Certifiably Awesome: Shaney jo Darden, Founder, Keep a Breast Foundation

Did you know? All year round, 5% of all sales of our Hibiscus Mask on swbasics.com will be donated to Keep a Breast, a pioneering breast cancer education and prevention organization. Given October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we put founder Shaney jo Darden through the Certifiably Awesome rigamarole. Her interview is below.



What is your favorite food that a nutritionist would approve of? 

AVOCADO! All day, everyday, in and on everything.


What is your favorite “I-really-shouldn’t-be-eating-this” food?

I’ve always had a weakness for chips, especially BBQ. Sometimes I try to kill my crunch craving with a rice cake, jicama, or carrot stick, but it doesn’t always hit the spot!


What is a skincare myth that you have busted on your own?

As a teenager, I was so scared of using anything oily on my face because it’s associated with acne. Now I can see that my skin craves it and I oil up as much as possible.


What percent natural are you? (let me know if you need this one explained more) 

I can answer this several different ways…

House: 90% of all my cleaning products and detergents are non toxic, but my house is very old so I’m sure there must something toxic hiding somewhere.

Mouth: 80% of what I eat is clean food. I’m always traveling, so it can be difficult to maintain a strict routine.

Body: 90% of my skincare routine is “natural”. I do get gel manicures and dye my hair occasionally. I have an amazing non-toxic hair dresser in L.A. (Primrose Salon), but I can’t always get to her, so sometimes vanity gets the best of me.

Plastic: Plastic sucks! I’m 85% conscious on this front. But there’s that 15% of the time when it’s beyond your control, like when a plastic straw comes automatically in your drink. Ugh.

Heart and Soul: 60%. October is busy season for me, so my self-care routine is suffering a bit.


What is your naked animal? (Oh you don’t know what this is? Allow us to improve your life tremendously. IF posing for naked photos, what animal would you choose to hide your girly parts?)

A giraffe.


One of the things we love about Keep a Breast is the totally unique (and innovative) spirit you have and the way that it is expressed – namely, through art and grassroots initiatives. Why are these important vehicles for communicating the KAB message?


The Keep A Breast Foundation was founded in response to the growing need for breast cancer awareness programs that focus on educating young people. My friends were being diagnosed in their 20s, and I had no prior comprehension of how early in life breast cancer could strike.

It flipped a switch in my brain and I realized that it was my purpose to start this conversation with young people about breast cancer prevention. I wanted to do something that spoke to my peers. I use art and artistic expression to inform young people about methods of prevention, early detection and support. Through our programs, Keep A Breast exists to change the global conversation around breast cancer among young people by empowering them with breast health education, which we hope will ultimately to inspire them to adopt healthier habits.


Early detection is key for all cancers, but particularly so for breast cancer, which is why #checkyourselfie so awesome. Can you describe this program for our readers? 


Teens are on their phones constantly, texting, Instagram-ing, gaming etc., and they post over one million selfies a day. Keep A Breast always goes to the places where our audience is and now we’re meeting them right in the palm of their own hand. #checkyourselfie is about turning awareness into action by snapping a selfie with three fingers to your breast symbolizing your monthly commitment to checking yourself.

We also have a great, free app called Check Yourself! that you and your girlfriends can download. You can set an automatic reminder to do your breast self-check and help prevent breast cancer. We’re creating a viral movement that will result in education and action.


The beauty industry is actually one of the ugliest culprits when it comes to toxicity, which is why we’re obsessed with Non-Toxic Revolution. What are some steps that we, as consumers, can take to ensure we’re making healthy choices, particularly in beauty? (Besides buying S.W. Basics… duh). 


I have a great guide on my site called “Toxic 10” that lists the worst chemicals you may find in your beauty products. It’s an easy way to label-check before you buy.


Lastly, we’re totally digging I Love Boobies! because, really, boobies are awesome. Can you touch on this initiative and why it’s so critical that we open up the dialogue on breasts and breast health? 

LOVE YOUR BOOBIES! Seriously. I lived in NY for a while, and I was inspired by seeing “I Love NY” everywhere. I thought that was a simple and wonderful way to get the message out to teens. We want to inspire behavioral change with will ultimately create attitude change around the way you think and feel about breast cancer by making it more mainstream.


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