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Hero FIGHTING IN STYLE Fashion influencer and photographer Angeles Almuna battles breast cancer in style as she documents and shares her experience through social media where she finds hope in human connections. T E X T BY E S T R E L L I TA S . S I B I L A PH OTO BY Y E S I FLO R E S A bout 1 in 8 women in the U.S. will develop invasive breast cancer during their lifetime. It’s a startling statistic. While each of us may know someone who has been affected, we rarely get a raw, up-close view of the pains and changes that one undergoes as a cancer patient. Angeles Almuna turned to social media as a tool to help her cope with her illness while using it as an artistic outlet for her journey. “I’ve always been a very open person and like to express myself through my art and my unique ideas,” she says. “I was so scared in the beginning — I was absolutely out of my comfort zone, so vulnerable, sad and angry at the same time; then came the day that I realized this is happening for a reason and I was motivated to express myself through this illness and share my journey with others in person and on social media.” Expressing herself through various artistic means is a basic instinct for Almuna, who studied painting in Chile, perfected her Flamenco in Sevilla, performed with a contemporary dance company in Miami and has built an impressive photography portfolio filled with images she’s captured during various Fashion Week shows, global street-style inspirations and general musings. She currently works for Lowe Art Museum and freelances as a fashion stylist, blogger and fashion ambassador. “I thought it would be therapeutic to express the good and the bad things 50 about this crazy cancer rollercoaster,” she says. “I was full of emotion and could not be silenced.” Day after day, she would share photos of her journey including images of her smiling face adorned with her signature turban. She also created hand-drawn posters for each radiation session and shared her feelings, her struggles and her always fashionable outfits. “Soon everyone in my network and beyond knew what I was going through and it gave me the power to say, in a very honest way, that ‘I need you, I need your help, my friends, because without you, I cannot win this battle alone.’”  Living alone in Miami with no close family, she relied on her network for support, encouragement and an external connection to a fast-moving world. She uses creativity and a unique sense of fashion as her style weapon. Her inspiration may come from music, a piece of art, from an artist, a film, a person, or from a specific accessory that she can frame a story around and develop a look for a particular piece. She loves to play with designs in an original way and is always searching for looks that can work together and represent something to her. “It’s not just fashion for fashion; I always want to express creativity and art with my ideas,” she says. She confronted her battle with a similar artistic approach. “Cancer gave me a tool to express this illness in a different way, with creativity and style.”; AngelesAlmuna.com.