Lauren was diagnosed with breast cancer in August 2016 at just 31 years old, but whilst looking adversity in the face, she decided to come back fighting, hard. Opening up a dialogue on the subject, Lauren shared her experience to help other young women affected by cancer - all while fighting to recover herself.
Her personal Instagram feed is filled with authentic posts that promote self-care, reminding us of the importance of nurturing our mental & physical health.
We sat down to ask her a few questions….
First things first, please introduce yourself!
Hiya, my name is Lauren Mahon and I am a BBC broadcaster and proud founder of GIRLvsCANCER, as well as a lover of festivals, picantes, and all of the pasta.
Tell us, what makes you feel empowered in your body and sexuality?
It can vary from day to day for me but the main thing is listening to what my body needs. Some days that's a nice bath and good sleep. Other days it's moving my body either by dancing or exercise and sometimes it's a solid masturbatory session. All of the above is about grounding into the body though, about being present. Nothing makes me feel more empowered or sexy than being in my body and not my head.
You’ve become an incredible spokesperson for so many women, through your podcast ‘You, Me & The Big C’, your community GIRLvsCANCER and your social media platform. What encouraged you to speak so openly about your cancer journey?
When I got a case of the tit cancer almost five years ago now I really struggled to find women like me to talk to. Women with swears in their mouth and a gob laden with red lippie. I wanted someone I could relate to that would help me feel empowered in the hellish experience I was about to go through. And when I couldn't find her, and realised that the perception of cancer was completely screwed I decided to open up about my experience in my own words.
For me it was all about shifting people's perceptions of what people thought cancer looked like and normalising the conversation around it. Because when we tackle the stigma and open up dialogue it allows those going through the cancer experience to feel better supported.
Now I use my platforms to hero the pleasure positive sex education and self-acceptance because the conditioning that women and those who identify as such have had to endure has really taken away our power and appreciation of ourselves. I love sharing my journey in coming back to myself in the hope it will help someone on theirs.
How do you feel your relationship with your body and sexuality has changed or developed throughout your journey?
It has been exactly that. A journey. I definietely didn't treat my body very well pre-cancer, even just in the way I spoke to myself about myself. I took my body for granted and was really hard on myself on how I looked scrutinising every lump or bump. Telling myself I was ugly and unlovable - imagine!
Having your body turn to rubble from chemo changes things. My body stopped being this sack of skin to be berated. Instead it became this incredibly strong and stunning piece of otherworldliness that had been pushed to the brink and was still keeping me alive. It had my back.
Medical menopause made me question a lot of the ideas around femininity too. I no longer bleed, am essentially infertile and in society's eyes, past it. But I am very much in the prime of my womanhood. I feel virile and sexually charged so the contradiction was a lot to process.
As it stands now I could not be more in love with my body, truly. Yes I still catch myself saying mean things when I glance in the mirror but I catch it and stop it in its tracks. Because I'll be damned if I am going to talk about myself that way when the world is already doing the most to make me feel lesser than.
For me the most important thing is to look after this fit as fuck body of mine. Keep it strong, hydrated and satisfied. If I feel good, I feel good, know what I mean?
Why do you feel it’s so important for women to wear lingerie for themselves and not for someone else?
Wearing something luxurious and sexy for your eyes and your eyes only is a radical exercise in self-care in my opinion. Seeing yourself as desirable through your own gaze before anyone elses does wonders for one's self-esteem - and prioritising your relationship with your body before you invite anyone else to get involved. I love putting on a matching lace number under denim and a basic tee just to pop out for the day, it makes me feel put together and dressed up even though I have nowhere to go other than my desk.
Also, I feel there is absolutely nothing wrong with wearing lingerie for someone else if it makes YOU feel good. Genuinely the first Bluebella set I bought was to wear for my now ex-boyfriend's birthday. It was the first time I had gotten dressed up for a fella in years and the minute I slipped on that suspender belt and high heels I felt like a goddess. And seeing his pupils dilate when I undressed made me feel like it too. FIRE.
What’s your self-love mantra?
My self-love mantra is life is too short to spend it at war with yourself. See your life as your soulmate, it only wants what's best for you so act in kind.