YOU Magazine Takes a Bald Stand Against Cancer
22 October 2014: The YOU Magazine approached CANSA last week for information regarding breast cancer.
They initiated a campaign, where they asked celebrities to appear in the magazine with their hair ‘shaved off’ (digitally removed or photo shopped), as part of raising awareness about cancer and each celebrity shared their personal story of how cancer has affected them personally.
The YOU Campaign included an article by cancer Survivor, Wilma van der Bijl, who supported the campaign.
CANSA was quite surprised to hear that some people perceived the campaign negatively. CANSA has had a positive response to date on our social media platforms, apart from one negative comment. Other people have been very positive and saying how much valuable awareness this is raising.
Another magazine previously did a similar campaign, a few years ago and CANSA received a positive response at the time.
YOU Magazine made it very clear on the cover and in the article that the celebs were photo shopped, in order not to mislead the public.
CANSA must acknowledge that some cancer Survivors did, however, perceive this negatively and we offer our very sincere apologies to them for causing any offence, as we respect their views and they are very important to us.
Purpose of Campaign to Raise Awareness & Encourage Conversation
It certainly was not YOU’s intention to take away from any cancer survivor’s personal experience, but to raise awareness and get people talking about cancer and sharing stories.
The celebs were genuinely sharing their experiences and messages in support of someone they know who has passed away from cancer or are living with cancer – they wanted to show solidarity and to get people to talk about it.
Celebs Messages Aligned with CANSA’s Health Campaigns
When reading the messages from each celeb, it is clear that their focus is to get people to talk about cancer and improve knowledge re the disease, raise awareness re cancer, living a healthy, balanced lifestyle and the importance of regular check-ups. These are all messages CANSA aligns itself with. No offence was intended, as they have all been personally affected by cancer.
This experience reminds us that our campaigns have meaning for many people and that cancer is very personal to them. Also that we have a responsibility to keep our campaigns real and ‘authentic’. It’s good that cancer survivors are speaking out and raising awareness.
YOU’s Response to Criticism
Taking a Bald Stand Against Cancer Campaign
YOU Magazine decided to take cancer awareness to a whole new level in its 23 October 2014 issue, after realising doing something dramatic would be the only way to really get the message across. And what better way than to rope in South Africa’s much-loved celebrities?
So it asked local celebs Lee-Ann Liebenberg, Shashi Naidoo, Poppy Ntshongwana, Zakeeya Patel, Elma Postma and LeAnne Dlamini to show their support for this important cause: appear in YOU magazine without your hair. Go big, go bald and shout your message from the magazine’s pages.
“It’s a big ask, we know,” YOU editor Linda Pietersen says. “For many celebrities, their hair is an integral part of their public image. So we love that so many have been brave enough to have our picture retouchers ‘shave’ off their hair.
“We often cover heartbreaking news stories related to cancer but we wanted to do something that would really make everyone sit up and take note. And our instinct to involve celebs was not wrong – the Cancer Association of SA says it uses celebrity ambassadors because they are so effective at getting the message across to the public.”
Read How Celebs Have Been Touched by Cancer in the Latest YOU
What amazed the editorial staff was the enthusiastic response from the celebrities – and sadly, almost all of them have been touched by cancer in some way.
Cover star Lee-Ann Liebenberg dedicated her shoot to her father, Allen, who beat the Big C.
Read her touching story and those of our other brave celebrities in the new issue of YOU, out on streets 17 October or on mysubs.co.za.