From the HEART: Camilla Franks

When the National Breast Cancer Foundation announced in 2020 that it was aiming for zero breast cancer deaths by 2030, fashion-designer superstar, Camilla Franks, a breast cancer survivor and NBCF ambassador, wrote a moving letter to her future self.

Dear Milla,

Twelve years since you sat in that doctor’s office and felt the world around you come crashing down. Twelve years since you faced an uncertain part of my daughter and partner’s future. Twelve years since you shaved away my identity. Twelve years since you felt the raw grip of chemo and the terror of the unknown. Twelve years since your life walked a new path. Twelve years since you took back control of something beyond your own power. Twelve years since you survived. I write to you as a woman who is proud, loved, relieved, grateful – but above all, alive. Today marks the year 2030. Over many years, the National Breast Cancer Foundation has invested in emerging areas of research to eliminate breast cancer deaths. It is now a world without breast cancer.

A world without women’s suffering. A world without loss and sadness. A world in which our mothers, daughters, sisters and girlfriends live without fear. Twelve years ago, you were diagnosed with a rare form of breast cancer; after six months of what your doctors called the “bazooka” of intense chemotherapy, you braved a double mastectomy and reconstruction. Your girls, who served you so fabulously, were laid to rest. Your new twins, Margarita and Tressara, took on the new front. And baby, haven’t they bloomed ever so gloriously… they even made national TV. While humour was always your strongest bedside manner, it was an unspeakably difficult and trying time both mentally and physically – the storm wasn’t over just yet and this next chapter would be the most painful. Your greatest role yet was the simple title of Mum. You earned this name in 2018 when Luna Gypsy Jones joined you earth side, just three months before you were diagnosed with BRCA1… It was short-lived bliss, so brutally ripped away with no warning or explanation. You took on a new title of Mum Fighting Breast Cancer. As a result of the BRCA1, this also meant the big O came into play. Not that one, your ovaries. Yep, they would need to go too. A big full stop.

You were robbed of things, you will never know again… f*#% you, cancer. You’ve always been a shining poster child of learning things the hard way, and cancer was no different.

In 2018, upon your diagnosis, you cried endless tears of fear, despair, confusion and helplessness. Weeks passed after your diagnosis, a dark and confusing blur came before you until you became confident in a treatment plan. Never-ending doctor and specialist appointments, you dug so deep for answers while navigating fear and terror. Cancer became a full-time job. You sought answers, opinions and advice and more often than not – each opinion conflicting the last.

You knew that in stillness you would find the answers right for this body and together with your medical team you drew up the battle lines and launched heavy artillery of science and medicine to save your body, your temple. You took back control. You became the CEO of your body. And baby, you’re here to tell the story. Back in 2020, we still lost eight women to breast cancer every day. That was eight too many. You now stand proudly alongside sisters who fearlessly entered the same battlefield you did – and for the sisters who joined other universes in the process; our heart is with you always. If our journey has taught us anything, it is that there is reward in relentless tenacity and never saying never. You’ve found a fountain of empowerment of sharing your story and encouraging anyone who will listen to never settle on first guidance. With every fibre of my being, I write this letter with the knowledge that we’ve reached zero deaths from breast cancer. No victims, no deaths – just no breast cancer at all. That’s my kind of world, and it means the world
for me to be here.

Love Milla x



In 2023, Camilla – the woman and the brand – is going from strength to strength. Her distinctive, high-end resort-wear was shown off to the world by Jennifer Coolidge (Tanya McQuoid) in both seasons of the outrageously fabulous TV series The White Lotus; her intricate patterns now feature on Camilla swimwear, accessories, menswear, kids’ clothes and homewares collections; there are 20 dedicated Camilla shops in Australia and two in the US; and her designs sell in 55 countries* around the world.

Camilla burst onto the fashion scene in 2004, showing her first collection of exquisitely embellished kaftans and kimonos at Australian Fashion Week. At just 25, she was a one-woman powerhouse, running every part of the business from her Bondi store, but it wasn’t long before her designs and inclusive approach – her models were far from the skeletal type beloved of traditional designers – took her in front of a national and then global audience.

Travel has always inspired Camilla’s limited-edition collections and post-covid she was thrilled to return to her beloved Italy. “Travel turns you into a storyteller – and storytelling is at the heart of everything I do,” she says.

It is now five years since Camilla was diagnosed with a rare, aggressive form of breast cancer, a few weeks after her daughter Luna was born. She underwent six months of intense chemotherapy, a preventative double mastectomy, breast reconstruction and the removal of her fallopian tubes, much of which she shared with her 480,000-plus Instagram followers.

“I’m so grateful to be an ambassador for the National Breast Cancer Foundation, helping to lend a hand and give a voice to such an incredible organisation,” she said. “The NBCF provides such crucial research that is going tohelp end breast cancer once and for all.”

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