Monika Allen cofounded Glam Runner, which makes tutus for runners. When Self emailed and asked for photos of women running in the floofy skirts, she happily sent a photo of herself from the L.A. marathon. She didn't expect to appear on the magazine's "BS Meter" as the poster child for the terrible infiltration of tulle into running.
As it turns out, she was wearing the goofy outfit partly to cheer herself up. Because she was running a marathon with fucking brain cancer.
According to NBC 7, the photo ran on the magazine's "B.S. Meter," with the following text:
"A racing tutu epidemic has struck NYC's Central Park, and it's all because people think these froufrou skirts make you run faster," the caption reads. "Now, if you told us they made people run from you faster, maybe we would believe it."
Allen was in the middle of chemotherapy when the photo was taken, and she and her friend wore the outfits (complete with Superman and Wonder Woman t-shirts) partly as a confidence-boosting measure: "The reason we were wearing those outfits is because this was my first marathon running with brain cancer," she told NBC 7. Uh, whoops. Also, Glam Runner is a nonprofit and sells the skirts to raise money for "exercise and confidence-building programs for young girls." Uh, double whoops.
"Had I known how the picture was going to be used, I wouldn't have sent it," she told NBC 7.
Self's Facebook page is now the site of a pile-on, probably because Monika Allen is the type of person you'd expect to get a big, glowing feature in the magazine, rather than appearing as the butt of mockery. The editors must be kicking themselves—why didn't they think to ask about the backstory, especially when her friend in the picture is clearly wearing a sign that says, "Die, Tumor, Die"? The editor in chief has already apologizing abjectly to USA Today:
"I am personally mortified," Self Editor in Chief Lucy Danziger told USA TODAY. "I had no idea that Monika had been through cancer. It was an error. It was a stupid mistake. We shouldn't have run the item."
Bet Glam Runners will be seeing a big, fat donation in its near future.
I'll cop to being pretty iffy on tutus in the abstract. But if you're running a marathon—WITH CANCER—you can pretty much wear whatever you want. Crop tops, tutus, loafers decorated with poop emoji. Do you!
Screencap via NBC7.