Michele Yepez of Norfolk stumbled onto Beyond Boobs! after she went to another support group and left feeling more depressed than when she arrived. “I was reeling and upset after my breast cancer diagnosis and I felt so out of place at the first support group I attended,” Michele said. “I went to a BB! support group and the women there were so loving and full of life.”
Another calendar model encouraged Michele to submit a modeling application a couple months after she became a Boober! “I wanted a way to accept my diagnosis and move on with my life,” Michele explained. “I had to write a bio for the application and that was the first time I really put in writing how I felt. I started writing and the thoughts and feelings just kept on coming. It was such an emotional release for me and really helped me open up to myself.”
Michele had a lot of fun during the photo shoot but it was still a scary and taxing experience for her. “I was bald and not really comfortable without my wig,” she said. “I wanted to wear my usual bold makeup and look dressy but I started to doubt my choice because of my baldness. Now that my hair is starting to grow back I am more comfortable with the way I looked at the shoot.”
It was difficult for Michele not to be able to see the photos after becoming so emotionally invested in the project. She is eagerly awaiting the grand unveiling at the Gala in September. “Modeling in the calendar was definitely worth it,” she said. “The experience changed my outlook and gave all that I had been through new meaning.”
Michele has two children, Mathias and Elise. She works as a marketing manager for an insurance company.