Over twenty five years in show business, Jan Ping has worked on some of the most famous faces in the world. The most memorable? That’s tough, Jan says. There was Sean Connery, so charming, he took my breath away.” Howard Stern – believe it or not – is “very, very nice.” She adored Betty White: “She’s so colorful, delightful, and silly. When I left her I said, ‘Is there any way I can come live with you?'”
But Ping, a former actress and print model, says it took breast cancer to deeply understand the meaning of beauty. That experience, which she describes as “endlessly profound” has changed her life forever.
“The emphasis on what we physically look like is so huge,” she reflects. “Beauty is what I did for a living. I had defined myself by what I do, and what I look like. Having that all stripped away was a very empowering experience.”
“You realize at the end of it that it’s not your lashes, not your hair, not your makeup, not your breasts that make you beautiful – it’s who you are inside. It’s a wonderful place to get to. It’s a blessing.”
Jan enjoys teaching cancer patients both privately and in classes the skills to keep their skin hydrated; how to draw in brows and lashes when theirs fall out; how to compensate with makeup for the greenish cast caused by chemotherapy; how to cover radiation tattoos and surgical scars.
But it’s the camaraderie and hope that are the real gift, for Jan and for the women in her classes. “At the beginning when I introduce myself and tell them I’ve been in the entertainment biz for twenty plus years, they get excited. But then, when I tell them I’m also a breast cancer survivor, the whole energy in the room changes – that’s a REALLY big deal. These women are fighting for their lives.”
She now continues to work in television and currently works with Dr. Phil and the show The Doctors. She also enjoys speaking at conferences discussing the emotional effects cancer treatment can have on our self image as well as keynote speaking.