I had the absolute pleasure of meeting Mila a little over a week ago on Instagram. She sent me a direct message and asked to be a part of my team because she loved my mission. She explained that she was learning to love the small scars on her stomach as a result of a surgery. Naturally I was curious, so I asked her if she wouldn’t mind telling me about her surgery. After learning about her journey, I asked if she would like to be our first Scarlight! She humbly agreed. Here is her story.

The Beginning

“I started to get really painful stomach aches and bloating back in 2019, but my doctors thought it was nothing because [I was] too young and [they thought I was] probably overreacting [about the severity of the pain]. That impacted me pretty hard physically and mentally because I was always tired and always in pain. A year later, I couldn’t handle the pain anymore, so I went to a private doctor who saw I had an iron deficiency. I was losing a dangerous amount of blood. After a colonoscopy, they [the doctors] saw a tumor and I needed surgery as soon as possible because the tumor had already spread. They removed a big piece of my colon, and when they analyzed it, they confirmed it was cancer. I was just 26 years old! [I thought] how could this happen to me? Did I do something wrong? I don’t have the answers, and I know I’ll never have them.

In September 2020 right after the surgery, I started chemotherapy all by myself. Because of Covid, no one was allowed in the rooms, just the patients. Turns out, I had a really bad reaction to every single chemotherapy session. They [the doctors] had to give me some extra weeks to rest between each session from the treatment. I wasn’t recovering at the pace that you were supposed to [because I] was allergic to the treatment, so I got even sicker. I finished chemotherapy at the end of March 2021.

In June 2021, they ran some additional tests and found a little spot on my chest, which turned out to be nothing. The blood tests were okay. Now I’m clean, which makes me incredibly happy, but at the same time I’m struggling to accept my new body and my scars even though they’re tiny ones.”

The Present

Mila is now awaiting additional tests in September 2021. The doctors have to run tests every 3 months to ensure the cancer will not resurface. She explained that she tried to freeze her eggs before beginning chemotherapy in 2020, but were unable to; however, she recently found out that one ovary is full of eggs and has not been affected by the treatment!

I loved Mila from the very first day. We’ve talked a lot since then. I’ve gotten to know her a little bit more and knew she would be perfect for a Scarlight feature. She is so sweet and compassionate and still emotional about her experience and how far she has come. She told me that since her physical scars are so small, she doesn’t feel like her story is worthy enough to be an inspiration to someone – but I disagree. The smallest scars sometimes have the biggest impact and are worthy to be shared. I am so grateful that Mila has stepped up to become our first Scarlight!

Mila is a model and current finalist for Miss Universe Spain 2021!! The pageant will be held in Israel in October 2021. Despite her obvious beauty, she was once told that her hips are too big to model (which completely blows my mind), but she is not giving up on her dream! She shares my vision to make the beauty industry more inclusive for all body types and people with scars because no body is perfect; even though the industry wants to make you believe it.

Mila Toledo Spain 2
Mila T.

Questions for Mila

I asked Mila a few questions:

  • Why do you want to be featured in a Scarlight?

Maybe my story and what I’ve been through could help someone or bright [en] up their day.

  • How has your story shaped your life’s perspective?

“I live my everyday life in a different way. I try to do as much as possible during the day, and when my mind and body ask me to just stay at home and do nothing, I embrace it too. I appreciate little things, such as going for a walk, driving, having fun with my family and friends. I took so many things for granted before Covid and my surgery and treatment… I don’t know what’s gonna happen tomorrow, so I try really hard to enjoy every single day in detail.”

  • What is the most important thing that you have learned about yourself through your journey?

“I’m so much more stronger than I could [have] ever imagined, both mentally and physically.”

  • What is one lesson that you can share with others that will inspire them?

“We all should do more of what makes us happy, and we all should spend more time surrounded by our loved ones.”

The End

Scars are not only physical, but they are mental as well. Read more about this in my blog post The Truth About Scars. Our scars, whether physical or mental, don’t make us less than, they make us more interesting. Learning to embrace your entire self is the foundation for a more fulfilled life. And hopefully more people stepping up to say “I have a scar and its okay,” will help change the mindset of the world even faster!

Thank you Mila for stepping up and owning your story to be an inspiration to others as our first Scarlight! You are AMAZING!! Good luck with the Miss Universe Spain 2021 Pageant! Scar Power will be rooting for you!

Look forward to seeing more of Mila with Scar Power. She is our first Brand Ambassador for Spain!!