Daphne Marleen Laan was sitting in a movie theater in New York City. While waiting for the movie Puss in Boots, she used the time to chat with us. Her screen showed a smiling emoji, “I’m a big Disney fan, so I’m excited to see this one.”
Daphne grew up in the Netherlands. Her heritage is Dutch and Indonesian. When she was 8, her parents got divorced. Life became hard for her. At 13, she was sent to a government home for children. She recalled of the time, “The government housing was very diverse. I got to know a lot of different cultures and was never by myself. It felt like it was us, problem kids, against the rest of the world. But at times, it got very violent and toxic. Most kids didn’t go to school. So it was definitely hard to stay motivated.”
Despite all the hardships, Daphne Marleen Laan initially wanted to be a lawyer.
She also got into modeling at a very early age. Daphne did her first real shoot when she was 15. However, she was so insecure, so it wasn’t a great experience for her.
She started studying law and physical therapy but finally didn’t finish them. “I was not passionate enough.” The young girl switched to the fitness industry. She also found a love for traveling. Together with a friend, they backpacked to Thailand. She was excited, “I came out of a very controlled environment and I felt so free doing whatever I wanted to do and seeing where the day would take me.”
She gave modeling another try, and at that time, she found her passion.
Unfortunately, life was unfair to her. Daphne Marleen Laan was diagnosed with cancer. “I had a lump in my breast that I ignored until it became so big, I couldn’t wear my regular bras anymore. I finally decided to go to the doctor. They knew something was very wrong straight away.” Her initial reaction was to deny how bad the sickness actually was. “I thought they would just remove it, and I would be recovered within a month. Then I started my nutrition study and studied day and night as a kind of defense mechanism.”
“I had different kinds of experimental treatments since the type of tumor I had does not respond to regular treatments. One of the treatments I had was freezing the tumor. This was done under local anesthesia. It was so painful and traumatizing that I ended up in the intensive care for a week.” She got medicine that made her face swollen. But she made a decision to keep herself fit. “My current favorite workout is electrical muscle stimulation at iron body fit Chelsea in New York.”
Daphne told us, “One of my idols is Dr. Sinclair. I’m very interested in longevity and he has a lot of good advice backed up by his research. I always appreciate optimistic people.
Her health got better and better, until the day the doctor congratulated her. Daphne Marleen Laan has won the battle against her sickness. She said, “Right now, I am in the best shape of my life. I always look at the bright side.” What is her advice to cancer patients? “You should never give up. Ask for help. And don’t ignore symptoms. If I had gone to the doctor earlier, I probably would have saved myself a lot of pain.”
When Daphne Marleen Laan models for this fashion editorial Natural Supernatural, it is like her song to sing her victory over her hard times.
Photographer: Tom Marvel IG: @tommarvelphotography.
Model: Daphne Marleen Laan @daphne_marleen_.
Stylist: John Ashford @johnashfordshoes.
Makeup: Nikki Jelin @nikkij_mua.
Hair: George Grierson @geoXge.
Wardrobe, shoes and boots: Authentic by John Ashford.
Harper’s Bazaar Vietnam