Interviews & Essays -

Womaness Woman: Dana Donofree

How one breast cancer survivor made recovery even more beautiful

By Womaness Editors     2-Minute Read

Dana Donofree knows a thing or two about being a woman who doesn't let anything stand in her way. As a breast cancer survivor diagnosed in her twenties, she overcame the unimaginable and alchemized it into something beautiful. She drew from her experience to found AnaOno, a line of bras designed to fit ALL breasts, including ones that are asymmetrical or reconstructed from surgery. We asked Dana what it means to be a Womaness Womanthat is, an empowered and confident woman who embraces all aspects of her femininity, including early onset menopause. Read on for a dose of powerful (and grounded!) inspiration. 

First thing I do each morning

“After the typical morning routine stuff, the first thing I do is go hit my Peloton. That bike has been a saving grace for my health and overall wellbeing. Why? Because I feel so good getting a sweat in right away in the morning. It’s a clear time to focus on my upcoming day, get a little motivation in my life, and care for myself before others. When you give a lot during your day as a part of your day job, I believe it so important to give a little to yourself first.”

Three things I always keep on my nightstand

“Cocoa butter. Lavender essential oil. My manifesting tin from my dear late breastie, Jill Conley, full of little gifts and notes I keep for myself.”

My go-to beauty hack or wellness ritual

“I am seriously the worst at any beauty hack or wellness ritual. I often go to bed without washing my face, sometimes fall asleep before even brushing my teeth and wake up in the middle of the night to do it! I'm lucky if I slap on the much-needed moisturizer in the morning. I always have to keep an extra set of all beauty products at my desk for the days I just run out of the house and forget.”


“I promised myself to fill every day with joy and if something enters into my life that does not bring me joy, I find a way to remove it.”


My inner age (the age I really feel) and why

“50! And this isn't a bad thing. When I was diagnosed with breast cancer in my mid-20s, I immediately felt like I had aged decades, but I have also always been an old soul. I've also experienced menopause not once, but twice—and if I am lucky, a third time naturally. So, I don't necessarily think you have to feel ‘younger,’ and feeling older can have its perks. I hurt in places I shouldn't as a soon-to-be 40-year-old, but I also know my heart and mind have seen much more than many of my peers, so I feel older and wiser and that doesn't scare me. I just hope for the days ahead-that I get to see 50, then 60—and if I’m really outrageously lucky—then 70!"

Advice I would give to my younger self

“You don't have to have it all every minute of the day. I have gone ‘hard’ my whole life. I have always been ready for the next step in my life before it is ready for me. Don't anticipate what is next, don't force it, just ride the wave of life and enjoy every minute of every day without stress (when possible!).”

We don’t believe in “The Pause.” Tell us, what are you not pausing on? 

“I never pause on life. Facing breast cancer at a young age is a HUGE wake-up call. I promised myself to fill every day with joy and if something enters into my life that does not bring me joy, I find a way to remove it. This is not always easy; in the beginning, this was the hardest thing I had to do for myself. But like with anything else, when you practice, you get better. I simply say no. It's a powerful word.”

Word that best describes your Womaness

“Fearless. I live by this term: Fear, Less. When you can push yourself to understand, to uncover the truths, to have vulnerable and honest conversations about things in life, you can live fearlessly.”

More Interviews & Essays

Womaness Woman: Dr. Emily Morse
Womaness Woman: Melanie Griffith
Womaness Woman: Kym Douglas