A Cancer Survivor With Double Mastectomy Scars Is the Star of Equinox Gym's New Ad Campaign

The new year is always a big moment for gyms to ramp up their marketing campaigns in an effort to attract new members, and this year Equinox is taking a bold approach, with the hashtag #CommitToSomething. The new ad campaign, which debuted today on Instagram and was photographed by Steven Klein, features a thyroid cancer survivor who is proudly baring her double mastectomy scars while an artist tattoos a flower on her chest.

"We are made by the commitments we make," reads the Instagram caption accompanying the ad. "How can that be anything less than beautiful?" For the model in the ad, Samantha Paige, "commitment" meant sticking to doing what felt right for her after she tested positive for the BRCA1 gene, which is a mutation that marks an increased risk of cancers in both women and men. It's especially troubling for women, though, as the likelihood of breast or ovarian cancer becomes 3 to 7 times more likely for women with the gene.

Paige had already survived thyroid cancer when she tested positive for the gene, so she decided to decrease her risk for developing breast or ovarian cancer by having the double mastectomy. "I didn’t want to keep going for MRIs and mammograms every three to six months — it was too unnerving, and the risk seemed too great," Paige, 41, told People. Although she had reconstructive breast implant plastic surgery after the mastectomy, she ended up deciding to have the implants removed. "When I had the implants out, I realized that we all know what matters most to us, and the next step is the action we take to stand up for those ideals and those beliefs and those values," she told People.

"Equinox's message of ‘Commit to Something’ is about being able to look at yourself in the mirror and realize who you are and stand up to those values. It just dovetails with what I believe in." Equinox is no stranger to controversy when it comes to its ads: last year, the brand worked with Klein on a campaign that featured Lydia Hearst breastfeeding. And the new ad isn't without its detractors — one commenter on Instagram, @megmasters, wrote, "Hey Equinox. I'm a big fan of your gym. And I've had a double mastectomy. This is insulting to me, as Equinox doesn't know a thing about what it means to lose breasts. Please rethink how this comes across to your members, and stick to what you know."

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Photo Credit: Getty Images