Cancer survivor Marisa Acocella Marchetto tk tk

A prime theme in your book is the struggle between the superficial New York glam ideal of beauty and a more authentic beauty. It sounds like you went through a real transformation, but without rejecting lipstick or great shoes in the process.


I’m somebody who used to weigh herself every five minutes when I was, like, 102 pounds. I was focused on weight and fashion—things that were completely superficial and not that important in the grand scheme of things. [Before cancer,] fashion was like a game of one-up womanship: You don't get dressed for the guy; you get dressed to psych out the girls, you know?


But [I came to] use fashion as a way to make me feel better about myself.  I wore five-inch Lucite pumps to chemotherapy—so I could look at them instead of the chemo IV. And just recently when I went to have my mammogram, I wore a pair of black patent leather thigh-high boots—which were totally spectacular—and I looked at those instead of my boob being squished in the machine. Took a lot of the pain out, let me tell you.


To have a very pretty distraction.




There are a lot of spiritual moments in the book, and I wondered if you could talk a little bit about your religious background. 


I’m Catholic, but I also study Kabbalah because that really helps me. 


What are the Catholic parts of your life?


I really believe in the Virgin Mary and  I pray to her daily. I sort of pray in my own way, and I’ll say the Rosary. I’m also in close contact with my priest, Father Peter Jacobs, who lives in Rome, in the Vatican. I talk to him at least three times a week.