The Portrait of Dreams

Angeles Almuna

I simultaneously experienced the incredible beauty of extraordinary solidarity and the deepest of all fears. I am alive today also thanks to the support of my community.

1. Bio

Fashion designer, designer, cancer survivor, artist, dancer, photographer. Having specialised in painting and dance, she studied and travelled between the US and Europe, eventually settling in Miami to pursue her career as a dancer while becoming a fashion photographer. In June 2015, a diagnosis of breast cancer dictated a sudden change of direction in her life and, having survived the disease, in 2016 she founded Fashion Fights Cancer, a charity that aims to support breast cancer research. Angeles became known to the general public thanks to her direct and honest account of the ups and downs of her fight against cancer. In her posts she emphasises the importance of early diagnosis and research, combining this with a message of positivity and energy, to offer hope to all those suffering from this condition.

2. The power of a dream

Art, creativity, my love of fashion and the pursuit of style have always been part of my way of life and, in the beginning, I dreamed of having a traditional career in this field. I had fit perfectly into the whirling momentum of the fashion world, as a photographer and influencer, when the cancer diagnosis came long. Just as I seemed to have reached the pinnacle of telling the story of a world all about beauty and perfection, I was swept away by a fate that reminded me, quite simply, that real life is not all like that. I had to learn that I was not invincible and accept that, yes, the big C could happen to me too. It was at this point that I realised I could use my dream, my passion, to tell a story about a journey into a more real world, one where we may also be vulnerable and imperfect, but one in which we need never be defeated. This realisation first gave me the strength to save myself and today it gifts me the dream that I can be an inspiration to others, supporting those who are going through a dark phase by reminding them to listen more to their body, and to wear a look of confidence, also through beauty and self-expression.

3. My journey into real beauty

Surviving cancer changes how you see life forever. The most difficult step was to accept that it had actually happened to me. At first I was angry and upset to the point that, despite considering myself a “social butterfly”, I decided I would say nothing and fight alone. Fortunately I realised that this was not the wisest choice, so one day I said it openly: ‘I have cancer, I am scared, I need help, I need you’. This opened the door to a wave of support and advocacy that I could not have imagined at that dark time. I simultaneously experienced the incredible beauty of extraordinary solidarity and the deepest of all fears. I am alive today, without a doubt, also thanks to the support of my community. The way people connected to my story, the way they gave me their energy to support me in my battle was an unimaginable privilege. Facing cancer changed me, inside and out, I carry indelible marks in my body, but today I have the crystal-clear knowledge that we are the ones who create style, in spite of every situation. Being authentic allows us to be free and, often, this means we are able to experience beauty where we least imagined we might do so.

4. What I learned and won’t let go

There are many lessons to be learnt while battling a terminal illness. Some, until it happens to you, may seem trivial and blown out of proportion but, as a survivor, I want to repeat them, so that they may inspire greater awareness in the priorities we choose in our daily lives.
Life is very short and we are not super heroes. We should let go of all the things that are not really important. Regrets are no good to anyone and it is better to focus on precise actions for the future. The moments we spend with the people who love us are precious. It is never a wise choice to hide how we feel for too long in order to appear more socially appealing. We are stronger when we support each other. This in particular is a message I want to share with all women: united we can claim a more authentic way of being in society, with our own rules. We must never stop following our dreams, and we must do so stubbornly if need be. For change to come about, there is always a price to be paid, in courage.

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