation