Tell the Tale: Maggie’s Jennifer Meyer Key Necklace
I’m BRCA2 positive and do a lot of advocacy work for women like me who are at a higher risk of developing breast and/or ovarian cancers during our lifetimes than the general population (87% lifetime chance for breast cancer and close to 50% lifetime chance for ovarian cancer). Being the daughter of an incredibly strong breast cancer fighter—my mother is currently in the midst of her third battle with the disease, a fight that has spanned three decades—I took action when I learned of my mutation and almost immediately underwent a bilateral prophylactic mastectomy and a total hysterectomy.
I’m considered unique in the community of “previvors” (that’s what we mutants call ourselves) because I opted not to have reconstruction surgery after my mastectomy. That means I am flat—totally flat (which is why loose, flowy tops look so good on me!). My body’s renovation and my resulting sense of empowerment have led me to be a vocal and visible resource for the cause. I field telephone calls from women who have questions about surgery and help women in their recovery process—I think I heal a little more each time I speak with someone and hear them start to laugh through their tears and fears. I did a graphic, scars-and-all shoot that circulated nationwide in an article in Fitness magazine last October and flashed across TV screens during two CNN interviews. I am ridiculously proud of it for another reason, too: It shows my six-pack, which is something I can brag about in the Army (my chosen profession).
However, the greatest tribute to my choice has come from Hollywood: I was asked to be a body double for the character Cheyanne, an exotic dancer who develops breast cancer and has to get a double mastectomy, in the Jennifer Aniston-produced Lifetime movie Five. So, not only was I acting, I was also being told that my body was fit enough to fill in for an exotic dancer—not bad for a 30+ mom. My daughter, Emily, and I hopped on a plane to L.A. and were spoiled with treats and treatments by Jennifer Aniston’s production team. It was amazing. My first acting contract—and probably only—included a nudity clause: My part comes during the intimacy scene between Cheyanne and her husband post-surgery.
At the end of the day Kristin Hahn, Jennifer Aniston’s business partner, came up to me with the ladies from Lifetime and handed me a gift: It was a gold and diamond necklace shaped like a key with a number 5 as the teeth. They had a few of them made by Jennifer Meyer, a designer who I learned is also Toby Maguire’s wife, for the leading ladies involved in the project. After the performance that I put on—apparently I stand still well—they felt compelled to include me in the circle of women. It was amazingly touching. It is by far the most sentimental piece of jewelry that I own because it represents the day that I leaped out of my comfort zone and owned my new body. —margaret smith
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