Beautiful Voices is our ongoing blog series that highlights inspiring, empowering women. To wrap up October as Cancer Awareness month, this week we're talking to Danielle Messina, a.k.a. The Glamorganic Goddess. If you've ever read her blog, you know nobody could tell you her story better than Danielle herself, so read on to hear her tell it in her own words:
“You may know me as the author of a natural beauty blog called The Glamorganic Goddess – but I am not your typical tree-hugger! I’m notoriously known for my sassy product reviews and fabulous money saving tips… in other words, caviar taste on a fish stick budget. It is through this platform that I’ve turned my pain into purpose by publicly documenting my journey as a young cancer survivor on a mission to find healthy beauty products, without sacrificing my standards.
My adventures in Cancer-Land began unexpectedly in 2009 when I was diagnosed with Stage II Breast Cancer at the age of 31. In the past few years I’ve undergone surgery twice, had radiation treatments and have since chosen the road less traveled in terms of treatment. The hardest part for me was when my health took a dramatic turn and I realized that nobody could tell me what caused it…or how to prevent it from returning in the future, especially since I had no family history. This forced me to take a look at the choices I made every day, most importantly what I was putting in and on my body. I realized that lifestyle factors such as an organic, plant-based diet, vitamins, exercise, natural cosmetics and body care products, non-toxic cleaning products, stress levels, sleep habits, emotional and spiritual well-being, etc. were all things actually in my control, when everything seemed so out of control.
Many of you might ask why this is so important. We all know about diet and exercise, and blah, blah, blah…but why are beauty products important in the scheme of things? Well, for me, beauty products have played a major role in my life and have been a passion ever since I was a little girl – an ice princess, in fact. I, like many other little ballerinas, gymnasts, and cheerleaders out there have been wearing makeup since my first figure skating competition at the age of four, and have gone on to become a national, international and world gold-medalist in my nearly three decades in the sport – getting all dolled up, all along the way. I can’t help but wonder if this might have had some sort of an impact on my health. I say this because in the United States cosmetics are part of a multi-billion dollar industry that offers some of the least regulated consumer products on the market today. By law, there is no pre-market testing for safety required before a beauty product hits store shelves. Environmental stressors from many of these products can accumulate in our bodies over time, making us sick, causing dis-ease and contribute to what’s known as our overall “body burden”. In my opinion – if what we’re using isn’t helping, it’s hurting and if you aren’t as outraged by this as I am, then you aren’t paying attention!
Despite being at the height of a 15 year professional skating career when the Big C crashed my party, I truly believe that it was this unique combination of circumstances that helped me to see my scars as stars and change the course of my life forever to become the healthy beauty advocate I am today. I’ve since dedicated my life to educating others about the importance of cancer prevention through a truly healthy lifestyle – one natural, organic and fabulous beauty product at a time!”
AMG: Who do you feel you are today? What event has defined your life?
DM: See above.
AMG: Who or what is your biggest inspiration?
DG: What inspires me most are the people who read what I write on The GG Blog, my Facebook Fans + my Twitter Followers! They are MY support group, but probably don’t know that! When I’m having a tough day, they remind me not to give up and stop me from running back to my toxic, old flame…aka, the MAC Makeup Counter. My larger-than-life heroes are David Servan-Schreiber, M.D., PhD. (author of Anticancer: A New Way of Life), Kris Carr (Crazy Sexy Cancer Documentary, Books, etc.), Suzanne Somers (author of Knockout), Louise Hay (author of You Can Heal Your Life), and so many more…I could go on forever!
AMG: What was your biggest challenge and how did you overcome it?
DM: Aside from kicking Cancer’s A$$ and convincing everyone in my life that I’m not crazy for doing things my way (without drugs, chemo, etc)…my biggest challenge has probably been breaking through the common stigma that ‘natural products don’t work’. My second biggest challenge is actually finding the truly natural beauty products that do work! The ingredients can be as pure as they get – but if the product doesn’t work, people aren’t going to use them. It’s all about the journey here – not the destination. Always searching, reading ingredient labels, in constant contact with company owners and reps with questions, experimenting with tons of beauty products…all in the name of research, of course. 😉
AMG: If money was no object what would you be doing? Would it be exactly what you are already doing?
DM: I would have my own cosmetics line. Makeup is where my passion really lies.
AMG: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever gotten?
DM: “I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.” – Maya Angelou. “Two roads diverged in a wood and I – I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.“ – Robert Frost.
AMG: What does beauty mean to you?
DM: Besides all the glitz + glam (if that’s what you’re into), I think beauty is based on how you treat yourself and how you treat others. If you’re ugly on the inside and treat others terribly, no amount of outer beauty can make up for it.
AMG: What makes you feel beautiful?
DM: Personally, I’m totally in my element when I’m getting glammed-up! I want to note that I do not feel that I have to wear makeup; I like to. Since I’ve always been artsy, it’s just another way to allow my creativity to flow. I say my affirmations as I’m looking into the mirror and find it quite relaxing.
AMG: What’s your favorite beauty secret or tip?
DM: Affirmations, Facial Masks + Baths.
AMG: What do you do when you want to pamper yourself?
DM: See above.
AMG: How does Annmarie's mission fit into your lifestyle?
DM: Annmarie’s mission fits into my lifestyle by knowing that I can trust the ingredients that go into the Annmarie Gianni Skin Care Brand. One of my most Golden Rules is not to ever trust an entire company – to go product by product, ignoring all the pretty bottles and miraculous marketing claims, and read the ingredient labels. Out of the hundreds I write about- there is only one other product line I completely trust besides Annmarie Gianni Skin Care! That says a lot!
Thanks for sharing! Danielle is an inspiration to all of us at ASC! Keep up with her journey at http://theglamorganicgoddess.blogspot.com.
(If you’re interested in being featured as one of our Beautiful Voices, please email us at info [at] annmariegianni.com)