Remembering Elly Mayday: Model, Body Positive Activist & Cancer Thriver

The recent death of plus size model Elly Mayday still has many shocked and speechless.

She was not only a successful plus size model but a body positive activist who believed that size did not determine someone’s beauty. She saw the magic in ALL bodies and used her platform to empower women to embrace who they were and see their beauty.

She was diagnosed at the age of 25 with stage 3 serous carcinoma, a rare form of ovarian cancer that is usually seen in post-menopausal women. Elly remained hopeful and positive. She would go on to beat it and go into remission.

After having a hysterectomy and enduring months of grueling chemotherapy, she didn’t hide her condition but instead used her platform to bring forth more awareness about ovarian cancer, encouraging women to not ignore symptoms and in turn, changed the way women viewed themselves.

She continued to model, with a bald head and her scars visible. 

She told ABC News back in 2014:

“In the lingerie industry, it’s not something you do. It’s all about long hair and big breasts and arched backs. But it’s important to show what real women look like underneath their clothes. Most people have some issue they are dealing with.”

She was a regular face on Forever Yours Lingerie’s website and the “Curvy Canadian” as she called herself, went on to be front and center in Lane Bryant’s I’m No Angel campaign in 2015 and was one of the stars of the documentary film “A Perfect 14“, which followed the journeys of three plus-size models and how they navigated the fashion industry.

This down-to-earth beautiful human being is someone we all thought would live to be a force in this world for a long time, sharing her story and inspiring everyone. But that did not happen. The cancer came back last summer and she again shared her story via Instagram of her treatment, so candidly and authentically.

“My idea of myself and what women are supposed to feel towards their bodies has changed and evolved into even something stronger. It’s helped me. My confidence has made me where I am today. It’s gotten me through the terrible road of cancer.” (, April 2015)

Elly Mayday, real name Ashley Luther, passed away at the age of 30 on Friday, March 1, 2018 at 5:14pm.

“I don’t call myself a cancer survivor, I call myself a cancer thriver.”

We’ll miss you, Elly. So very much. And we will never forget your legacy.

To learn more about ovarian cancer, including symptoms and early detection, click here.

You can find Elly’s Instagram page here and Facebook here.

Ashley Shandrel Luther

April 15, 1988 – March 1, 2019