*In 2017, Black model Slick Woods, born Simone Thompson, was one of the most recognizable faces of superstar singer Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty line. Noted for her bald head, full lips and gapped teeth, Woods had taken modeling to new levels.
In 2019, Woods’ dentist noticed something suspicious during her routine dental appointment. After taking samples to be tested, several days later Woods received news that she had stage 3 melanoma.
“I just dropped the phone. I couldn’t even cry,” Woods said in a phone interview with CNN Style. “It was so scary. The first thing I said to my doctor was at least I’m bald already.”
Woods ultimately shared the news with her almost one million followers on Instagram that she was undergoing chemotherapy. She feels blessed by the support that she has received from those who follow her. Such a following is a long way from her life before fame.
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Woods, now 24, was discovered at 19 by British model Ash Stymest. It was at a point in her life when she was homeless and sleeping in a bus shelter. Stymest arranged for her to meet his agent. Woods’ life changed, as she began appearing on the pages of Purple, i-D, and Vogue magazines. She also walked international runways for Fendi, Marc Jacobs and Jeremy Scott.
While success was now prevalent in her life, Woods became disenchanted with modeling, even before her current health challenges. She has now put her fashion career on hold as she takes on the challenges of her health. She is also raising her young son. Woods has vowed to use the money that she has earned to help others. One place of high focus in her quest to help others is providing support to the homeless on Skid Row in downtown Los Angeles, the nation’s largest concentration of homeless people.
“Beauty is about who you are — it’s what we do with our time — giving what you don’t even have,” Woods said. “I’m already up here. The least I can do is help somebody.”
In partnership with her best friend and business partner, Tai Savet, the two have been providing resources like food, money and shelter to people in need. They are also developing a TV show.
Woods says that she is content and anxious to see where life takes her.
“I don’t really believe in goals because you kind of limit yourself when you set them,” she said. “I want to do things that feel right with me and are part of my journey.”