#AerieREAL Panel of Amazing Women

We’ve seen an incredible amount of support for #AerieREAL and we love seeing the support spread from woman to woman as each shares their #AerieREAL story. Your kind words, open hearts, and courage are what inspired us to launch our new challenge, “What Do You Love About You?”.

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You’re invited to self-nominate or to nominate a friend that you believe is #AerieREAL. We want to feature their moments, celebrate them and their accomplishments in hope that they inspire others.

5 individuals will be chosen to receive the ultimate Aerie experience! They’ll be invited to join us at Aerie’s HQ and will be featured in an interview on the AEO blog (right here!) complimented by a mini shoot in our Photo Studio. Then, our winners will join Aerie’s style and fit expert, Jenny Altman, as they enjoy a $200 shopping spree and more!

We have a panel of amazing, REAL women who will read through the entries! Read on below to learn a bit more about each and what makes them #AerieREAL.

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Dana Seguin, Aerie’s Senior Director of Marketing has been in the retail business for over 14 years. The last eight years has been spent in brand development and marketing for Chico’s, American Eagle Outfitters and their intimates brand, Aerie. She has spent the last year working on Aerie Real and refuses to use retouched images and helps to promote positive body image.

Amy Levin is the founder and creative director of CollegeFashionista, a fashion website featuring content from college students at more than 400 campuses around the world. A Chicago native, she launched the website in 2009 after a semester abroad in London, where the growing importance of street style inspired her to create a community for fashion, photography and self expression.

Jenny Altman, Aerie’s Style and Fit Expert, is the go-to resource from how-to’s and bra quick fixes. As a fashion editor and stylist for InStylePeople Style Watch, and O, the Oprah Magazine, Jenny has helped dress some of the world’s most celebrated personalities and most importantly she helps transform countless REAL women on a daily basis with her website ILOVEAGOOD.COM. Celebrity or not, Jenny believes intimates are (literally) the foundation of a confident look for all women and her passion is helping women find the right pieces for their body shape by talking about it in a REAL way.

Lindsay Avner, the Founder and CEO at Bright Pink was the youngest patient in the US to bravely opt for a risk-reducing double mastectomy with reconstruction. During the experience, Lindsay was frustrated by the lack of resources for women in her specific situation. So, armed with optimism and dedication, Lindsay founded Bright in Pink in January 2007. Now in its seventh year, Bright Pink is the only national non-profit focusing on the prevention and early detection of breast and ovarian cancer in young women, while providing support to high-risk individuals.

Each day these women exemplify what being #AerieREAL means. It’s being true to you. Believing that imperfections are beautiful and believing that no one can change who you are.

Tweet us, tag us, or tell us your story today! We’ll be highlighting our favorites by April 6th, but you can always tell us your #AerieREAL story anytime on Twitter and Instagram by tagging us with #AerieREAL.

olapic

xoxo,

Aerie

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Aerie Friends & Family: Bright Pink Medical Professional Adviser, Dr. Rachel Wellner

Aerie Friends & Family: Bright Pink Medical Professional Adviser, Dr. Rachel Wellner

Meet Dr. Rachel Wellner, a Medical Professional Adviser for Bright Pink. Read on to learn more about how she is lending her medical knowledge to the Bright Pink community.

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Meet Dr. Rachel Wellner, Bright Pink Medical Professional Adviser

 

Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

I am a breast surgeon practicing at Hackensack University Medical Center.  I offer comprehensive breast health care, treating both benign and malignant condition, and I aim to do so with compassion.  My aims of treatment include rendering my patients disease-free, restoring and enhancing physical form, and promoting a healthy lifestyle and quality of life. I am very interested in international health care, setting up many programs around the world to aide those with less access to medical technology.  I spent the past several years as an attending at The Mount Sinai Hospital, Beth Israel Medical Center, and was Director of Breast Services at The New York Eye and Ear Infirmary.  I currently reside in Manhattan.  My hobbies include tennis, yoga, cycling, reading, playing musical instruments, writing.  I also practice meditation and concentrate on optimizing the mind-body-spirit connection in myself and others.

How did you hear about/ get involved with Bright Pink?

Last year, I met several inspirational young women from Bright Pink, including Lindsay Avner.  I was honored to be an invited speaker at one of their forums.

Who or what has been the most important influence in your life?

My four grandparents were Jewish refugees in Europe during World War II.  All four experienced the Holocaust- and survived. Growing up conscious of the potential for human suffering, I wanted to dedicate my life to its prevention and mitigation. Treating patients with breast cancer was a natural fit. Helping women who are inherent survivors through their battle both inspires and humbles me daily.

Why is it important for girls/women to become educated in breast/ovarian health?

Information is power! Prevention and early detection of breast and ovarian cancer save lives.  Women/girls should get to know their bodies and learn some of the early warning signs in order to get the medical attention they need early on, vastly improving their chances of having a positive outcome or preventing a life threatening situation altogether.

What inspires you in everyday life?

My patients, the earth, music, art, fresh air, love, Bright Pink!…. life!

What do you love about Bright Pink?

Certainly, the cohort of incredible young women working to raise awareness is awe-inspiring.

 

 

 

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Aerie Friends & Family: Bright Pink Support Ambassador Julie G.

Aerie Friends & Family: Bright Pink Support Ambassador Julie G.

Meet Julie G., a Bright Pink Support Ambassador  from Denver, Colorado! Read on to learn more about Julie and how Bright Pink has made an impact on her life.

Meet Julie G., Bright Pink Outreach Ally

Meet Julie G., Bright Pink Support Ambassador

 

Tell us a little bit about yourself. 

My name is Julie Gordon and I reside in beautiful Denver, Colorado.  I am fortunate to live in a state that has 300+ days of sunshine per year, which means there are no excuses to get out and enjoy the beauty.  I live on a park and we are less than an hour away from the mountains, so we take full advantage of an active Colorado lifestyle.  Winter hobbies mostly include skiing!  Summer activities include biking around town/to baseball games/concerts in the park, hiking the trails and/or mountains (I have summited 10 of the 54 14,000 foot peaks), running, fly fishing, dinning al fresco.

I have the most fun and rewarding job!  I am the owner of barre3 Denver.  Barre3 combines the grace of the ballet barre with the wisdom of yoga and the strength of Pilates.  I work with an amazing team of instructors, and we together have shaped the bodies and self-image of women (and men) in our community by teaching challenging classes set to an upbeat soundtrack.  But to be honest, I get more out of seeing my clients in class and sharing their stories and successes…much like working with Bright Pink!

 

How did you hear about/ get involved with Bright Pink?

I first heard about Bright Pink after Giuliana Rancic (a close friend and supporter of Bright Pink) shared her breast cancer diagnosis and mentioned her work with Bright Pink.  A few months later, I had my genetic testing done after my aunt was diagnosed with ovarian cancer (she is also a breast cancer survivor who was diagnosed at 29 years of age).  After I received my results (I am BRCA negative-the only one out of ten family members who have been tested; all the others are BRCA positive) I came across Bright Pink as a result of internet research, and I knew I wanted to be involved in this amazing organization-to raise awareness and education for those with a strong family history of breast and/or ovarian cancer (like me), have been diagnosed, or carry the BRCA gene mutation.  Like Lindsay Avner, the brilliant founder of Bright Pink, I feel with education and empowering young women about their risk that not another woman should be diagnosed or suffer with breast/ovarian cancer.

Then I registered to run the 2012 Chicago Marathon as a member of Bright Pink.  My involvement didn’t stop there – last summer I joined the Denver Bright Pink Chapter as our Support Ambassador.  I have met some incredibly inspiring, bold women here in Denver and on the leadership team in Chicago and the ambassadors in other cities.

 

Who or what has been the most important influence in your life?

As silly as it seems, it is my kitty, Emily–she has changed my life for the better.  For the last 16 years (yes, she is 16 years old) she has been my constant companion through good times…and the not so good times, I find more joy in witnessing her actions and how she delights in the simple things (her fave toys are a cardboard box or a paper grocery bag and a plastic pull tab from a Whole Foods container), she gives generously, she has helped me realize the benefit of an afternoon “cat nap,” her loving gaze and gentle touch have opened my eyes to my surroundings and how I connect with others, and let me tell you about some of the conversations we have had…!  I could go on and on!  I don’t know what I will do without her.

 

What inspires you in everyday life?

The beauty of my surroundings–the snow capped mountains, the sunsets that take your breath away, the wind that creates music as it blows the leaves of the aspen trees, the calming sound of water trickling in a brook, a delish meal prepared with my boyfriend, and a lovely glass of wine.  Then there are the experiences of travel…!!  Isn’t that why we work so hard? ;)

 

What do you love about Bright Pink?

I love that it has connected women who would not have for any other reason met in life.  Through sharing our journey, we can support and build each other up on a local level and help the leadership team achieve so many goals and reach that many more young women.  I love that it has forced my family to communicate and be proactive about our results and consider our options-it has joined us together as a family no matter how spread out in the country we are.  I love too that Bright Pink has given me that extra nudge to open my own business so I can have an impact on the health and wellness of women (and men) in my community-at-large.  My business has also provided me with a space to host events for our local Bright Pink women.

 

How can girls/women get involved with Bright Pink?

The Bright Pink website www.brightpink.org is a wonderful resource and would be the first place to find more information.  It can send one in the right direction to connect with a local chapter, you can make a tax-deductible donation, and learn more about the amazing programs that Bright Pink offers.

 

 

Bright Pink’s message is about the importance of taking a proactive approach to your health and they offer an interactive online quiz that combines your family health history and lifestyle factors to create a personalized risk assessment for you to save, print, and bring to your doctor to craft a proactive breast and ovarian health strategy unique to you!  Check out Bright Pink’s Assess Your Risk tool and check back for more updates on our partnership.

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Aerie Friends & Family: Bright Pink Ambassador Angela S.

Aerie Friends & Family: Bright Pink Ambassador Angela S.

Meet Angela, a Bright Pink Ambassador from Vermont. Read on to learn more about how Bright Pink came into her life at the exact right time and what inspires her in everyday life.

Meet Angela S., Bright Pink Ambassador from VT.

Meet Angela S., Bright Pink Ambassador from VT.

Please tell us a little bit about yourself. 

I currently live in Burlington, VT, where I am the Director of Human Resources and Career Service, and an adjunct faculty member at Burlington College. My hobbies include baking pastry masterpieces, perfecting my handstand in yoga and cheering on my son at baseball games.

How did you hear about/ get involved with Bright Pink? 

I learned about Bright Pink in 2007, from a New York Times article about Lindsay Avner. I had just found out that I carried the BRCA1 mutation, and the timing couldn’t have been more perfect. I called Lindsay the very next day and asked to get involved. I’ve been proud a part of Bright Pink ever since.

Who or what has been the most important influence in your life?

My dad has always been a huge influence on me – from teaching me about loyalty and bravery, to teaching me how to make a perfect pie crust, he’s always been there for me and supported me unconditionally in everything.

What inspires you in everyday life?

There are so many things, and it depends on the day or the situation. Sometimes it’s watching my son grow up. Other times it’s being able to witness the strength and love that people have for each other. Doing work that is meaningful provides endless inspiration.

What do you love about Bright Pink?

Bright Pink is such a positive and optimistic organization. It’s all about empowering women, supporting women through something difficult.  Bright Pink is much more than a support organization. They provide expert advice and resources so women can be as educated as possible through this journey. And the women that I’ve met through Bright Pink have become some of my closest friends.

How can girls/women get involved with Bright Pink?

Visit www.BrightPink.org to find a chapter or ally city locally. Interact with us on Facebook or Twitter.

 

Bright Pink’s message is about the importance of taking a proactive approach to your health and they offer an interactive online quiz that combines your family health history and lifestyle factors to create a personalized risk assessment for you to save, print, and bring to your doctor to craft a proactive breast and ovarian health strategy unique to you!  Check out Bright Pink’s Assess Your Risk tool and check back for more updates on our partnership.

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Aerie Friends & Family: Jocelyn L., Bright Pink Ambassador

Aerie Friends & Family: Jocelyn L., Bright Pink Ambassador

For the past few years, Aerie has been partnering with Bright Pink, a national non-profit organization focused on the prevention and early detection of breast and ovarian cancer in young women. Meet Jocelyn L., a Bright Pink Ambassador from Chicago, IL. Read on to learn more about how Jocelyn got involved with the organization and why it is important for young women to be proactive with their health.

Meet Jocelyn, a member of Team Bright Pink

Meet Jocelyn, a member of Team Bright Pink

Tell us a little bit about yourself. 

My name is Jocelyn and I live in Chicago, Illinois. I am twenty nine years old and I work at a downtown Chicago firm as a fire protection engineer. In my free time I love knitting, running, and cooking with my husband Tim! We also love craft beer, and exploring all our great city has to offer.

How did you hear about/ get involved with Bright Pink?

My sister was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008 at the age of 27. At her gentle prodding, I finally began regularly seeing an OB/GYN who recommended I look into Bright Pink based on my family history. I put it on the back burner for awhile and then began to use it as a resource after my sister passed away, looking for information about my high risk. Because my sister was positive for the BRCA2 genetic mutation, I eventually met with a genetics counselor and was tested myself. After testing positive, I underwent the regimen of increased screening, and ultimately had a prophylactic double mastectomy in 2012. I remember distinctly after finding out I was BRCA2 positive, looking for people like me–people who didn’t have cancer, but those who were still at high risk. It’s a group that is very much a middle ground, people who are aware of their risk and what it means, but with the time and knowledge to do something about it. I was hungry for information during that time, and Bright Pink was a great resource for me.

Who has been the most important influence in your life?

My sister has been the most influential person of my life. I always looked up to my big sister growing up and as an adult valued her advice and opinions above all. Seeing her struggle with breast cancer, and ultimately succumbing to the disease in 2011 was the push I needed to become more involved in Bright Pink and to truly take care of myself. I would be foolish to see how serious the disease is and see her life cut short and not learn lessons from her experience. She’s still with me every day helping me navigate through life. I miss being able to talk to her, but I know she would be proud of my decisions.

Why is it important for girls/women to become educated in breast/ovarian health?

I think it’s important because it’s our bodies, and no one knows them like us. If we don’t take control then we passively wait to see what happens. Growing up when women in my family were diagnosed with breast cancer, I always imagined that it was something I would deal with in old age. But my sister’s diagnosis at a young age and its aggressiveness really shocked me. Not everyone’s case is so extreme, but it’s possible, and women can’t just put their breast/ovarian health in a box and wait to unpack in it their 40s, when they’re done having children, or when they have time. Cancer doesn’t wait until it’s convenient for you. It may never come, but accepting the possibility that it may come is what goes along with being a high-risk woman. There’s a lot of information out there, and it’s up to everyone to read between the lines and find out what’s best for them and their bodies.

What inspires you in everyday life?

The memory of my sister, and knowing that undergoing the mastectomy has made me proactive instead of waiting to be a victim. If I had to see my sister undergo what she did, and then do nothing to prevent it from happening to me, it would be wasteful. I feel like the gift of knowledge that my sister gave me through this experience is the greatest gift I could ever receive. Seeing strong women empowered in the face of adversity is inspiring to me.

What do you love about Bright Pink?

I love that Bright Pink networks you with real people, not just people in glossy pamphlets. I have participated in the Pink Pal program and spoken with a woman who was in my exact situation and could lend her experiences. I love that the outreach programs are fun and conducive to real discussions about the unique problems high risk women face. The women I meet there are a wealth of information, and they make me feel normal navigating my path. We can discuss anything. I love that there are also educational programs with experts who I feel I can ask anything. Bright Pink’s focus on knowledge and empowerment is the message I needed and I hope can continue to share.

How can girls/women get involved with Bright Pink?

All sorts of ways! Women can attend an outreach program, use the website as an informational resource, participate in the Pink Pal program, volunteer at events, or participate in fundraising activities. Last year I ran the Chicago Marathon (my first!) for Team Bright Pink, raising money for the organization and training with the team. This year I plan to run the Chicago Half Marathon with Team Bright Pink as well.

 

Bright Pink’s message is about the importance of taking a proactive approach to your health and they offer an interactive online quiz that combines your family health history and lifestyle factors to create a personalized risk assessment for you to save, print, and bring to your doctor to craft a proactive breast and ovarian health strategy unique to you!  Check out Bright Pink’s Assess Your Risk tool and check back for more updates on our partnership.

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