#Art + Culture

How Slick Woods Is Fighting Cancer With Spunk

Slick Woods

There are few in the world and far fewer in the entertainment industry who have badassery enough to match that of Slick Woods. At 24, she is already a trendsetter in more ways than one. Aside from shattering the conventions of beauty in the modelling industry, Woods also counts herself among the exclusive handful part of the ‘Instagirl’ club. And despite cancer, she is reclaiming new frontiers with every step forward.

Woods is most identifiable by her gapped front teeth, full lips and shaved head that she has modelled prominently for pop icon Rihanna’s Fenty makeup label since 2017. Despite her close association with the singer, Woods is a solo force to reckon with both within and without the world of fashion and glamour. Having ticked several big brands off her checklist, she has attracted the world’s eyes and ears to her as she redefines motherhood, Black identity, disease, gender and independence on her own terms. 

Who Is Slick Woods?

Woods, or Simone Thompson as she is originally named, is a Minnesota girl who was first discovered at the age of 19 by English model Ashley Stymest. Buzz is that singer Kanye West too had been instrumental in launching Woods’ career in the glamour industry. And when she kicked off, there has evidently been no looking back. Woods flaunts luxe names like Moschino, Calvin Klein, Marc Jacobs, Yeezy and Fendi, to name a few, on her resume.

Honoured with a membership to the digital ‘Instagirl’ legion, Woods is identified as one of those selective few celebrities whose social media following charts six figures and up. The term was first coined by Vogue in 2014 for the likes of influential models Cara Delevingne and Karlie Kloss, but has gone on to include forthcoming batches of ‘influencer’ women like the Jenners and Hadids.

At over 932K followers on Instagram, Slick Woods moves about in that crowd as much as she does beyond it.

Slick Woods

Source: Slick Woods/Instagram

In 2019, Woods disclosed she was undergoing chemotherapy through an Instagram post that said, “How I feel about chemotherapy, shout out to everyone that gotta go through it.” It was later found that the model had stage 3 melanoma (a type of skin cancer).

“The first thing I said to my doctor was at least I’m bald already,” Woods was quoted saying. The 24-year-old has categorically pronounced to her fans not to treat her “like a victim.”

Beauty is about who you are — it’s what we do with our time — giving what you don’t even have: Slick Woods

Slick Woods, A Force To Reckon With In The Industry

Woods was apparently of the belief she was infertile. Five months into her pregnancy in 2018, she realised that it was not so and she was well on her way to motherhood at the young age of 22. Woods through the remainder of her pregnancy rocked her baby bump and how! At a New York Fashion Week bash that year, she sported a blazer suit that showed off her bare top and belly, complemented by neon eye makeup.

A few days later, she gave birth to a son with partner Adonis Bosso. Interestingly, she went into labour at Rihanna’s Fenty lineup at the NYFW, walking down the ramp for a lingerie collection in all her glory, unbeknownst to her condition. She recalled later on Instagram, “This is the face of a WOMAN IN LABOR,” posing in her ramp outfit.

Her high-profile limelight and public attention haven’t stopped Woods from being vocal about the shortcomings of her industry that conforms to certain ideals of beauty. “I have always been unapologetically BLACK, which has earned me the ‘eccentric’ label in the fashion industry—a space where diversity was not really celebrated until my generation of models began to surface,” she wrote in a 2020 feature.

Since Woods is at the intersection of many identities – a Black bisexual woman, a mother, a model with a rags-to-riches story, and an independent woman living with a partner on her own terms – she is a relevant role model to look up to.

Views expressed are the author’s own. 

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