Model with Terminal Cancer Stuns in Parisian Photo Shoot

02/09/2013 at 02:30 PM ET

Jill Brzezinski-Conley spins in front of the Eiffel Tower wearing a frothy tulle gown as the photographer snaps away. But Brzezinski-Conley isn’t just another model: She’s a 35-year-old woman with terminal stage-four breast cancer, which has metastasized to her bone.

At 32, Brzezinski-Conley underwent a double mastectomy. Three years later, the woman, who lives with her husband in Kentucky, is battling stage-four incurable bone cancer. But Brzezinski-Conley is determined to turn her pain into something positive by raising awareness about breast cancer.

Brzezinski-Conley asked her friend and wedding photographer, Nikki Closser, to take photos of her post-surgery breasts to send to Sue Bryce, a famed Australian photographer, for breast cancer awareness month. “[The media] never shows what breast cancer looks like,” Brzezinski-Conley tells The Huffington Post.

Bryce was inspired by Brzezinski-Conley’s story and invited her to participate in a five-day photo shoot in Paris. “For the first time, in those five days, I felt like Cinderella. I didn’t feel like a cancer patient,” she says. “They made me feel like a supermodel, and it was the nicest feeling … I didn’t want to go back home.”

Along with the photographs, videographer Hailey Bartholomew documented the trip in a 15-minute video that tells Brzezinski-Conley’s story, showing both vulnerable moments and their giddy trip to film in Paris.

Brzezinski-Conley hopes to inspire young women battling cancer to feel good about their bodies. “I wanted the photo shoot to be for women who look like me, [to show them that] they can still feel sexy and beautiful,” she says. But above all, she hopes this will encourage every woman to take action, saying, “Be educated, learn your body, learn the signs of breast cancer.”

Watch Brzezinski-Conley’s documentary above, and head over to to see her photos from the Paris shoot.

–Jennifer Cress

FILED UNDER: Beauty , BodyWatch , Models
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Showing 10 comments

Babs on

An incredible story of courage and very inspiring to those of us who are in a similar situation. Watching this video has helped me with my emotional and physical pain and helped me feel better about myself. Thank you to Jill and all the wonderful people that made this video story possible.

Veena on

What an amazing story and beautifully taken. Really makes us all appreciate our life and every person in it.

bethany on

Beauty & courage defined.

lina on

I cried so much

Lisa on

Thank you for sharing this beautiful, inspiring and courageous story!

Patrick Wagner on

It is important that women understand that they are still women after something as devastating as this. this disease is touching lives all over he world and I applaud this lady for taking the risk and showing women what they can still achieve.

Bkable on

I wish I hadn’t had the opportunity to watch this… however, I believe that you have given us all a gift by doing this. I recently lost my mom to breast cancer and I thank you, on behalf of her, for your strength.

Jennifer on

Wow! Such a brave and lovely woman. This video was food for my soul. Thank you for this much needed perspective.

deergirl on

my cousin is also battling stage 4 breast cancer and has been for over ten years.shes 41 now and still here and guess what.. Cancer is in remission now.. Shes doing awesome,. Her strength pulled her through and her courage keeps her going.. Never give up…keep going…

Megan on


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