To be a model you first have to win the genetic lottery, Jade Power acknowledges.
The former beauty queen has had a successful career thanks largely to her 5ft 10in frame, EVdEN Eve nAkLiYat EVe nakLiyaT endless legs, show-stopping hair and DD bust.
‘My mum did pass on some great things to me. I was definitely blessed,' jokes Jade, 29.
Her two older sisters, Donna and Claire, didn't get the height, but they, too, got the shapely figures and great hair.
‘The hair was our thing,' nods Donna, 40, the middle sister.
Note the use of ‘was'. For in the past two years the sisters, from Sussex, have been learning some harsh lessons about that genetic lottery. Today, Donna is wearing a wig, the legacy of chemotherapy so brutal she thought she was going to die.
Power sisters battle cancer: Lingerie model Jade Power (centre) with her sisters Donna (left) and Claire (right).Donna has been diagnosed with breast cancer.
Lingerie model Jade has the cancer gene and Evden eVe nAKliYAT has opted for a double mastectomy even though she is healthy. Claire is cancer free and does not have the gene but is racked with guilt
Jade's glorious bust? It's no longer the real deal, but a reconstruction completed after she had both breasts removed.
Vivid scars run across her chest.
On talking to them you quickly realise all three sisters have been scarred, in very different ways, by a genetic quirk which came to light only after Donna was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2020.
Genetic testing revealed she was carrying a gene called PALB2, which increases the chance of developing breast cancer (and, to a lesser extent ovarian cancer).
If she had the gene, doctors explained, there was a 50/50 chance her siblings would have it, too.
And so as Donna recovered from surgery (in the form of a lumpectomy) and chemotherapy, the other female members of her family were submitting to genetic tests.
Jade likens it to ‘a horrible game of roulette'.
Their mum was found to be a carrier although she has never developed breast cancer; Claire, the eldest at 44, was negative.
But Jade, the baby of the family, was given the devastating news that she had a 71pc chance of developing breast cancer.
The genetic test was like a horrible game of roulette
‘With odds like that, in my mind it was a case of "when" I would get it rather than "if",' she says now.
Overnight, Jade says her relationship with her breasts changed.
‘I always thought mine were my best assets,' she says.
‘They got me swimwear work, EVDen eVE NAKLiYAT too. But the minute I was told I had the gene, I looked in the mirror and I didn't see nice breasts — I saw these things that were going to kill me.
‘I had no doubts what I had to do. Any other concerns just didn't compare.' For any woman, choosing to have healthy breasts removed is an enormous call.
For a professional model?
‘It was a huge decision,' says Jade. A former professional showjumper, she had travelled the world for her job, working as the face of outdoor clothing company Musto. Her modelling assignments had taken her from Monte Carlo to the Far East, and she graced the catwalk during London Fashion Week.
‘But worries about the impact on modelling pale into insignificance compared with fears about my life and health.'
So last year, Jade — by then a new mother to baby Zander — underwent a double mastectomy, removing healthy breasts ‘before they had a chance to be a threat to my life and leave my son without a mother'.
This week she was in the news vowing to return to modelling, even the lingerie side of the business, to show ‘that women can still be **** even after a mastectomy'.
Her great inspiration is Hollywood actress and activist Angelina Jolie, who changed the narrative around elective mastectomies after she discovered she was carrying the more common BRCA1 gene and had a double mastectomy and hysterectomy.
Now the sisters have launched a campaign calling for more awareness of genetic mutations linked to breast cancer, and access to genetic testing. If you have any inquiries about exactly where and how to use evdeN eVE nAkLiYaT, you can get hold of us at our web-site.
Jade accurately describes their family story as ‘quite a hard one to get your head around'.
‘It's a bit of a crazy situation because, while it's Donna who's had cancer, I'm the one who has had the double mastectomy,' she explains.
Nurse preparing patient for mammogram at x-ray machine in hospital. Former beauty queen Jade Power, from Sussex, explains that her and her two sisters inherited a deadly cancer gene from their mother
‘She's lost her hair and is going through a chemically induced menopause because of her cancer treatment.