Cancer survivor Monika Allen was not expecting to be mocked when SELF magazine contacted her to ask permission to use her picture in their magazine. Allen, a San Diego resident, ran last year’s LA marathon in a tutu. She also ran it while undergoing chemotherapy for brain cancer. A picture of Allen with her friend, Tara, was taken of the two of them running the LA marathon wearing their tutus on top of superhero outfits.
When SELF magazine emailed Allen about her photo, she was excited in giving them permission to use the picture. Her excitement ended when she saw the April issue. Her picture appeared in their “BS Meter,” and was actually making fun of her and her friend’s “froufrou” skirts, saying that people might think the tutus help them to run faster, but SELF readers believe it would make people run away from them faster.
What SELF magazine did not know when they mocked the cancer survivor and her skirt is that these are not just some “froufrou” skirts. In fact, Allen makes these skirts for her company, Glam Runner. The money made from these skirts is then donated to Girls on the Run, a charity which sponsors exercise and confidence-building programs for young girls. In the past three years, Allen has made roughly 2,000 tutus and raised approximately $5,600 for the non-profit.
Fans and friends of Allen have shown their support on the Glam Runner Facebook page, including some who have announced that they will no longer subscribe to SELF. Girls on the Run posted the picture that ran in SELF with a brief explanation that included the statement, “One of our core values is to stand up for yourself and others, so we are standing up for Tara and Monika, as well as every other runner who has finished a race feeling awesome in a tutu.”
In a statement, SELF apologized for using her picture in a way that did not support Allen’s efforts to be healthy. They acknowledged that tutus are worth wearing for a race if they give the runner a sense of purpose or community, or put a smile on the runner’s face.
The editor-in-chief of SELF, Lucy Danziger, said that she is in the process of trying to reach Allen and that she will personally support Allen’s charity. She stated, “I had no idea that Monika had been through cancer. It was an error. It was a stupid mistake.” She also mentioned that the item should not have been run in the magazine.
Allen explained that the reason she wore the superhero outfit and tutu to run the marathon was because it was her first marathon with brain cancer. She added that a smile or a cheer from a stranger really can help to make things better. The cancer survivor also explained that if she knew how the picture was going to be mocked in SELF, she would not have wanted the magazine to use it. She stated, “I feel like we were misled into providing the picture.”
By Ashley Campbell