“Sometimes, you just need someone to tell you that you’re still beautiful,” says Mia Vanoni, a senior at Sonoma Valley High School. “Because sometimes you can’t believe it any other way, especially when you are fighting a disease that’s changed the way you look.”
Along with her twin sister Bridget, Mia is one of the creators and producers of “Beauty and a Breast.” An aptly titled fashion show and fundraiser, the event will raise money for the Breast Cancer Fund, a San Francisco-based nonprofit working to prevent breast cancer by limiting human exposure to cancer-causing chemicals. The fashion show was designed, in part, to give women and men with breast cancer a chance to dress up and strut their stuff for one high-spirited afternoon.
Scheduled for Saturday, May 21, 2 p.m., at Andrews Hall, the project initially arose from discussions about how the sisters would approach the high school’s required senior project.
“So many of the other senior projects are so senior project-y,” Mia says. “We wanted ours to really mean something to people. We wanted it to impact our community and make a difference.”
With support from Sonoma Arts Live – which is donating the theater space in the middle of its “Calendar Girls” run – the “Beauty and a Breast” fashion show has already won wide support from numerous local businesses, clothing stores, and local volunteers, including over a dozen models.
“Our models have either had breast cancer, or have been impacted by it, or by other kinds of cancer,” says Bridget Vanoni.
Initially, the twins thought that they would design and sew their own clothes for the show, but the idea now makes Bridget laugh.
“There’s no way,” she says. “That would have been so hard. But shop owners have been really generous.”