By Erika Scannell
Gravity – the natural phenomenon by which all things with mass are brought toward one another; one of the strongest forces in the universe. Here on Earth, gravity gives weight to physical objects and has very personal effects on the human body; more specifically, gravity can have a very damaging effect to the woman’s body. February may be American Heart Month, but it is never a bad time to also focus on the female body part covering the heart – the breasts. The breasts, which are comprised of adipose tissue (fat), glandular epithelium, blood vessels, lymph glands, supporting collagenous fibers, capillaries and the covering skin, have no muscles, bones, joints or other structure that can withstand the effects of gravity.
Dr. Kristi Funk explains the connection this way: “[A woman’s] breasts don’t have muscles in them; they can’t just defy gravity all by themselves. If you let gravity take its toll long enough, [parts of them will change direction].” In addition, experts estimate that 80-85 percent of women are wearing the wrong size bra. “Wearing the wrong size bra can cause or worsen upper back problems, causing muscle tension and sometimes even headaches,” says Dr. Sasi Royyuru, family medicine physician in Bloomington, Illinois. Without proper support, lymphatic drainage is impeded, which interferes with cellular health. Breast disease is more likely when there is no circulation and lymphatic drainage. Furthermore, when gravity pulls a woman’s breasts down, this also stretches the throat and facial tissue, leading to an additional battle of gravity and destruction to the woman’s body.
Cynthia Decker and Molly Hopkins are two well-known reality TV stars whose lives’ mission is to give women the knowledge and tools to fight gravity, improve their health, adjust their posture and radically transform their self-confidence. They are the owners of Livi Rae Lingerie located just north of Atlanta in Kennesaw and were the dynamic, fun-loving, bra-fitting duo of Double Divas airing on Lifetime. Before the show, these authentic bosom buddies opened a small shop with one simple goal: to serve other women in their most challenging and frustrating wardrobe basics. And these two ladies are as genuine as you will find, with hearts full of southern hospitality and generosity that earned them an entrepreneurial philanthropic award just six months after opening shop in 2006.
These two big-hearted gals, along with their vendors, recently joined forces with Freeport local Mary Cornelison Bross of Headstrong Studios to host a local fundraiser. Mary is a stylist, professional make-up artist, photographer and author of the upcoming book Sword for a Princess, her personal journey from victim to overcomer with practical tips for women wishing to obtain freedom from past mistakes, failures, hurts and regrets. For one day, local women could meet the Double Divas in person for an intimate and flawless bra-fitting, information-gathering and confidence-boosting session. Most women walk away with a superior quality bra, but more than that, they gain self-confidence and knowledge about the two things that are uniquely women.
A properly-fitting bra has a number of health benefits for a woman. These include posture improvement, elimination of shoulder and back pain related to breast size, a lower risk of heart attack, instantly looking up to 20 pounds lighter, clothes fitting better in any shape or style, improvement of emotional health and self-image, improving the firmness and fullness of breast tissue, saving money by buying only bras that fit properly and are therefore actually worn, creating a great first impression on others, and even improving women’s outlook on life knowing their most intimate body parts are safe, secure and properly cared for. During a fitting OTC was able to participate in, Cynthia Decker said, “We walk into a room forward, not backward. No bust too big or too small, we size them all. And ALL girls should be properly presented.” She said this after bringing a bra into the fitting room for a gal and making a perfect fit without even using a measuring tape!
The local fundraising event these three little powerhouses put on was called YOU SHINE. It was a spa day and makeover hosted at the Bross Sanctuary where women were nominated and selected for a day of pampering by local stylists, make-up artists, manicurists, massage therapists, and of course the Double Divas from Livi Rae Lingerie. The women chosen for You Shine were individuals from our local area who have been struggling with everything from meeting the demands of being a single parent to joblessness, homelessness, addiction recovery and a host of other conditions life has thrown at them causing physical, emotional, financial as well as mental hardships. These are struggles Mary knows well and shares openly as she went from being a successful model and makeup artist to being homeless and living out of her car with a small child. The single most perspective-changing event during that time was when a woman took her and gave her a shampoo, condition and haircut. What that woman really gave Mary was a seed planted in the hopes to one day serve other women and remind them that they are beautiful daughters in need of a polishing when life’s dirt gets thrown at them. When given the opportunity to shine, a mental and spiritual transformation takes place, allowing the individual the second chance they need.
Mary and her many volunteers, friends like Cynthia and Molly and community sponsors like Thrivent Financial who donated all the hair products used, Sunshine Shuttle who lovingly transported the woman in style from the original Miramar Beach location to the Freeport sanctuary, the many vendors of Livi Rae that generously donated items from pajamas to bras and panties to the ladies, as well as the Med Spa of Destin and Sandestin that graciously hosted the all-day bra fitting event, all hope to make You Shine a quarterly event and bless the women of this community. You may not remember Monday, December 5, 2016, but it was a miserably rainy day here on the Emerald Coast. The sun was not shining much that day. But up on a little property in Freeport, due to the love freely given to hurting women in our community, there was a light shining from within and catching fire! Molly, who has been traveling the US with Cynthia the last 10 years hosting such fundraisers for organizations big both big and small, contributing to national charities like Susan G Komen as well as helping local charities like My Father’s Arrows, stated, “Change your bra, change your life. We live by it.” And who knows, a changed bra with proper breast support may just make YOU shine too! That and the love poured into the women who participated in You Shine certainly did.
To find out more about the next upcoming You Shine event, become a community sponsor, volunteer and support the local businesses that generously gave of themselves and their resources for this transformation, please visit our On The Coast website or email Mary Cornelison Bross at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Subscribe to On the Coast Magazine's Free Newsletter for regular updates!