She walks among many of us, leaving a scar, a scathing footprint. Drenched in the abyss of heartache, there’s a pain and a weight that surfaces, seeking to harm. She is at odds with any beam of hope, but from time to time a replenished strength creeps in and a rejuvenated mind, body and soul drowns out all fear and ruin. In hope’s light, she has no voice. Her name is breast cancer, and here one of her survivors has fought back.
Meet Valerie Grandury, a former Hollywood producer and breast cancer survivor that created her own organic, raw, beauty line, Odacité, to help women discover a way to enhance health and loveliness in the purest form. All the way from Paris, we had the privilege to talk with Valerie about her story, her journey, and her adventure in helping and inspiring women all around the world.
Though we’re nearing the end of Breast Cancer Awareness month, we’re intentionally sharing this interview at the close of October in hopes that our readers are reminded to carry awareness and support of this cause throughout the year.
Darling Magazine: When did you find out you were diagnosed with cancer?
Valerie: In 2004, I felt a lump in my breast. I had a mammogram that came back clear, yet I knew something was not ok. I insisted on getting an ultrasound and one was scheduled for my birthday. That ultrasound came back showing 3 tumors. I will always remember that birthday!
DM: What were some of the very first, raw thoughts that went through your head after hearing the news?
Valerie: Most crazy thoughts started with, I don’t have time to be sick. Followed with more dramatic ones, my kids still need their Mom; I’m too young to die. Followed with guilt trip ones, What did I do to deserve this? Social ones, How am I going to tell my family and my friends? Vain ones: I don’t want to loose my hair, nor my breast.
DM: Can you recall something that enabled you to fight harder every day?
Valerie: At the time I was diagnosed, I was producing commercials all over the world and was used to solving many complicated situations. After the first crazy thoughts, I decided to treat my cancer like a complicated situation. By becoming the producer of my healing journey, I lost the fear. I had a new job to do: eradicate cancer cells from my body. To be successful at my new job, I realized that if I wanted to heal, not only did I need medical treatment but I also needed to change many things in my life. Cancer was going to be my motivation to reinvent myself. I quit my job, totally changed my diet to raw vegan, started yoga and meditation and went back to school to become a health and wellness coach. I stopped looking at cancer as challenge; I looked at it as an opportunity, one to become more of who I really wanted to be.
DM: What words would you say to family/friends that are grieving for their loved ones currently facing this battle?
Valerie: Try to find the opportunity hiding behind the challenge, its not easy but so worth it. If it’s a friend facing cancer, be present, tell them how much you love them, take them on a trip, do something truly special with them.
If it’s yourself facing cancer, ask what you would like more of in your life? Let the disease be the motivation to take the first step to get more of what you really want out of your life. That first step is the most important, for you’ll embark on the fascinating journey of reconnecting with your dreams.
DM: How do you hope to inspire and encourage women left with the scar of this disease?
Valerie: The scar is always there as a reminder that life is beautiful, even when not perfect. Before I got cancer, my happiness was fragile because it was dependent on my life’s events. Happiness was linked to achievements I had set for myself and easily wavered with the first problem. Now, this happiness is gone and so are my expectations of a “perfect” life. Instead, I have found another form of happiness, one that is deep, solid, constant. This happiness is based on the gratitude to have a second chance at life. Today, nothing prevents me from being happy, even if life is not perfect.
DM: We heard you are the founder of an all natural beauty line, what was the catalyst to creating it?
Valerie: Having cancer made me absolutely passionate (and sometimes a bit rigid) about non-toxic living. It led me to look into everything that came in contact with my body. I was horrified when I found out about the toxicity of skin care products and their direct link to breast cancer. We French are very serious about skin care. Not finding anything that I felt bridged absolute purity and efficacy, I started blending freshly made skin care products, first for myself, then for my coaching clients and high profile clients in LA. Word spread fast, and demand grew quickly. It took me on an amazing journey, filled with lots passion, many challenges and discoveries, years of research and scouting the world for the best ingredients.
In 2009 I was connected with the most amazing business partner and together we launched Odacité, making my fresh formulation available online. Today we ship fresh from our California lab to homes and boutiques in 30 countries. None of this would have happened had I not been faced with cancer!
DM: Is there a story behind the name of your company, Odacité?
Valerie: Yes, its a French play on the word audacity. The audacity to redefine conventional skin care, the audacity to reinvent your life!
DM: What is your beauty philosophy?
Valerie: First, work on your inside glow: love and be loved. Tackle the outside glow by pampering your skin, as it’s your calling card to the outer world. Be yourself and cultivate your own sense of style. Learn one new thing every day. Carry yourself with good posture. Last but not least, rejoice in the art of being feminine …all the way into your 90s.
Image by Anna Kraft Photography via Flickr