This Blogger Survived Breast Cancer. Then She Had 9 Artists Paint Topless Portraits.

"Cancer is not a reason to be shamed."

Marjut Keski-Korpi is fearless these days.

The Finnish blogger is no longer afraid of showing off her body after surviving breast cancer and sharing her story on her blog over three years ago. So when Arla Foods, an international brand, reached out to Keski-Korpi for an opportunity to share her survival story with the world, she didn't hesitate to accept.

"I wanted to show people that cancer is not a reason to be sshamed," she tells A Plus in an email. "You can't choose not to have it, so why [do] you need to hide it?"

Keski-Korpi stars in a video for the company where she poses topless in front of nine artists and lets each of them paint a portrait of her based on their own interpretations. The portraits will be auctioned off and the proceeds from it will be donated to cancer research.

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In the lead-up to this moment, Keski-Korpi opens up about her feelings in regards to her body after breast cancer.

"Many think that now that one has beaten cancer, everything is fine," she says in the video. "But I still have mixed feelings about myself, because I don't look the way I think I do."

When Keski-Korpi's finished posing, she later gets to see meet the artists, allowing each of them share their thoughts about who they perceive her to be, ranging from fearless and vulnerable, to simply being unafraid of death.

For Arla, putting together the portraits and the videos was a push to do more than just donate money to Finland's Pink Ribbon campaign for breast cancer awareness, according to Betina Karvinen, the company's brand and category manager. It wanted to do more and when one of Arla's staff members mentioned Keski-Korpi and how they followed her on Instagram, they were intrigued and immediately contacted her.

Putting the project together took about a month, Karvinen says. Her favorite part was the "unique atmosphere of the film shoot."

"It was a very unique day and I think each and every person in the room felt like they were part of something very special," Karvinen tells A Plus. "Needless to say, also seeing the film for the first time was a very proud, emotional and special moment — our whole team was in happy tears!"  

Marjut Keski-Korpi looks at a portrait of herself.
Courtesy of Arla Foods

The video went live in October, coinciding with Breast Cancer Awareness Month. According to Keski-Korpi, she's received nothing but positive and heartfelt messages from viewers.

Karvinen noted that Arla also received a lot of positive feedback from others.

"One of the most memorable ones is a message that we got through Instagram saying: 'I'm so thankful for the fact that I stumbled upon this film. I understood what my mother – a breast cancer survivor – has actually gone through,'" she says.

Marjut Keski-Korpi standing among art supplies.
Courtesy of Arla Foods

Looking back on the video now, Keski-Korpi says she feels she's become more self-confident and powerful because of it and wants people to understand the complexities that come with surviving something like cancer.

"I hope people realized that this is [such a] huge fight and it won't stop after your medical treatments are over," she says. "This will change you both mentally and physically. You will never feel the same than before the sickness. Still, I think I'm beautiful and even more strong now."

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