"I would purposely brush my teeth, but I wouldn't take a second to look," she told ABC News. "I didn't want to spend time on that because in my mind I knew it wasn't going to be pretty. It's hard enough to feel it, let alone see it."
But eventually Rye did look. And it wasn't so bad, she said. It's inspired her to do a special photo shoot while battling cancer and share it on Facebook to inspire other "pink ladies," as she called them, to love themselves.
"When I first started to lose my hair and my eyebrows and eyelashes, I thought, 'This situation is so sick with irony because of my job.' I would say it jokingly to people but I was really crying on the inside," the Seattle resident admitted. "And I think that was the first step on my journey."
Rye, 41, who has been a professional model for 20 years, said she initially cried when she saw herself during treatment because she saw "someone else in the mirror."
"When I dream, I still (picture myself) with hair, eyebrows and eyelashes. I still dream how I used to look like. And when I looked in the mirror I couldn't deny it anymore," she explained.