This October, Carolina Herrera and her daughter, Carolina Herrera de Baez, will be visiting South Africa to promote their CH Pink initiative. Launched in 2013 with the Breast Health Foundation, The campaign formerly called “Support with a Smile” provides palliative care to sufferers of breast cancer in South Africa. Through this initiative, the Carolina Herrera brand has made a 5 year, R5 million commitment of local support.
Carolina Herrera is a brand that has long been recognized for empowering strong and independent women. Her message to all women fighting the disease today it “Don´t give up. You are not alone”. Founded in 1980, it quickly became known for its style, elegance and proudly feminine lines. It makes sense, therefore, that it should play a significant role in the international fight against breast cancer, supporting the brave and determined women who battle the disease every day. 2015 marks 7 years since the company launched its international breast cancer awareness campaign, and 2 years since it partnered with the Breast Health Foundation in South Africa to launch the project.
It’s important to remember, however, that before Carolina Herrera is a brand, she is a woman. Which is why she and her daughter Carolina Herrera de Baez, who is also Creative Director of fragrances, have taken a distinctly personal interest in the project. Together, they work tirelessly with partners and local organizations around the world to promote and grow it, ensuring that it reaches the women who need it most.
The visit by these two powerhouse women marks the South African launch of a new international advertising campaign to create awareness of breast cancer and support for the women fighting the disease around the world.
The driving insight behind the campaign is that, when women suffer from breast cancer, their families and all who love them suffer with them. In fact, it is these loved ones who provide the support and strength that they need to carry on. The message is, that like their loved ones, organizations such as the Breast Health Foundation are always there, giving support beyond the doctor’s surgery.
The campaign will be launched in October 2015, Breast Cancer month, and it will be supported by activities around the country.
A Message of Hope
The Carolina Herrera brand has been working closely with breast cancer organizations around the world since 2008. Today, the charity is making a meaningful difference in the lives of women who suffer from breast cancer in Brazil, Mexico, Spain and South Africa. This campaign is aimed at providing hope and reminding women that the battle against breast cancer can be won.
The slogan for the campaign is “We don’t give up. You are not alone”. The aim is to show support to all those women who are suffering from the disease and encourage them to never give up. Women live their fight against breast cancer every day, all the time, but never alone: their partners, sons and daughters, friends and colleagues, go through the battle with them. “We don’t give up” is a powerful affirmation that implies both strength and courage. Deliberately expressed in the plural, it demonstrates that sufferers are never alone, and that the battle is fought as a team.
The visual image of the campaign is two pink stripes that Carolina Herrera and Carolina Herrera de Baez have painted on their faces in support of the fight against cancer. This “war paint” symbolizes a fight that can be won.
The campaign also includes a video featuring mothers who are suffering from this disease, and those mothers’ main motivation for survival: their children. The video shows boys and girls of all ages painting two pink lines on their faces as a sign of their love and support, while also sending messages to their mothers, reminding them that they are not alone. The campaign is to be launched in September to coincide with the International Breast Cancer Awareness month in October.
Key to CH Pink’s continued success, after almost a decade of operation, is the close collaboration between the Carolina Herrera brand and local associations. These associations are dedicated to the fight against breast cancer in each country and provide a local knowledge that allows the programme to address issues that are specific to the region and culture of the women. Many South African women, for example, have very strong traditional and cultural beliefs that can’t be ignored when addressing the emotional issues of diagnosis and treatment.
Of equal importance is the very personal interest that both Carolina Herrera and her daughter have in the project. Carolina Herrera de Baez, for example, was deeply involved in the filming of this upcoming campaign – talking to the mothers, and encouraging the children to express themselves. The end result is an honest and moving depiction of the women’s battle with breast cancer.
An Empathetic Ear, a Strong Shoulder
Breast cancer is the most prevalent cancer suffered by women in our country. On average, one in 29 South African women will suffer from the disease and, in urban areas, the average goes up to one in eight. As frightening as these statistics are, there is hope. 90% of women diagnosed and treated for cancer will go on to survive for many, many years.
The fact remains, however, that cancer is a word that instils fear in most people. Many see it as a death sentence and the fear and lack of understanding about the disease often hinders the fight against it. The “Support with a Smile” project aims to arm women with the knowledge and support they need to face one of the biggest battles of their life. Started in 2013 by the Carolina Herrera Brand in partnership with Professor Carol-Ann Benn and the Breast Health Foundation of South Africa, and campaign patron Khanyi Dhlomo, mother, entrepreneur and media mogul, it offers palliative care to women who are suffering from breast cancer.
The numbers speak for themselves. On average, the programme educates 795 patients a month Between January and July this year, it has educated 5564 patients, helped 1448 patients navigate the system and distributed 236 Care packs, the contents of which manage the side effects of chemo therapy.
One of the strengths of the project lies in the fact that all the caregivers are cancer survivors themselves. This gives them a uniquely empathetic perspective, and allows them to offer practical support and advice based on their own experience.
When someone is newly diagnosed with breast cancer, their emotions can range from disbelief to fear to depression, because the women of “Support with a Smile” are able to show that they are survivors, the patient starts to believe that they can also get through it. To help them through this emotional time, the caregivers hold the patients’ hands through every step of treatment and beyond – they explain the treatment to them and their families, provide care packs and other essentials, visit them at home to see how they are coping, and even make the bookings at the clinic. This last service serves two purposes. Firstly, it saves the sufferer a trip to the hospital which they might not be able to do due to work or cost, and it allows caregivers to see who is missing their appointments so that they can find out why and try to help.
One of the biggest challenges faced by medical practitioners trying to fight this cancer is the distrust that many African women have for “Western” medicine. Their traditional beliefs may lead them to consider the cancer as witchcraft that can only be cured by traditional medicines. Other factors that hinder treatment are family pressures, with the family not understanding what the disease is about, and financial issues. Home visits play a key role in countering this. Caregivers see 40 patients a week and make, on average, 10 home visits in the month. This personal attention fosters trust and understanding which helps ensure that the women keep going back for treatment.
Needless to say, it is an emotionally demanding job, and the caregivers need emotional and physical support themselves. Through “Support with a Smile” the Carolina Herrera Brand and the Breast Health Foundation are able to equip the caregivers with the tools and strength to help these brave women battle breast cancer.
Carolina Herrera – Inner and Outer Grace
“I have a responsibility of the women of today – to make her feel confident, modern and above all else beautiful”
Establishing a globally recognized style, Carolina Herrera has resided at the helm of her eponymous label for over three decades proving with each new season that effortless elegance paired with modern refinement is always relevant.
It was only in 1981, that her fashion career began, after she was persuaded by friend and then Vogue editor, Diana Vreeland, to design a clothing line. As it was from the very beginning, her look today is typified by a seductive restraint and, while anything but old-fashioned, it stands out in our modern, informal times. Like the clothes that she designs, the woman too is known for her grace and poise. She is quoted as saying, “Elegance isn’t solely defined by what you wear. It is how you carry yourself, how you speak, what you read.”
This belief that a woman’s beauty comes, first and foremost, from who she is has not only influenced her designs, but her life. It came as no surprise, therefore, when she and her company founded CH Pink in 2008. CH Pink is an international project that offers support to women suffering from breast cancer. Its founding belief is in the inner strength that women possess to fight the disease.
Carolina Herrera De Baez – Carving a Distinctive Niche
Carolina Herrera de Baez is the Creative Director of the House of Fragrances Carolina Herrera. Using her innate talent and skills, Carolina has been working on creating perfumes for the company for more than a decade.
Born in Caracas, Venezuela in 1969, Carolina moved to New York with her parents when she was 12. Growing up in Caracas, she remembers the intoxicating scents of “jasmine, gardenia, tuberose and even the smell of dirt after a tropical afternoon storm” in her family’s flower-filled garden.
It was during the summer of 1996 when Carolina’s mother asked her if she would help in creating a new fragrance for the company. Many months later, the iconic 212 was born and a legend was created. “I thought the job was going to be a temporary one, yet here I am all these years later and I adore it.” Carolina has since gone on to launch many fragrances which have become global phenomenon, such as fragrances out of the Carolina Herrera New York Universe, 212 and CH.
Recently, Carolina launched a very special private collection, an ode to her mother Carolina Herrera, where each of the 6 fragrances tell a story of her life and her family´s life. She also unveiled her first ever jewellery collection, CH Falling Jasmine, with beautiful and feminine jasmine-inspired pieces, being able to explore her passion for arts of any kind.
With her hard-working ethic and a reputation for exacting and high standards, Carolina’s fresh approach and modern sensibilities have added a great deal to the Carolina Herrera brand.
Prof Carol-Ann Benn – Commitment Beyond the Job
Prof Carol-Ann Benn is one of South Africa’s leading authorities on Breast Disease. She is a Fellow of the College of Surgeons of South Africa with a special interest in Breast Disease. Her capacity as Head of the Breast Unit of Helen Joseph Hospital proves her long career and her commitment to clinical excellence in this field of Medical speciality. Prof Benn offers service to society and the greater medical community, both local and international, through her contributions, published and presented, and she is recognised internationally as a leader in Breast Disease. As lecturer in the Department of Surgery at the University of the Witwatersrand, she contributes towards the education of healthcare professionals.
With the aid of foreign and private funding, Prof Benn was able to establish the Breast Health Foundation, various Breast Health Care forums and outreach programmes. Through these programmes and through representation on numerous Medical Boards and Health Care Committees, Prof Benn has paved the way for the improvement of women’s health care; has contributed towards the uplifting of women in society and has opened channels for public awareness of breast health.
She established the Netcare Breast Care Centre of Excellence at the Milpark Hospital, Johannesburg, which co-ordinates national efforts for the specialised management of breast conditions to all women. In addition to her positions of responsibility, Prof Benn manages continuing research and research output. Numerous awards testify to her esteemed position in the Medical field and in South African society.
It is through the Breast Health Foundation that Prof Benn partnered with Carolina Herrera to start “Support with a smile”.
Khanyi Dhlomo – Driven To Make A Difference
Khanyi Dhlomo is anything but ordinary. Mother, entrepreneur and media mogul, no one can accuse her of being an under-achiever. And now, as patron of “Support with a smile”, she lends her considerable talents, as well as her determination and can-do attitude, to helping thousands of women who are battling breast cancer every day.
Khanyi’s path to success began in 1995. She was just 20 years old and studying journalism when she landed a job as the first black newscaster for SABC1. It was a role that she shined in and she quickly became the darling of the South African public. Despite her rise to fame, she never forgot her journalistic training and was always more interested in the editorial side of things. Print media was a particular passion of hers.
This passion was realised when she became fashion and beauty assistant at the women’s magazine True Love. Her skill, savvy and grit saw her rise quickly in the ranks and she was made editor of the magazine. She spent eight years in that role and garnered numerous awards for herself and the magazine. In 2001 she was named one of the most influential women in South African media by The Media magazine. After leaving True Love, she spent 18 months in Paris as Head of SA Tourism, and then completed an MBA at Harvard Business School, Boston, USA.
On returning to South Africa, she launched Ndalo Media, a joint venture with Media24. Ndalo Media publishes DESTINY, DESTINY MAN, among other titles. Embracing the future of digital media, Ndalo Media founded DestinyConnect.com in 2008, a website that serves as the online extension of Destiny’s publications.
Khanyi’s latest business initiative, Ndalo Luxury Ventures (NLV), launched its first store, Luminance, in Hyde Park Corner, Johannesburg. It’s a luxury fashion and lifestyle retail outlet offering customers premium local and international brands, as well as high-quality local arts, crafts and design. Khanyi Dhlomo has always exemplified the strong South African woman – fearless, passionate and determined. As patron of “Support with a Smile”, she brings this passion and optimism to women when they need it most.