When pinup model Elly Mayday was diagnosed with Stage 3 ovarian cancer, she decided to use her platform to inspire women to recognize their inner beauty.
StyleLikeU's "What's Underneath Project" asks "individuals to participate in a project in which they will remove their clothes to honor how style is not the clothes you wear, it is comfort in your skin, it is your spirit, it is What's Underneath."
And in its latest video, Mayday discusses her emotional battle with cancer and how going public helped her learn to love her scars.
Mayday, who became a pinup model for fun in addition to her job as a flight attendant, explains in the video that she started modeling to share her confidence with women everywhere.
"Look, I'm bigger, and I'm okay with that," she said.
Then, Mayday explains that she started experiencing back pain while working her flight attendant job.
People were quick to assume that her pain was caused by her body type, and she was told to exercise. When the pain continued, she visited doctors and emergency rooms — but she was quickly sent home with simple medicine.
No one believed it was a big deal, but it was, Mayday says, tearing up.
"I thought: 'How dare you think that I'm not aware of my body enough to tell you that there's something wrong?'"
Just days later, doctors diagnosed Mayday with Stage 3 ovarian cancer.
Mayday says that prior to her operation, she wrote to everyone she cared about to remind them how much she loved them.
"I guess that's like the scariest thing — not having people know the way you feel about them," she says.
Meanwhile, Mayday had a huge social media presence to maintain.
But the cancer caused Mayday to lose weight, which her followers noticed.
People would post on her page saying things like, "Oh, that's how it gets? You get a little bit more famous and then you lose all the weight."
To which she responded, "Are you fucking kidding me?"
Through everything, Mayday says that she learned to appreciate her inner beauty.
And she beat cancer, too.
"I really realized that your glow comes from within. I'll always be me, no matter what, whatever weight I am. It doesn't matter. I just want to be healthy."
Moreover, she says that she developed a "warrior mentality," recognizing that her fight to beat cancer was one of the scariest things she'll ever do.
But she loves her body, despite all the hardship. And she's proud to have gone through it so publicly.
"You give power to people when you give them a voice," she says, proud of herself and her scars. "My body has brought me through hell and back. [But] I would choose this body again — because it's mine, and I'm happy with it."