The first time Lisa Smith noticed a lump on her left breast six years ago, she couldn’t let the thought of cancer surface. “I was too scared, too healthy, too strong and with four daughters under eight. It just couldn’t be that,” the breast cancer survivor tells PeopleStyle in an exclusive interview. After tests revealed her lump was malignant, she underwent two excisions, eight months of chemotherapy, and seven weeks of radiation daily. After her treatment was complete, Smith and her 6-year-old daughter, Mia, started the Make Cents of Breast Cancer campaign, which has raised more than $7,000 for research on the disease that afflicts nearly a quarter of a million women each year.
When Mexican singer and designer Thalía heard Smith’s moving story, she offered her a superstar transformation, organized in collaboration with Macy’s to commemorate Breast Cancer Awareness Month. On the day of the makeover, Thalia and Smith sat down to speak with PeopleStyle about the special significance and power of makeup and clothes have for a cancer survivor and much more.
PeopleStyle: Lisa, how did it feel when you found out that Thalía picked you for the makeover?
Lisa Smith: Like really?! I screamed. I was just so excited and so happy that I was chosen.
Thalía: No, no, I think you, with the brave example you gave us, chose me, to tell you the truth, because you’ve been through everything. For me, for my team, this is a moment. I want you to be happy and relaxed.
Lisa: Thank you so much.
PeopleStyle: Thalia, do you have a personal connection to this cause?
Thalía: Yes I do. I have a lot of friends that have been through cancer. One of my friends opened the Dubin Breast Center at Mount Sinai. It’s a facility where everything you need is in one place. You don’t have to go all overseeing different specialists. You get your whole treatment there. Since day one, I’ve been there, supporting her. She’s done everything, painting walls, cleaning. It’s very important for women to be there for one another. It should be as basic as drinking water every day.
Lisa: And you need that support. It’s important to have someone.
Thalía: And to feel like you have a net, that you can just let go and be comfortable and trust that you have a good group of people around you.
PeopleStyle: You have donated funds from your collection, Thalía Sodi for Macy’s, to cancer research in the past. This year, you decided to go the extra mile in seeking out a survivor for a makeover.
Thalía: I think right now she just wants to have a good time, to relax, to feel pampered, laugh, have a nice time.
PeopleStyle: Lisa, how do you think clothes and styling can help you feel good about yourself?
Lisa: Oh my gosh, you feel like you can conquer the world when you feel beautiful and with the nice, right outfit. I feel completely different right now! It empowers you.
Thalía: It empowers you, but I think it’s like a mental illusion because you are already beautiful.
Lisa: I feel like inside I know I’m a good person and I feel beautiful, but for so long, I wasn’t on the outside.
PeopleStyle: Because of cancer?
Thalía: Because you don’t have time to think about anything. I kind of identify with it in my little experience with Lyme disease because when you go through that you can’t move from your bed. You can’t think about anything.
PeopleStyle: That’s when you feel more confident about yourself?
Lisa: Yes. Right now, with the perfect look and the perfect make-up and hair, I feel very safe inside and out. When my family saw me, everyone smiled.
PeopleStyle: You picked out clothes from your Thalia Sodi for Macy’s collection for Lisa. Do you have a favorite piece?
Thalía: When we were selecting the clothes Lisa asked me about my jeans. Oh my god, I love these jeans because they have a high waist, and yet it’s comfortable and gives you that extra support. It’s perfection! It feels like a second skin. These jeans and the jumpsuits are incredible because you can use them casually or you can dress them up.
In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness, Thalía has designed two graphic T-shirts that read “Fearless” and “Today I Will Live Life To The Fullest” that will be on sale at Macy’s and Macys.com for $29.50 and 10 percent of each sale will go towards the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.