people magazine tabloidizes breast cancer


See that vision in leather, fake balloon boobs, and spandex with hair extensions? Her name (and it’s not her stage name apparently) is Amber Marchese. She is one of Bravo’s “Real Housewives” of New Jersey which except for The Real Housewives of Orange County is the most absurdly cartoonish of the franchise.

Anyway, as an insult (in my opinion) to women fighting this disease everywhere, People Magazine has made this woman a new voice and face of breast cancer.

I now feel under-dressed that I did not wear my good leather to radiation.

What a total and utter contrast to how TV Chef and domestic partner of New York Governor Adrew Cuomo Sandra Lee has handled sharing her cancer news and subsequent double mastectomy!  Sandra Lee has handled all of this with grace and style and has discussed the soup to nuts of breast cancer with dignity, intelligence, and good writing skills.

Then there is Amber, who not only does breast cancer survivors and patients a disservice, but women in New Jersey as well. Except I will admit the ex wife of one of my best friend’s boyfriends behaves like she rolls with this chick. (But I digress)

So which came first here, the chicken or the egg? Did People Magazine put out a call for additional “celebrity” breast cancer cases, or did her agent  shop her story out ? Sorry but I am a little too jaded to believe in coincidence here. Someone like this isn’t telling their story for the good of man and woman kind, they are telling the story because there’s a profit margin to be made. This Amber has had breast cancer before so maybe I would have found her more believable had she on her own shared her cancer story as  you know,  something that isn’t underwritten by a major magazine?

As my friend Nicki said:

No mention of genetic testing/counseling. With a father with pancreatic cancer, concerned about paternal side inheritance of BRCA mutation. Also had second bout of breast cancer after have a bilateral mastectomy for initial diagnosis .”

My breast cancer group, which is an international group of very diverse women is pretty much (thus far based on who has read it) agog in not such a positive way over this and not in a good way.  Generally speaking, because this woman now (because of a tabloid magazine and reality show franchise) becomes the new face of a disease that is not tabloidesque or cartoonish in the least. 

She’s had cancer before. There is family history and I get that how you deal with this is a personal choice, but why no mention of BRCA with BART arm testing? 

So I have slogged through her blog posts and all its literary finery (and why is hell capitalized??? Is it the name of the new town in New Jersey or something?)

… the test began, I was in complete control. I was good, totally dialed in. It started off easy: I heard tapping noises that wasn’t too terrible at all. I was softly praying “Our Father” and “Hail Mary,” and I was chugging along. I do not know why, but things took a turn for the worse – and I mean fast! …..I could not take it any longer. I yelled for the technicians, but there was nothing, no response! I lay for a little longer and then began yelling again, but again nothing! Now I was completely panicking. I started pressing the button once, then twice and then repeatedly pressed the button until my thumb was raw. I did not stop. I started screaming and yelling for them to get me the Hell out of there!

And then things like this:

Amber Marchese’s Blog: Cancer ‘Is Not My Reality’
Amber Marchese, star of The Real Housewives of New Jersey , is blogging about her second battle with cancer for PEOPLE. After surviving breast cancer in 2009, she discovered a lump, which turned out to be cancerous, in her right breast in April. Marchese will share updates on her treatment and how she is coping with this second round of the deadly disease with prayer, a positive outlook and the help of her family……Over the last few weeks, some days I was wracked with fear, others I glided through with no issues, almost as if my diagnosis was just an episode on TV. Seriously, this is not my reality. 
…..I did, however, slow down attending church, stopped praying as much and certainly did not pray the Rosary or a Novena in many years….Although the words came out of my mouth that I am a Catholic, I did not have God in my life as much as I should have. I knew in my heart I had wandered from my path, even despite my first bout with breast cancer and feeling God’s miracle once before. 
….I want to hear from you! As always, although I may not be able to answer all of you, I do read each and every one of your comments. If you have any questions or comments that you need to ask me, email me at
See you next week and feel free to contact me on Facebook, Twitterand Instagram. 
God bless each and every one of you, 

Umm as a fellow Catholic girl I raise an eyebrow…maybe two over the whole Novena and Rosary of it all. If she was so concerned for her immortal soul, umm why is she a chief strumpet and bottle washer on a reality show where she often curses bleep, bleep, bleep like a sailor on television? It’s holier if you are making buckets of money?

Hey it’s her life and it  isn’t  as if she is the first “housewife” to have made money on her brand off of one of these TV shows. You have ones that cook, write cookbooks, try to sing, design clothes, promote toaster ovens in pasties, strip on television, and consider themselves Broadway “stars”. 

What I’m saying is a lot of these women are very entrepreneurial in a public sort of way, but monetizing breast-cancer never sits right with me. Sandra Lee and Angelina Jolie have used their celebrity for good in the fight against breast cancer and seem genuinely interested in seeing women get the best treatment  and best breast education possible. 

But Amber Marchesese? Not so much in my opinion. This woman uses her Catholocism as a convenient religious prop like a television preacher (or a Duggar, take your pick) and I can’t help but feel that this entire thing is a stunt to build  her “brand” and monetize her breast cancer while  People Magazine tabloidizes it.  

If she had just started blogging about it under the radar without fanfare and then People picked up maybe I wouldn’t have such a problem – but this whole thing smacks as designed for reality TV and an extra paycheck. Breast cancer is very real and not in a reality television show kind of way.

Just so we are clear I do not wish this Amber Marchese ill, I just find the timing suspect and the whole thing contrived like she is the front woman for the next season of the Real Housewives of New Jersey on Bravo.

It would be nice if she did something like donated a percentage of her fees she much be earning from People Magazine to a reputable breast cancer charity, or even back to the hospital where she is being treated to help other women who are less fortunate and could use the help through treatment. In other words,  use her celebrity more for good versus what feels like straight personal gain. 

And if Bravo  uses this as part of their storyline, one would hope they would donate part of their profits to well a place like the Cancer Hospital of NJ at Robert Wood Johnson in North Jersey. They are amazing there and I actually had a woman who works for that institution talk to me as one of the first people who spoke to me when I was newly diagnosed and she was amazing and I will never forget it. Come to think of it it would be really good sign of People Magazine   made a donation to someplace like that. After all, this  will sell them a lot of magazines.

About carla

Writer, blogger, photographer, breast cancer survivor. I write about whatever strikes my fancy as I meander through life.
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