Slick Woods is undergoing chemotherapy. The 23-year-old supermodel told the The Shade Room that she has been diagnosed with stage-three melanoma, and that the illness is spreading. The website added that Woods says “she’s currently fighting for her life.”
On Instagram, Woods addressed the news with her trademark sense of humor. She posted a photo with friends in which her head is thrown back, tongue out, with the caption “How I feel about chemotherapy, shout out to everyone that gotta go through it #atleastimalreadybald.”
There’s been a public outpouring of support. “You are already on the other side of this healthy and strong like it never happened. I adore you🙌🏾🙏🏾💋💋💋,” Taraji P. Henson commented. Lala Anthony added “love u sis ❤️.” “Love you Queen,” wrote Joey Bada$$. Woods’ colleagues in the fashion industry, like designer Heron Preston and model Jillian Mercado have also commented with well-wishes.
But Woods, who famously went into labor right after modeling in Rihanna’s first Savage x Fenty show, isn’t interested in being an object of pity. She’s faced a number of immensely difficult challenges in her life–her mother was imprisoned when she was just four years old, and her childhood was marked by periods of homelessness–and tends to speak about her experiences with humor and verve. She is not treating her diagnosis any differently.
On Instagram, Woods told fans to “stop treating me like a victim.” And when captioning a glamorous red carpet photo, she reiterated the sentiment. “Modern day Gia without the drugs #justcrazy,” she wrote, referencing the late, legendary supermodel Gia Carangi, who died of AIDS-related complications at the age of 26. “‘Where does everyone go when they have to go’ I thought I told y’all I’m not no victim.”