Krysta Rodriguez is a singer and actress, who you may know from her roles in Netflix's new zombie comedy Daybreak, Smash, Younger, and Spring Awakening. In the fall of 2014, Rodriguez was diagnosed with breast cancer. In 2015, she started the website ChemoCouture to detail her chemotherapy journey and provide various fashion, beauty, and wellness tips that she employed during her battle.
I feel most powerful when…
I’m taking back my power, and being fearless about asking for what I want. I’m a breast cancer survivor. And when you first hear news of your diagnosis, the first thought is: How am I going to do this? But also what am I going to look like at 30-years-old, having a double mastectomy, and losing my hair?
I was concerned about how I would look — but also immediately felt guilty for worrying about that. But I had a doctor tell me early on: Don’t let anyone make you feel bad about this. With advances in science and how young I was, it was likely that I’d live. So I decided to be fearless about asking for what I wanted and getting the best aesthetic result. It was: I know I’m going to see myself in the mirror without hair, but if i can put on a purple wig, maybe I'll have more fun. I didn’t care what my disease said. My cancer was challenging what I originally thought was beautiful, But I took back the power of the evil thing.
What does power mean to you?
It means owning who you are and harnessing the power from that little area in your stomach. I believe there’s this area around your belly button and a little bit below where all your power comes from. It’s from where you breathe the deepest, and where you yell the loudest. It’s the center of your power.
I think you have to believe that you deserve to be heard. No one else can tell your story — what you have to offer is unique. Your power comes right from your gut, and gives you the courage to stand up and say what you need to say.
What do you do when you feel powerless?
I had a period in my life where I was powerless in a lot of ways. But I started a blog and talked about the little things that got me through and also what gets taken away from you when you have breast cancer. It was called ChemoCouture, and I talked about my journey during chemotherapy. Sometimes it would just be about all the wigs I was buying. I wanted to have fun, be funny and irreverent. I like to laugh and take things that are bad and make them funny or interesting.
What's your power anthem?
Who's your power icon?
There are so many women in my industry taking control of their stuitations. Tina Fey or Amy Poehler. Julia Louis-Dreyfus.
What do you wear when you want to feel powerful?
Although I love getting dressed up and putting on ridiculous high heels, sometimes I feel most powerful when I’m wearing shoes I can walk in. It changes my posture. It helps me live my life in a more limber way. When I arrive at a place, I feel more accomplished.
Responses have been edited and condensed for clarity.