1. Hi Jacquie! Thank you for speaking with us about your mastectomy experiences today, we are so excited to hear all about your tips and tricks! Let's start with finding out a little more about your role as a celebrity ambassador for Future Dreams, the breast cancer awareness charity we are collaborating with for our upcoming mastectomy swimwear range. What stood out to you about Future Dreams?
The determination that the ordinary women at Future dreams have to honour the memory of their friends is incredible. They think big in setting their goals and after one meeting with Sam Jacobs (Futures Dreams brand director) I was convinced they would achieve the plan to open another Haven to help women suffering with breast cancer in North London and beyond.
2. As a former Olympic gymnast you have maintained a keen passion for sports and a great body that anyone would want to show off - what was your biggest concern for getting into a bikini again, post-surgery?
I wanted to ensure that the styles were flattering to my new shape as I have had reconstruction surgery, but also wanted swimwear that I felt comfortable wearing. I needed good support in the bikini top whilst still being fashionable so I knew that the bikini would need to have more structure in comparison to my pre-surgery preferences. It wasn't the case with me, but I do know some women have scars that they'd like to keep hidden – so two scraps of fabric held together with a string will not do!
3. Undergoing reconstruction surgery has allowed you to be more experimental with your swimwear choices – what are your favourite shapes and styles and why?
I have definitely gained a more womanly shape from my reconstruction surgery, as I had a much smaller bust before. Having bought several bikinis to try out on my holiday at the end of chemo, I believe that a bandeau bikini works best for my new shape; very much like the Danielle bikini from the upcoming collection - low cut cups don't work.
4. You are a strong, positive role model for other women who have been affected by breast cancer which is why you are the model for our campaign, what do you like and find most unique about the Melissa Odabash mastectomy swimwear range?
The collection looks beautiful on, regardless of whether or not you have undergone breast surgery. It has been thoughtfully designed and the bikini tops in particular are spot on – support, with a lot of style and a bit of a twist.
5. Due to your professional sporting past, The Jacquie bikini was named after you for its Sports Luxe aesthetic, what do you do to get in shape before you get into a bikini?
I love the Jacquie! The zip detail is very chic! I don't actually do much to get in shape specifically for holidays but I run a little every other day and do sit ups and press ups. It’s a routine I’ve always done, with a bit of yoga incorporated. Since being diagnosed, I have adopted a dairy free diet and only eat small portions of organic chicken or fish with lots of greens which has trimmed down my thighs quite a bit! I can recommend it!
6. You are going to need somewhere to rock your new bikini - what is your favourite destination for the ultimate relaxing getaway?
We are going to my husband’s hometown Ipanema Beach in Rio this Christmas! Bikini fashion is taken extremely seriously there and seeing as people walk around the streets in their swimwear all day, it's important to get it right! In the summer we often go to Menorca, It's a beautiful island and we never tire of it. We always try and spend some time in New Jersey where I can get advice from my bikini-expert friend Nicole who has really helped me post-surgery.
Well obviously I will be wearing the Jacquie Bikini, maybe in Navy? However all the colours are beautiful that I find it hard to choose! I’m in love with the Danielle in Lizard which would be perfect for my Christmas getaway in Rio!
The Melissa Odabash mastectomy swimwear collection will be available to purchase early 2015, with 20% of every purchase going to the Future Dreams charity!
Here's a sneak peak of The 'Jacquie' bikini!