Meet Andrea Sierra Salazar
Andrea Sierra Salazar is a 17-year-old, high school student from Texas , who loves to model in her spare time. In February Andrea’s mom took her for a doctor’s check-up, after discovering a lump in her neck. They did not have any idea that the harmless looking lump will turn out to be a cancerous tumor
“There were no side effects,” Andrea told BuzzFeed News. “I wouldn’t have known [I had cancer] until one day I felt like I slept wrong, and my neck hurt. I patted my neck and I felt a really big ball.”
The doctors found a tumor on her collarbone and on her chest. She was diagnosed with stage 2 nodular sclerosis Hodgkin lymphoma. Life for Andrea really did change for Andrea after this discovery. But she used this change to bring some happiness in her life.
Cancer brings out the Model in Andrea
Andrea was losing a lot of hair during her chemotherapy. Though losing hair did increase her insecurity, it also gave her the chance to use different types of wigs in her photo shoots.
“Before chemotherapy, I had always been a confident person,” she said, “so when my hair started to fall out I would look in the mirror and I wouldn’t feel that confident about myself.”
But through all her insecurities Andrea chose to become a princess. She chose to live her dream. She chose to become a beautiful model.
The Beauty that lies within
Andrea’s mother shared her daughter’s story with many photographers and modeling agencies. Many photographers were eager to capture her elegance. One photographer Gerardo Garmendia, was lucky enough to capture Andrea in her moment of glory. A perfectly beautiful moment, which inspired people throughout the world.
“[At first] I didn’t feel confident enough to do a version without a wig,” she said, “but then I realised that I had no reason to be ashamed of the way I looked, I should be proud.”
“It’s not only about my outside beauty, it’s on the inside too. That’s what really inspired the photoshoot without the wig.”
Andrea shared her photos with the caption- “Cancer doesn’t stop me from being a princess”.The photos have now crossed a 100,000 share on social media.
Garmendia told Buzzfeed News , that Andrea had herself come up with the theme “a princess without a wig”
“She was open and not ashamed or embarrassed to share that part of herself,” the photographer said. “The way that she was coping with cancer was just very inspirational to me. I was happy to capture this stage of life for her and that she will have something beautiful to look back on even when the struggle was hard.”
Andrea had initially done the photo shoot, only to inspire the young girls in her hospital. She had never expected that her photos will make such an impact.
“I see all these little girls, and you can see it in their faces that they lose all confidence in themselves,” she said.
“I want them to know that your hair or your physical attributes don’t define who you are – what really matters is your inner beauty, the way you treat others, and if you’re a kind person, that shows through.”
She added: “It doesn’t matter whether you have hair or not, I don’t think that represents you as a person. … If you don’t have long legs, or blue eyes, or something that people think is perfect … that’s not beauty.”
Andrea is a living inspiration for people throughout the world. She has taught people to follow their dreams. She has made us understand that we should not give up on our dreams at any cost.
Lets learn to dream, to hope and to live.
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