I first encountered Kim Caldwell, lingerie blogger and expert bra fitter, and her “Hurray Kimmay” blog on the Ana Ono Intimates Instagram feed. I was intrigued that Kimmay, not a breast cancer survivor, had featured the incredible lingerie line that I so love. After reading her post on post-mastectomy lingerie, I was further impressed that she does not allow photographers to Photoshop her body in photos anymore. Kimmay is here not only to talk body positivity, but is walking the walk. In her adorable, bubbly and deeply intelligent way, she is here to educate, connect and help women fall in love with their bodies. When Lisa and I were planning our Last Cut trip to NYC, I reached out to Kimmay about sharing a Last Cut Conversation. I had a hunch that this woman had much to say on the subject of last cuts and wanted to continue the discussion around lingerie and my changing body (a universal experience for most women in different phases of life). Lisa and I headed out to Astoria, Queens just hours after learning of the shootings at Pulse in Orlando. This Last Cut Conversation with Kimmay gave me hope in a moment of darkness. It reminded me that there are so many ways to be of service, to educate and to show up as a force of good in this world. I am so grateful for all that Kimmay has to share.
Before we launch into the questions, can you tell us who you are and what you do?
Kimmay: "My name is Kim Caldwell. You can call me Kimmay. I own two businesses. One is Hurray Media, which is a lingerie marketing company. I also have a website for women, which is called Hurray Kimmay. It has been around longer than Hurray Media. The website helps women say “Hurray!” inside, outside and underneath. I offer lingerie and bra-fitting advice and body positivity content, but I touch on so many other things. I like to say that the shiny object that I offer is bra information. If I say, "Does your bra hurt?" and you say, "YES." Then I can say, "Great. I will help you." That's the shiny object. It's useful. It's helpful. But then the gold that I deliver is all the other stuff that comes with that. How a woman feels about her body. How she interacts in her new world when she feels comfortable and confident and her heart is open. That's a whole new level. Beyond bra fitting, I also offer women's circles and dabble in style stuff. I'm also the lingerie expert for About.com and write lingerie articles for publications like the Lingerie Journal. So, there's a lot that I do. It is constantly content about lingerie, intimates and bodies, all day long."
How did you get into that?
"I went to school here in New York City, moved here when I was eighteen, and studied Musical Theater. I was poor. I had no money. I could barely afford my $275 per month rent where I was living at 117th Street between 2nd and 3rd. If anyone is from New York, you will know that eleven years ago when I lived there, it was shady. It was shady, shady, shady. And I lived in a 6th floor walk up. We had bed bugs. We had mice. We had roaches. I was eating ramen all the time. I had no money. I was working, paying for my school and everything. I was financially independent at eighteen.
I was making about eight dollars an hour selling shoes and a friend of mine heard me saying that I was desperate to make more money. She said, "Well, there's this bra shop opening up downtown. Would you be interested in working there?" I said, "Does it pay more than eight dollars an hour?" She said, "Yeah, I think it pays ten." So I said, "AMAZING. I'll be there." I went down and got hired on the spot and was asked to take my top off during the interview. I thought, "I'm confused. This does not seem appropriate." But it was because she wanted to measure me and then it totally changed my life.
I think the most important thing that changed for me during that time was that I saw naked women. I was nineteen or twenty years old. I didn't know what women's naked bodies looked like except for my own and what I saw in fashion and health magazines. That's what I thought bodies were supposed to look like. So I was really hard on my own body. After a week of seeing pregnant women, old women, young women, women with cancer, supermodels, I was like, "Oh, that's what women's bodies really look like." And more importantly, I saw that even the women I thought were stunningly gorgeous, all had something negative to say in the mirror. I thought, "This is a giant waste of time. Nobody sees that but you." So I started my own journey of changing the way I talk to my own body. I realized that I could help other women do that while in the bra-fitting room.
That's how I started as a bra-fitter and was quickly recruited by Saks Fifth Avenue to work in their intimate apparel department. Then I was recruited by La Perla to be their brand ambassador in Saks Fifth Avenue and Bergdorf Goodman, and that's where I had my first on-camera experience where I was live on NBC with Martha Stewart. I was twenty-two and that was a giant opportunity. Then I did Tim Gunn's “Guide to Style,” which was really fun. And then I thought lingerie was just a thing to get me through college and said, "I'm out." But, after a year of trying ready-to-wear, I took a year off, well I actually got let go, and figured out what the heck I was doing with my life.
After that year, I went and got rehired at the same bra shop where I started. I went back and became their bra-fitter, store manager, marketing manager and marketing director. And that was actually where I got all of my marketing experience. Then, eventually, because of some situations with the company, I started my own business in 2014 and broke off on my own. So here we are in 2016 and I have my own marketing company. That's the route.
It's funny to look back and realize what brought me here, because honestly, I thought I was done with lingerie. I thought it was something silly. And now my life's purpose includes it. It’s nice to see the progression."
It sounds like a movie.
"I know. I've got to write a book. I mean, the life lessons that I learned in a bra-fitting shop are going to stick with me forever. My friend and I were reminiscing about how we felt like we were changing these women's lives. And we knew we were. We had women cry. I had a woman take me to the New York City Ballet to see the Nutcracker because she was so happy. It was crazy. They were so just so grateful. You spend 30 minutes in a bra-fitting room together and change their lives. They were just so thankful. We were reminiscing about how much service we were providing. Now, I think I'm just doing the same thing on a much bigger scale, because I realized that I couldn’t fit every woman in the world. It's just impossible."
What is most true to you? What makes you tick.
"I really and truly believe that undergarments can change a women's life and then she can go on to change the world. I really believe that. And even saying that, I know it sounds silly. I sound like a kooky person. But, I've seen it happen. I think it goes to what I was saying about the gold and the shiny object. It goes beyond just a bra fitting. If a woman goes into any shop right now and gets a fitting, is it going to change her life? Maybe. Maybe not. I'm talking about a different kind of bra fitting. I'm talking about how starting with that layer, [that experience] can totally transform how a woman thinks about herself, about her body, about her worth, about her femininity, about her feminine energy. There's a whole possibility there that if you are working with the right kind of bra-fitter (and maybe they aren't all as spiritual as I am), that can totally change a woman's life. I know this is true. I know it because I've seen it. I've had people come back and say, "You know, I never thought working with you in the bra-fitting room and changing my bras would change the way I think about myself as a woman." It's a unique opportunity. I know that there are lots of ways I can help women, and a bra fitting just happens to be my favorite tool to do so. Other tools just feel more blunt to me, or awkward, or I just haven't learned to use them yet. But this is the tool that I have. This is the tool that I can use with precision to help that woman. It's like a scalpel for me."
So get more specific. I can intuit some of it, because I have experienced it myself. When I found Dana's bras (Ana Ono Intimates) after I had my surgery, I had that moment because, even though I don't have to wear something all the time, I wanted to be comfortable and have something that's pretty. [Getting these bras] was a complete moment of going from feeling like an outsider to going to feeling at home in my body. Can you speak more to your own experience? Go back to when you were 19. What were you thinking and working through personally that this process [of bra-fitting] spoke to and led you to start to make a shift?
"So let me include some examples from other people. Because what you are saying is so true, feeling at home in your body and feeling understood. The majority of people that I was helping were in specialty lingerie stores, where we had sizes A through N cup."
I can't even imagine what an N cup looks like.
"It's full. That's a full bust. That woman feels like a freak. So imagine this: Victoria's Secret is like THE bra company in the US and the world. And I live in a global destination in New York City where women would come from around the world to go to New York City to go to Victoria's Secret and think, “Oh my God, all my bra problems are going to be solved.” They think, “I'm finally going to find something that fits these awkward horrible boobs that I have.” They go to Victoria's Secret and think that all their problems are going to be solved. And Victoria's Secret has a very small size range, and then they don't fit into anything there. They decide that they must actually not fit into anything.
So, thank God there is a customer from [the shop I used to work in] that was working at Victoria's Secret that would send those customers to us. If they really didn't fit into anything, she would send them up and their whole life would change. Then I would hear, "Oh my God, someone get's me. Oh my God, something is made that actually fits me. I'm not a freak." So that's number one, just feeling as if you are understood and someone makes something that fits you well.
The other thing that I think is that there is so much shame and confusion around breasts. I think it starts when we are young and breasts really identify us. "Wow, I'm a woman now." I think some women identify with that really positively and I think some women don't. I've had so many conversations with women that said, "I didn't like them. They totally changed my role in society and I didn't like it."
And I had so many conversations with women about what cup size means. If you are an A cup, that means something. Usually, that means you are smart. You're athletic. You're not very sexy. You're probably a plain Jane. There are so many things that that means about her. Whereas if you are a triple G cup, you are probably a slut. You are probably a bimbo. You are sexy. You are loose. There are things that we tell ourselves about what that means and we have now been assigned by this [marker] on our body. And then also, [there is the issue of] not knowing how bra sizes work, which is a very common thing. I don't want to tell people that they can't fit themselves, but it is complicated, there are a lot of things going on."
You don't want to fit two people in your bra! We saw that last night [on the video from your website].
"Right! You don't want to fit two people in your bra. It doesn't fit. One person at a time! There's just a lot of confusion about how the hell your bra should fit. What makes it fit? What a size even means. "Is a G cup really a G cup or is it really four D's? I'm confused. Should I wear a 32 or a 34? I don't get it.” It's all really confusing. So when someone comes in and says, "Hey, it's ok. Here's what fits." And she feels, “Oh wow. A. You get me. B. I'm not a freak, and C. This fits like a fucking glove."
And so finally, the other thing that I think in general when I am helping women is that shame and confusion I’m talking about. I hear, "I'm awkward. This is horrible. This is uncomfortable. These things are in the way." Once she is lifted and supported and she is comfortable, she's like, "OH!" [gestures to chest and heart, changes posture]. She goes from hunched over and confused and hurtful, painful, and suddenly being able to stand tall. Her chest is forward. Her shoulders are back."
Everything opens up.
"Physically and emotionally, our breasts are the doorways to our hearts. So if you can imagine, if you think anything about chakras and even if you don't, just physically being able to stand up tall and have your heart be able to lead, it changes a woman's life."
When I got the silicone out, I realized, “Oh wow, not only could I draw a deep breath, but I felt my heart and everything felt open.” So, tell me about your own journey, too, and then we can weave into your Last Cut. For you, in talking about your own journey, does that incorporate a last cut, internally or externally, or is your last cut about something totally different?
"So, I think you know that for most of us there are lots of last cuts happening throughout our lives."
Yes, throughout our day, often.
"Some are deeper. Some are longer. Whatever. The one I want to talk about is more current. I think it was just very obvious. Last night, I asked my friend, who knows me very well, "I'm doing this interview tomorrow, and I really think I want to talk about something, but what do you think? Maybe you can see something in me?" She said, "I'm not going to tell you what to talk about!" I said, "Come on, give me something," because she does a really good job of seeing me as me. So she said, “Starting your business,” which I agree with. So, I'm going to talk about that in a minute.
But in this particular journey, for me to even get there, it's important to add that when I was 19 starting in the bra-fitting room, I wasn't really kind to my body. I was a real bitch. I was telling it what to do and wasn't listening to it and was not honoring it. Totally took it for granted. Pushed it beyond what it could really do. I was working full time and going to school full time and going out, living in New York City and going out. I wasn't fueling it well. I wasn't letting it rest. I wasn't having a nice conversation with it. I was telling it that it was horrible, and that showed. I was underweight and, scientifically, icky. I was a total mess. So I started the journey by making the decision to treat my body a little bit better."
Did it happen in that moment?
"It totally happened within that first week. I think like with any relationship, it wasn't overnight we were best friends again. I still was sort of a mean girl to my body; I had just started that shift. So it's happened over the past eleven years. I think it got really obvious and I started listening a little more when it started screaming at me. It was like, "Oh, hey, you've had shingles twice. You have vertigo. I'm screaming at you to stop certain things or I'm screaming at you to do more of this. I love this." I was not listening. And it was not good for my body. So about four years ago, I really had a hard conversation with my body. I was like "Body, what do you need?" I went to five doctors in five days, because I felt like crap and the doctors said, "Well, there's not anything really scientific happening here." It was my primary care physician who said, "I'm going to prescribe yoga to you.""
That's amazing. Lisa and I were just talking about the thread of yoga and returning to it.
"Yeah. And sometimes it takes our bodies screaming at us to go even when we know what is good for us."
Yes. That's what this project is all about. The truth lives in our bodies. I lived that for twenty years. I had thyroid cancer at 21, had depression and panic attacks, then had migraines for years and was heavily medicated. And it wasn't until I started to change the way I eat, started to exercise. All of that started to unravel relationships that weren't healthy. Closed my company. Quit other jobs. This breakup, that breakup. Huge unraveling of everything I thought was supposed to make me happy.
"And using the word unraveling, I love it. Because we start to spin it so tight that it takes control of our lives and our bodies start screaming at us."
And it's a fucking mess. It's not easy. We have a best friend who is a coach that I worked with for four years. And most weeks, I would show up at her door and then get into the fetal position for an hour and we'd talk about what's next on the list for project "take back my life." I think certainly for women we very much experience the rejection of our truth in our bodies and often it takes illness or some sort of mental un-wellness to get our attention.
"I totally agree. So [my body] was telling me, "Hey, I don't like some of the things you are putting in me." For me, that was dairy and some other foods, and I was having panic attacks on the train and on planes."
I just said that when we came through the Midtown Tunnel coming over here. When I was living here [in NYC], I couldn't go through a tunnel. I could barely get in a car. When I was close to your age, at that point in my life. I couldn't have sat in this small room.
"I think we, in our world, we see that as weakness. That's all in your mind. Get over it. Medicate it. No knock on medication, but I was really sick of treating the symptoms instead of the issue. So I had to unravel. I had to ask, "What's really going on here? What's really happening inside my heart and inside of my body?" Some of it was that I was not happy in the job I was in. Even though I was doing good work, I was not satisfied with some aspects of it. I was pushing my body and myself into a direction that it didn't want to go. I was forcing myself. I'm loud so I did a really good job of out-louding my body for a while, telling it to shush. "I know what I'm doing. You shut up so I can continue doing this thing that's not really healthy for me." Until finally it said, "I'm louder than you." In a moment of slight weakness where I was quiet for a minute, it would speak up and I would be a complete disaster. I think if someone knew me four years ago, they'd think I was a totally different person. Especially if they knew me on the inside, they'd see that I'm a totally different human.
So, going back to when I was twenty, here I was telling my body what to do. Telling it was wrong, forcing it to do things. So I started that journey toward realizing that it wasn't healthy for me to talk in a certain way. And now, just about last year, I realized that I needed to have that same conversation, but with my inner self. I realized that I had made this beautiful relationship with my body and was on my way to feeling that we are best friends. We have a great time together. We have our off days, but most days we are great. I mean, some days you hate your best friend. It happens, but we are getting there. But with my inner self, I was still a real mean girl. I was telling myself, I wasn't doing enough. I wasn't trying hard enough. I just wasn't enough. So I started that beautiful unraveling process about a year ago, and holy fuck, that's hard. And you know what? I think I made so many beautiful positive changes leading up to that particular realization that I wasn't being super helpful to myself inside until I think I was finally ready for it. I think I had so much other crap to deal with, and things to do, and putting myself first physically. I was finally able to see that [the relationship with my inner self] and deal with it and not have a total meltdown."
We were talking about that last night at dinner. How things happen in phases often so that we can get to a place of being ready to handle the next thing.
LISA: That's the wisdom. There's wisdom actually in the process of any of these big unravelings. Because if we took it all off as an onslaught at once, if we lived all five stages of grief at once for example, we wouldn't survive. And so we vacillate between them. These massive changes happen in waves, because we couldn't do it any other way.
"So waves are a great way to put it. I also see it as a growth. I feel like I'm growing every single time. Growth is uncomfortable. It's hard. I think I was expecting myself to just be grown. This is a little off-topic, but I think it is important to say. So I do these guided visualizations for women's circles and I have to prep for them and be guided. In one of them, basically fairies are leading us. Go with it, whatever. So we are in this garden and we are talking to this plant that is sick. We are asking it what it needs and it needs to feel home and to feel loved. And that made sense, it needed to feel nourished and loved in order to be beautiful. And then there was a plant that is thriving. I saw this massive tree. This giant big tree that looked like it was a hundred or something years old was big and had a thick trunk and giant roots and tons of leaves and vines growing and it was complicated with so much to it. And so I asked this tree, “How did you get to be so big and thriving?” And it said, "Whoa. Whoa. Wait a minute. I'm still growing. I grow a little bit every day." And that was the most beautiful message I had ever received, because I think I was expecting myself to be grown."
Right, we assume it's a finite process.
"You can't expect yourself to go from sapling to tree in a day. It just doesn't work that way. You have to allow yourself the time and give yourself the nourishment to grow and grow and grow. Right? And that came from within me. The answer was there. I just had to slow down enough to hear it. So that's the process that I'm in."
It's cool to me, as the mother of a nine year old daughter, and just knowing where I am in life, just a little bit ahead of you going through the same stuff. I love seeing the different points in time and in life that the same things are happening in you. That you are on that path and that you are on that growth curve ten years ahead of when I felt like I was there. That gives me hope in the world where there are things so heavy and hurtful that are happening. That was the whole point of doing this project. How do we create community around this process of the stripping away to get to the point of living who we each individually are? Because it is a hard process.
"Thank you for saying that. I actually feel extremely fortunate that I was nineteen or twenty with that first realization about my body, because a lot of the women that I was helping in the bra-fitting room were like fifty-five and had never started that journey with their body. Then they had passed on that shame and confusion to their daughters and their granddaughters."
Right. They were probably in ingrained marriages that were defined around a certain body sense.
"Yes, and they didn't have the inner resources to make a last cut. So, there were reasons, usually external, but let's be honest, there were internal reasons as well that she was coming to me at fifty-five. Usually, her kids were out of the house, she had time and, because she was fifty-five, she'd accumulated some resources and had some wealth. She's also fucking desperate, because her body has changed for probably the fourth time. She thinks, "I don't know what to do with these. Fix them." She's says, "Help me. Oh my god. " So she comes in, and I have this conversation with her and she's like, "I've never had a bra fit this well in my life. I can't believe I waited until I was fifty-five," and then we have the conversation about her as a woman and her as this and her as that, and then she says, "I have to bring my daughter in to see you." I say, "Yes please! Please let me help her at twenty instead of at fifty-five. Please let me talk to her and change her life at twenty because then, holy crap, we can change the course of the women she talks to and the kids that she has." It's like a little sunbeam, right, if we are the sun and we cast off sunbeams until everyone is covered in sunbeams and we all feel a lot fucking better. So that's what I mean by how I think bra fitting can change the world. Starting there. Do I think we are going to change every problem in the world with it, no? But I do think we each do our part."
So in terms of your definable Last Cut moment and starting your business. How did that transition go? And how has it been being on the other side of walking away from what you were doing and doing your own thing?
"I am probably going to answer three of your questions at the same time. I want to be careful about how I describe the [company that I worked for], because I care for them deeply. But they were like a bad boyfriend. I was remembering the good times and a purpose in life that was very strong and wonderful and I identify with it so much. But they were making promises that they couldn't keep. It was comfortable, but not really right anymore for growth in my life. It was just not right. I think it was, again, like a bad boyfriend. My friends would say, “Why are you still working there?” as if to say, “Why are you still with him?” And I would say, "Well, it's not as bad as you think. There are still good things." It's such a beautiful parallel.
I was basically my boss' right-hand person. I put my blood, sweat and tears into that company and wanted it to be awesome. They were very popular, but they made some financial decisions that put them in a rut. They had to downsize and they didn't need a marketing director anymore. They were closing two stores. So my boss offered me a position as a fitter in the store again. I said I would look for another job, but he really wanted me there. [And as soon as I was back there], the more I thought about it, the more I thought, “What's my purpose? Can I really do that working for someone else? You don't have kids now. You don't have car payments. We don't even have a mortgage. So this is the time to be risky.” I thought long and hard about it. I'm a spiritual person with a strong faith, so I prayed about it. I meditated about it.
One day, I was fitting in the store and this beautiful woman came in. She was the producer on Tim Gunn's “Guide to Style.” She was the woman that I had worked with seven, eight years before and she was said, "Wow. You're still in the bra world?" And I said, "Yeah, I was a marketing director and now I'm back here temporarily. I'm thinking of going out on my own, but I'm not sure. I'm nervous." She said, "Just do it." I said, "What?" She said, "Look, I want you here as my fitter because you are great, but you've outgrown this. It's not for you anymore." This is a woman I barely knew. She was like an angel. There were a million arrows pointing towards leaving. I could fit a woman with my eyes closed. Was there more to gain there? Possibly. But I'd really wrung it dry.
I talked with my husband and I had actually really been trying to get him to leave his job. So I said, “Let's just really disrupt our lives.” It came down to something silly, by the way, that I left over. We all know it was a bigger thing. But it came down to scheduling. I said, “Listen, I can't work with clients and not know my schedule. I have to have set days.” They said, “That's not the way it works here. So I said, "I guess I'm out." It was really silly, but it needed to happen. And I told my husband, “Hey just so you know, I left my job. I'm going to take a giant pay cut. I have one [marketing] client left.”
So, he said that he would stay at his job, even though he was miserable. So that was a Wednesday. The following Wednesday, to the day, my husband was let go from his job. Two weeks later, on our wedding anniversary, I lost my only client. I was like, “Ok, we are fucked.” I had, in my opinion, two options. One was to go get a job where I knew I could be successful. I knew that fixed mindset. I could go sell lingerie and be successful, in wholesale or retail. I have the experience that I could go to any store and try to get a job. Or, I could try to grow my own business. This is something I knew I could do, so I needed to really see if I could do it. This is the time to do it. So I basically spent August through December 2014 just trying to keep my head above water. Just trying to pay my bills. It was nuts. It was crazy. And I grew a lot. It was so uncomfortable and so hard and so exciting and I grew. It was the most growth I've ever had in my entire life. And growth is scary.
And so once I knew I kind of proved that I wasn't going to drown, I spent 2015 really learning how to be a businesswoman. I knew about lingerie and I kind of knew about marketing, but I didn't know how to run a business. I really made the shift from saying I was a freelancer, or a business consultant, to saying that I was a business owner. It was a big mental shift for me to do that. I invested a lot back into my business. I made a bunch of mistakes. I made a bunch of really good decisions. On the same day, I could feel like super woman and like a complete failure. It was like a total roller coaster. Really 2015 was crazy. Like loca. Really loca. It was nuts. So then 2016, I'd paired down. I'd unraveled. I thought, "That was crazy.” And I survived. I grew a ton. So now how do I slow down and do that little bit of growth every day, instead of I AM GROWING!! So that's where I am now."
Sometimes when you rip the band aid off so early, it all has to be rattled so hard that it gets shaken up. Then, you learn to pace yourself. I love the parallel here with Ronny talking about the roller coaster in his conversation. I like to think about the distance between when you make a decision and when you either realize it was a great one or it was the worst thing in the world. Hopefully as we mature and grow, the distance gets smaller. You do not need to constantly do so much massive cleanup.
"I actually look at it as a pendulum. I was just talking to my friend about this last night where I said, "Listen, sometimes, if you are making a bigger last cut, or a big decision, you've pulled that pendulum really hard. So when you make a decision, it's going to swing all the way the other way. It's going to take some time to even out. " I'm still evening out. This all just happened two years ago. I think the first year was a giant swing. The second year was still a pretty big swing. Now I think it's coming down to where I can finally start to even out a little bit. And, you know what? Then I'll probably make another cut and it'll start all over again."
Right. But has it been worth it?
"Yes. I just had seventeen days in Mexico and Florida getting paid to do campaigns with lingerie brands that I completely love and admire. They were entrusting me to take this on and to share it with my own voice and my own body on my own website. They were just behind the scenes. And with the permission of not photo-shopping my images in any way, I am spreading this message that you can be who you are. What a beautiful gift I was given. That's worth it in a huge way. Four sponsors paid for me to go sit on the magical beach of Tulum. That's nuts. So, even on the days when I am overwhelmed and I'm working seven days a week, it's totally worth it.
I love the term last cut, because it really feels as if you've made a wound. In a good way. When I left my other job, I really felt like I cut off an arm. It was my identity for a long a time. My face is still all over their website. I think it felt like I cut off a limb. I'm still healing from it. And I think I am growing stronger. It's like any kind of working out. You have to tear the muscle inside a little bit, and then you get stronger. I can tell you 100% it was worth it. Even if it all goes to shit, it was worth it."
I have one last question for you. I loved the fact that you were photographed in the Ana Ono Intimates and spoke up about the experience of a post-mastectomy woman (when you are not one). I have made the decision to put myself in front of the camera, as I feel my vulnerability gives strength to other women. Why did you make the decision to not only speak of lingerie, but also to show yourself (unedited, no Photoshop) in intimates on the blog?
"For eleven years in the business, I never had any pictures taken of me in my underwear. I don't think that people have to show their bodies in order to prove that they love it. But I was given the gift of seeing other women's bodies without Photoshop or anything when I was in the bra-fitting room, and I thought that other women don't have that. So I thought, can I be of service? [The shoot for Ana Ono] has already served such a purpose. Even if it feels a little obnoxious, choosing the title "The most taboo lingerie I've ever worn” was to get people to look. The purpose ends up being so much bigger than you seeing me in my underwear.
It's already made a difference with the men in this building. Introducing myself as a lingerie marketer brings up a lot of things. It brings up, "Oh, do you need an assistant?" "How does it feel working with panties all day?" I have to decide how I want to steer them. Do I want to steer you toward, “Oh, ha ha, it's fun," or do I want to steer you toward, "It's great. In fact, I just took pictures of myself in my underwear the other day for this awesome company that makes lingerie for women after breast cancer. And gosh, we've just gotten the best responses and it's opened up the best conversations. So if you have a woman in your life who has been affected by breast cancer...?" And they respond surprised, not realizing that we were going to go there. It is a beautiful opportunity. I was talking to these four guys about what happens in breast reconstruction while we were standing by a beer pong table the other day. They said they had no idea it was not just like a boob job. They had all these questions about the process that women go through. They asked about tattooed nipples. We had this great conversation. So, I don't think that would ever have happened if I hadn't agreed to pose in my underwear and do that post on my website about it. I think I am doing a significant thing. I hope it is significant and not just vain. I think it is significant."