by Elizabeth Hotaling
Brita Nowak put the semi into first gear and then slowly let out the clutch. The rig moved forward. She had never felt anything like it. “It’s better than sex,” she laughed and she knew she wanted to do this forever and ever and ever.
After 10 years in Hollywood, her gig working on the set of Star Trek Voyager was over when the series came to an end. Brita, a German native, found herself at a crossroads. She was only 34, but in Hollywood in 2001, job prospects in the movie industry at that age, were slim. Instead, she decided to try something she had always thought she wanted to do; become a truck driver.
“People declared me for crazy (for wanting to become a truck driver), but you know what? They declared me for crazy when I said, in Germany, I’m going to go to the United States. I’m going to meet Paul Stanley!” the guitarist and co-lead singer of the hard-rock band Kiss. Paul Stanley was the reason Brita moved to the United States in her early 20s. Hollywood and now truck driving has kept her here.
In 2016, Brita Nowak was chosen as Most Beautiful Truck Driver by Overdrive Magazine. When she learned of the award she also found out she had breast cancer. Needing full range of motion to drive her truck, she chose Aesthetic Flat Closure (AFC) after a double mastectomy. For the past 15 years, Brita has been changing perceptions around truck driving. She loves seeing young girls’ faces light up when they realize the driver of the big rig next to them on the highway, is a woman. Brita knew she was breaking stereotypes when she decided to become a truck driver. And in our breast-obsessed society, Brita knew that choosing to go flat would be yet another way she would change perceptions around society’s outdated norms.
“I want to tell women who have freshly come out of surgery and are all scared about going outside without foobs (fake boobs) – I felt the same way. The first time I went out in public, I thought everybody was looking at me. I felt like a freak. I had my arms crossed over my chest. I stood crooked and I had really big clothes on. That is so far behind me. I don’t give a rat’s ass anymore!” she chuckles.
Brita learned of the Stand Tall AFC campaign during a Flat Retreat Community meetup in Las Vegas. She fell in love with the campaigns’ mission to de-stigmatize the loss of breasts to cancer, and she wanted to be a part of spreading the word.
“Why don’t I wrap my trailer?” she thought. In a few short months, Brita’s 53’ trailer was wrapped on both sides with the Stand Tall AFC logo – images of women with AFC scars on their chests under the words Aesthetic Flat Closure. The back doors of the trailer are emboldened with Wendy Sage, the uni-boob cancer survivor from tv’s hit show, The Simpsons. Brita is taking flat to every corner of the U.S.A. with her mobile advocacy billboard.
“Hey, I like your trailer!” Brita hears daily from people on the road. “Do you know what it’s about?” she asks as she touches her chest, drawing their attention to its flatness. In a memorable conversation, a man told Brita that his wife was going through breast cancer. She had recently had a double mastectomy.
“Oh! She’s like me!” Brita assumed incorrectly. The man told her that his wife was in the process of rebuilding breasts. “I support her no matter what she decides to do. However, if it was up to me, I wouldn’t want her to go through with it. I would want her to stay flat.”
In today’s society, we are too often fixated on the importance of breasts. “It’s a bunch of bullshit!” Brita exclaims. It’s her hope that her moving billboard will help to bring awareness to and normalize AFC. More importantly, Brita wants to change the outdated cultural views on breasts and breast cancer treatments.
On a side note, Brita did meet her rock star crush, Paul Stanley. Her infatuation with the rock star may have faded, but her love for rock music never has. To this day, Brita loves to go on Kiss Cruises where she can party like a rock star with all her favorite musicians!