Ray Asuncion is originally from Honolulu, Hawaii. She moved to Los Angeles, California, 12 years ago and is now a breast cancer victor for the past 9 years. Ray has taken aerial trapeze classes with Nathalie Gaulthier of Le Studio as her creative form of physical therapy to help her lead a proactively healthy life as a survivor. It was there that she stumbled upon her true love of make-up art with the circus. Ray had been working in the cosmetic industry as a make-up artist for 15 years prior to her life with the circus at Le Studio in Culver City, California. She has since become a Make-Up Designer/Producer with the professional children’s circus troupe Le Petit Cirque. Ray was the first person in her family to have breast cancer and hopes to be the last.
”I do not wish to only be remembered as the first person in my family’s history to have been diagnosed with breast cancer but would rather be remembered for how I rose above it by following my creative bliss toward peace, love, and happiness.”
Circus Girl Magazine is honored to interview and recognize this brave & talented Circus Girl.
RA: All I could think about was staying alive and taking care of myself. Nothing else. I just wanted to get through with it as fast as I could.
CGM: Being the first in your family to be diagnosed with breast cancer, what was your family’s reaction to the news?
RA: I made the difficult decision to face breast cancer alone here on the mainland because I was lucky enough to have caught my diagnosis in its initial stages. Only once my margins were free and clear did I mention anything to my family who live in Hawaii. I had just moved to LA from Oahu at the time and is how I was able to conceal my truth about my health from them. The reason I had chosen to do that is because we had just lost my stepmother to pancreatic cancer a year before I found the lump on my right breast. I refused to put them through cancer again because it was too soon. We hadn’t yet healed from my stepmother’s passing. My family and I were all still in mourning when I learned I had breast cancer. Once I was given the clear from my doctor I flew home to Honolulu to heal and told my family after the fact. My father most especially was in disbelief, relieved, grateful and supportive once he knew that I was in good health.
CGM: Overall, how has breast cancer affected your life?
RA: I see life in a whole new light. It has helped me authentically arrive in my moment in time as an artist. Following my creative bliss toward peace, love and happiness has helped me to rediscover my passion for dance, theater & art and has put me onto the path that I am living now.
CGM: What was your recovery like?
RA: It was tough for me at the beginning because I was alone and had no support system which is why I flew home to be with my family to heal. I was able to rise above my state of shock and depression once I surrounded myself with the people I loved and began becoming physically active again by taking yoga classes to gently ease myself back into exercising.
RA: Working at Le Petit Cirque/Le Studio’s Production Company is my magical creative outlet. It is my make-up artist dream come true job to be their Make-Up Producer/Designer; quite honestly. I had been working in the cosmetic industry for over a decade as a make-up artist before I stumbled upon my true love of make-up art here with Nathalie Gaulthier’s circus. I get to learn, experiment and create new designs with each of her shows which inspires me. I came to Le Petit Cirque 3 years ago initially to take aerial trapeze as my unique creative form of physical therapy and rehabilitation to help me lead a proactive healthy life as a survivor. Never realizing that this unique opportunity in terms of exercise would lead me to a brand new door in terms of a trade for my make-up career. Life for me now as a make-up artist is very thrilling, fulfilling, adventurous and exciting!
CGM: What would you like to tell our readers who may be going through what you went through?
RA: That you are not alone. No matter how bad things may seem it is going to be alright. No matter what. You just never know what great things may arise in the face of adversity. Follow your creative bliss toward peace, love and happiness. ■
Check out some of Ray’s make-up designs for Le Petit Cirque!