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Shae McCruden

Today’s Boob Champion is Shae, art student and Uni Boob Team leader. We spoke to her about student campaigning, curating a boob-based exhibition and opening her own Etsy shop.

Hi Shae! Tell us a little bit about yourself

I’m a second year student studying Contemporary Art Practice at Gray’s School of Art in Aberdeen, and have always had a passion for creating. Whether it’s producing digital art, journalling or making short videos/shooting photos, the cogs in my mind are constantly working out what to make next! In order to marry my studies and my role as Uni Boob Team (UBT) Leader, I wanted to set myself and my team challenges, while also sparking interest from fellow students at Gray’s to help us form the creative collective Miiilk It! We set up an Etsy page selling boob themed goodies in aid of CoppaFeel! (tote bags, notebooks and jewellery) and our first batch of bags raked in over £120 for the charity! Also, next month, myself and my (now) boob obsessed course-mates are putting on an exhibition titled ‘Boobs On Show.’ The exhibition will run for five days to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of breast cancer, and to encourage people to get into the regular habit of checking. We’re also producing an exclusive collaborative zine which will be available to purchase at the show, featuring boob themed works from the artists, with proceeds going to CoppaFeel!

Why did you get involved with CoppaFeel!?

I wanted to work with CoppaFeel! because I love the nature of the charity; using a lighthearted, modern and passionate tone in relation to such a crucial message is so admirable. The emphasis placed on creativity, glitter and fearlessness is also really empowering and I just knew I had to be part of it all. Also, my uni didn’t have a UBT prior to me taking on the role, and I really wanted to try and establish a boob-chatting presence on campus.

You’re a Uni Boob Team leader – tell us a little bit more about what that involve?

Being a Uni Boob Team Leader involves a lot of conversations. Sometimes with people who initially don’t want to talk to you because you have a giant boob strapped to your chest. But as they listen, and realise what you’re saying is actually quite important and educational, they eagerly slap on a Team Boobs sticker! It also requires a lot of passion for the message you’re trying to get out there, the ability to organise amazing events to keep your fellow students on their toes, and team work! Oh – and the ability to write good Insta captions… I’m still working on that one!

Do you think there’s still a need to raise awareness about breast cancer? Why?

Of course! I think there’s always going to be a need, especially amongst young people. From my experience, a lot of people know they should be checking, but aren’t sure exactly how to do it or what to  be aware of – and that’s when we come in. It’s such a simple thing to add into your routine, you can literally check your boobs or pecs in the shower and it takes two minutes. (Plus you’re already topless so there’s really no excuse!) I also think we need to keep campaigning for greater awareness of breast cancer in men. The amount of guys I’ve approached whilst out and about with the UBT who have no idea they can even get breast cancer is crazy. So hopefully, the more people we can tell, the more people they will pass on the message to and so forth, but for now, people still need to hear it.

How has your hard work paid off?

Aside from educating heaps of people on getting to know their boobs, we’ve raised £558.98 for CoppaFeel!, which I’m so chuffed with! From bake sales to our open mic fundraiser and Miiilk It sales, it was trickier than I anticipated to gather cash at first, but my team and I just put our heads together to think of innovative ways to raise money to support CoppaFeel. Regardless, my ultimate goal was to ensure we shouted the boob-loving message as loud as possible and really hope we succeeded.

What’s been the best thing about your experience?

I loved having the opportunity to play to my strengths and incorporate a large amount of creativity into the campaign; it’s really taught me a lot about time management, event organisation and how to use my artistic skill set to promote a really important message. 

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