SI Swim model Sarafina Nance on appearing in 2022 edition after double mastectomy: ‘I fell on the floor’

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Sarafina Nance might have massive goals of going to area, however the concept of ​​being a Sports activities Illustrated Swimsuit The mannequin appeared out of this world, a minimum of till now.

The astrophysicist and analog astronaut is a finalist on this 12 months’s SI Swim Search. The Austin, Texas native was chosen from 1000’s of submissions to be photographed by acclaimed SI photographer Yu Tsai within the Dominican Republic. The winner of the annual casting will turn out to be a rookie within the 2023 version.

Not a foul achievement for somebody who beforehand insisted she solely owns a swimsuit.

Sarafina Nance is a finalist in this year's SI Swim Search.

Sarafina Nance is a finalist on this 12 months’s SI Swim Search.
(Yu Tsai/Sports activities Illustrated Swimsuit)

However for Nance, it is a possibility to share her story globally. She is a BRCA2+ breast most cancers survivor who selected to have a preventive double mastectomy at age 26 to cut back her extraordinarily excessive threat of breast most cancers: 87%. Following breast reconstruction, Nance has spoken concerning the significance of genetic testing, self-monitoring, and preventive medication.


Nance spoke with Fox Information Digital about what it means to her to seem on this 12 months’s version, who impressed her to put on two items, and the way her mother and father reacted.

FoxNews: What prompted you to take part on this 12 months’s SI Swim Search?
Sarafina Nance: Every thing pertains to my story. I’ve the BRCA2+ genetic mutation, which places me at excessive threat for breast most cancers and ovarian most cancers. I had a preventive double mastectomy greater than two years in the past to cut back my threat of breast most cancers. I used to be sharing my journey publicly on-line and gained an incredible neighborhood that supported me alongside the best way.

Sarafina Nance is an astrophysicist, analog astronaut, BRCA2+ breast cancer survivor, women's health advocate, and author.

Sarafina Nance is an astrophysicist, analog astronaut, BRCA2+ breast most cancers survivor, ladies’s well being advocate, and writer.
(Courtesy of Sarafina Nance)

One among my associates knew about SI Swim Search and advised I give it a strive. She had by no means actually thought-about doing one thing like this, however she actually inspired me. And I did… I used to be struck by the thought of ​​these lovely and empowering ladies from all completely different communities coming collectively to share their tales. And that compelled me to use.

FoxNews: Have been you acquainted with the journal earlier than making use of?
Fagot: I did not know a lot about SI rising up. In fact, I noticed the magazines. They had been at my native Barnes & Noble and newsstands. But it surely wasn’t till just a few years in the past that I heard about Allyn Rose. She was the primary girl with a mastectomy to seem within the journal. She is an unimaginable advocate for members of the breast most cancers neighborhood. I remembered how lovely and empowering she regarded. She actually impressed me.


FoxNews: Deciding to have a preventive double mastectomy is, in fact, a tough alternative. How did you’re feeling as soon as your process was over?
Fagot: You understand, I felt so happy with myself. I felt empowered with my resolution. Sure, it was an extremely tough time. I had three surgical procedures in a single 12 months. It was bodily exhausting, mentally exhausting, and emotionally exhausting. It impacted each side of my life. However I made this resolution for myself. I keep in mind waking up and feeling terribly proud to take cost of my well being.

Sarafina Nance underwent a preventive double mastectomy, followed by breast reconstruction surgeries.

Sarafina Nance underwent a preventive double mastectomy, adopted by breast reconstruction surgical procedures.
(Courtesy of Sarafina Nance)

FoxNews: And now you are a finalist in SI Swim Search. What was your response?
Fagot: I used to be utterly amazed. I fell to the ground. They took every thing from me. I couldn’t consider it. It was one of the vital surreal moments of my life. I instantly referred to as my mother and father and my accomplice. Everybody was simply as shocked and excited. It was an incredible second for me.

FoxNews: Inform us about your position as an analog astronaut.
Fagot: I’m an astrophysicist and analog scientist. I accomplished an astronaut simulation. I lived as if I used to be on Mars finishing a mission. I hope to someday use these skills and go to area. My dream is to go to area… One of many largest learnings from that have is that I like being in an atmosphere the place I can belief my group and crew to research and make a distinction.

Sarafina Nance said her goal is to make STEM accessible to everyone.

Sarafina Nance mentioned her aim is to make STEM accessible to everybody.
(Courtesy of Sarahfina Nance)

FoxNews: When individuals consider an analog astrophysicist or scientist, some might not immediately consider “SI swimsuit mannequin”. How do you hope to vary that public notion?
Fagot: One of many largest hurdles I’ve needed to overcome particularly in STEM is overcoming the sensation of not becoming in. I’m not only a girl, however a lady of coloration in a predominantly white male area. There are a variety of stereotypes and expectations that include that id and that position. I’ve realized the worth of illustration. I’ve understood the significance of my presence and being vocal, not just for myself, however for future generations of girls in STEM. I did not have that illustration rising up. My aim is to offer that to others.


Sarafina Nance decided to have a preventive double mastectomy at age 26 to reduce her extremely high risk of breast cancer (87%).

Sarafina Nance determined to have a preventive double mastectomy at age 26 to cut back her extraordinarily excessive threat of breast most cancers (87%).
(Courtesy of Sarafina Nance)

I feel a platform like SI is so highly effective as a result of it exhibits that girls do not should be pigeonholed. We do not have to be one factor. We will be multi-hyphenated people, with completely different pursuits and completely different passions. As a substitute of subtracting from one another, they will improve one another. To me, that basically speaks to the ability of girls and what we will obtain, what we will dream of. I hope that when somebody sees somebody like me within the journal, they are saying, “Wow, I haven’t got to restrict myself. I haven’t got to maintain up with individuals’s expectations as a result of they suppose I’ve to be a sure approach.” or act in a sure approach. I will be no matter I wish to be.”

FoxNews: As somebody with a preventive double mastectomy, has the journal accepted it?
Fagot: Completely. My shoot within the Dominican Republic was one of the vital highly effective experiences of my life, no doubt. I did not know what to anticipate. I don’t come from a modeling background. I frightened about feeling misplaced and self-conscious about my physique. However I’ve by no means felt so empowered and accepted for who I’m. I’ve by no means felt so supportive. I used to be enthusiastic about your entire SI group, the finalists, everybody. Everybody was so excited and genuinely comfortable that I used to be there. My physique is completely different, however I nonetheless really feel liked and supported.

FoxNews: What was your response whenever you noticed these photographs?
Fagot: I used to be shocked. It’s such an enriching expertise to see your self via that lens. SI doesn’t attempt to be something or anybody else. I used to be very frightened the entire time, however the images do not present that. It was a magical expertise.

Sarafina Nance hopes her SI swimsuit photo will inspire other women to celebrate their bodies.

Sarafina Nance hopes her SI swimsuit picture will encourage different ladies to rejoice their our bodies.
(Courtesy of Sarafina Nance)

FoxNews: What would successful the SI Swim Search imply to you?
Fagot: I do not even have the phrases *laughs*. It could be an unimaginable honor. It is already an honor, win or not. Some of the thrilling elements of this entire course of was having the chance to go to the Dominican Republic and meet all these superb ladies. These are advocates and leaders of their communities. And now I’m a part of that group. I feel this expertise has actually paved the best way for me to share my story like by no means earlier than. It is a platform the place all beauties and backgrounds are showcased and celebrated.


FoxNews: How has the expertise modified your life to this point?
Fagot: For starters, I’ve met an incredible neighborhood of individuals. It is a sisterhood, one I am grateful for. They instantly modified my life. One of many women and I’ve turn out to be extremely shut. It is extremely thrilling to have these conversations about our experiences and the way we hope to vary the world. That alone has been invaluable.

Sarafina Nance dreams of traveling to space.

Sarafina Nance goals of touring to area.
(Courtesy of Sarafina Nance)

FoxNews: What do you hope readers will get once they see your images for the primary time?
Fagot: You understand, I feel again to once I was rising up. I did not see ladies like me in science, in magazines and even on TV. I by no means felt that illustration was there for me. Now, I hope that individuals can see themselves mirrored in me. I hope you’re feeling inspired to do what you need. I hope that once they see me, they are saying, “I can try this.” I hope you may obtain no matter your dream is. Every thing is feasible. I did it.

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