Twelve Northland women have bared their strength and beauty to become calendar girls for Breast Cancer Support Northland Trust.

The calendar, called Strength and Beauty and featuring elegant, feminine portraits of women who have all battled and survived breast cancer, will be launched tomorrow.

All the women in the calendar are volunteers with the trust.

"Our emphasis is on making these survivors look and feel like the beautiful strong women that they are," chairwoman Melanie Waldron said.


"The calendar has been designed to be a resource, not only for women with breast cancer but for all women - as we all have a chance of getting it."

At the launch, large prints of the calendar's photos will be on display, along with some of the story of each woman's experience with breast cancer.

Breast Cancer Support provides one-on-one peer support from women with breast cancer, support groups, retreats and financial assistance.

Photographer Sarahlee Cobb came up with the concept, did the shots for free and played a big role in the calendar's design.

"Together with Melanie Waldron, we played with different ideas over styling and designing the shoots," she said.

"I sourced the outfits, accessories such as headdresses, overviewed the design and am hosting the launch in my new studio."

Ms Cobb said most of the subjects were nervous to begin with but their anxiety soon faded away.

"As each image was created in a fine art form to speak 'beauty and strength', the photo shoot was out of the ladies' comfort zone, but I took extra care that every image was elegant, not cheesy.

"The best thing to come from it would be not only the fundraising that will come from it but the exposure for Breast Cancer Support Northland Trust and the amazing work they do."

One of the women, Jackie Howe, said the images showed the women had "continued on, and this is to show a positive side of living with or after breast cancer".

Finished in time to mark the end of the October national breast cancer awareness month, the calendar comes with information about the signs women should watch for, and lists community and medical services.

The launch will be tomorrow at 5pm, at Sarahlee Studio, 5 Rust Ave, Whangarei. Calendars will be on sale for $20.