To mark Breast Cancer Awareness Month 2020 in October, Israeli women’s weekly magazine LaIsha is featuring performing artist Eylon Nuphar, a lithe blonde dressed in a pale pink pantsuit with two new scars curved across her chest.
“I was sorry to part with my breasts, but I remain 100% woman,” said Nuphar.
Nuphar, 49, a co-founder of dance, song and percussion group Mayumana, is a BRCA1 carrier who had cancer 16 years ago when she was 33, and was in remission. When the cancer returned, she decided to have a double mastectomy, with no reconstructive surgery.
“It’s crazy what women go through to have breasts,” said Nuphar in the article. “What was won’t be anymore, my body will be different and emotionally I’ll be different.”
“LaIsha,” a mashup of “Good Housekeeping,” “Cosmopolitan” and “People,” did a photoshoot with Nuphar, “smiling from cheek to cheek and bare-breasted,” said Karina Shtotland, the magazine’s editor-in-chief.
It was a bold move, said Shtotland, as the mainstream press in Israel — and elsewhere, she added — doesn’t usually show scars or someone with severed breasts on the cover of magazines, and certainly not on lifestyle magazines.
In the US, several actresses have gone public with their breast cancer battles, including Angelina Jolie, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Christina Applegate, although they all opted for reconstructive surgery. Jolie wrote very powerfully about her elective double mastectomy in The New York Times after finding out she was a BRCA1 carrier.
In 1993, artist and activist Joanne Motichka took a self-portrait following a partial mastectomy that removed her right breast; the photo appeared on the August 15, 1993, cover of The New York Times Magazine.
“We thought about the fact that not everyone in Israel would have an easy time looking at this cover, but we’re not worried about it,” said Shtotland. “Even if some people shy away from the photos, we have to get the eye accustomed to this reality as well, opening women to more options.”
“LaIsha” has hundreds of thousands of readers in Israel, and always works on broadening the model of female beauty, said Shtotland.
“The perfect woman is a woman who is satisfied with herself,” she said.
Nuphar appeared on the Reshet TV morning show several days before her surgery to talk about how she decided to undergo the surgery and forgo breast reconstruction. She held parties to experience a sense of rebirth, wrote a song, and celebrated with friends in a healing circle. Her Facebook and Instagram pages are full of photos from her “goodbye boobs” events.
“It strengthened me,” said Nuphar.