New York City is currently hosting one of the year’s biggest fashion events — New York Fashion Week — but one face will be noticeably absent from the audiences of the numerous runway shows. As reported by the Daily Mail, Project Runway judge Nina Garcia revealed this week that she will not be attending the occasion, as she will be recovering from a preventative double mastectomy.
The Elle editor made the announcement in a letter shared on Thursday, February 7, to the magazine’s website.
“It feels strange knowing that for the first time in 25 year, I will miss the excitement, creativity, and energy of the shows, which have always served as a reminder of why I love this industry,” Garcia wrote before revealing she would be “watching from the sidelines” while healing from the major surgery.
Nina continued, explaining that her “battle of the boobs” began a few years ago in 2015 after undergoing a genetic test to check for mutations on the BRCA genes that increase the risk of breast and ovarian cancer.
“To my surprise, I received an envelope containing the results, stating that I did in fact have a mutation and was at high risk for breast cancer,” she said.
Nina has spent the last three years carefully monitoring the situation and undergoing a number of tests and procedures, including mammograms, biopsies, and two lumpectomies, and while she never received “terrible” results, there were still signs that indicated something may happen in the future. Ultimately, it was the results of a set of tests done in January that led Nina to make the decision with her doctors to undergo the preventative procedure.
“I was living in a loop of testing, every day waking up thinking, ‘Is today the day I will get cancer?'” the editor-in-chief wrote. “I no longer wanted to have these scary thoughts, and I knew the only way they would stop was to schedule the surgery.”
The decision did not come without challenges, and Nina revealed that one of the biggest was “putting on brave face and staying present” as she interacted with her family and went to work every day.
And while she elected to only tell a handful of people about the news until now, those that did know provided an amazing community of women that were there to support her.
“For the first time in years, a dark cloud lifted, and I felt a sense of relief and clarity about my choice,” she said of the decision to reveal the news to her friends.
Nina concluded her letter by stating that she hopes her story will comfort other women going through a similar situation, and that despite her nerves at the moment, she knows she will be well taken care of during her recovery period.
The Daily Mail noted that the reality TV star has been hard at work in the days before her operation not only with her publication, but also in preparation for the next season of Project Runway, which will premiere on March 14.