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Woman Who Sheds Skin Every Two Weeks Becomes Probably The First Model Who Has This Condition
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People3 years ago

Woman Who Sheds Skin Every Two Weeks Becomes Probably The First Model Who Has This Condition

“You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them,” American poet Maya Angelou said. And Jeyza Gary is a living representation of these beautiful words. She was born with a rare condition that causes her skin to shed about every two weeks but has been overcoming it every day of her life. Two years ago, Jeyza even became a photo model and has already been featured in Vogue Italia.

More info: Instagram

Image credits: Jeyza Gary

Image credits: Jeyza Gary

“I was born with … lamellar ichthyosis,” Jeyza told Refinery29. “It’s a rare skin condition, it only affects about one in 100,000 people, and stems from my parents having an abnormal chromosome. At birth, I had a collodion membrane that kind of looked like slick Saran wrap. My face and skin were very tight, and I was super shiny. They didn’t know what was wrong with me at first, so I stayed in the hospital for weeks under a heat lamp in the NICU. When I was a few months old, my grandma took me to her family doctor who referred me to someone at Duke University who finally diagnosed me.”

Image credits: Jeyza Gary

 

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I feel like a cover girl in this skin. So lucky I don’t have to take it off at night.🦋#wespeakny

A post shared by Jeyźa (@lyricallydiverse) on

“I first realized I was different when I was old enough to see how my family was very protective over me. We’d go out and people would stare. I remember it bothering my mom. She would say, “It’s not polite to stare. Feel free to ask, but don’t stare.” Sometimes she told the parents, too, because the children only do what they learn from their parents.”

Image credits: Jeyza Gary

Image credits: Jeyza Gary

On the first day of school, Jeyza’s mom would come in to educate the children and the teachers about her skin disease. “She would make me stand beside her in the front of the class with my two Afro puffs and then she would say, ‘This is my daughter, Jeyza, and she has a skin condition. How many of you have seen a lizard or a snake? Jeyza’s dry skin is like that. Every 10 to 12 days, it sheds. It’s not contagious. She is just like everyone else.'”

She was not only teaching others but her daughter as well. “Hearing that recited over and over again at the beginning of school year reaffirmed that I was just like everyone else. My mom never made me feel like I was separate. If I was peeling on my forehead, she would tie a bandana on my head and I would go to school. If my brother wore shorts, I wore shorts.”

Image credits: Jeyza Gary

Image credits: Jeyza Gary

“My mom was my biggest advocate before I knew how to advocate for myself. Although I had extensive doctor’s notes that explained my rare disease, the teachers wouldn’t care to read them. There were certain accommodations that I would have to ask for. I don’t sweat, so I can’t be outside when it’s too hot. I needed to have an umbrella, water, and Vaseline or Aquaphor on me at all times. Growing up, I didn’t go outside and play a lot because my skin is like an extra layer and it constricts me and keeps me from releasing heat.”

Image credits: Jeyza Gary

Image credits: Jeyza Gary

“When I was in high school, I definitely wore a lot of makeup. I used it as a way to fit in and cover the skin problems that made me stand out. I would fill in my eyebrows because I don’t have any. I’d wear eyeshadow and mascara and something on my lips. I didn’t know it was OK not to completely fit in.”

“One day I didn’t wear anything, and I was like, ‘Who is this person?’ I started feeling like I needed makeup, so I stopped. My skin is art enough. There are moments when my skin is super bright and orange and light brown. Then there are moments when I’m just as chocolate as I want to be. I love them both equally. I take pride in my natural beauty. I take pride in being two different shades of brown at the same time. I’m giving you a double dose of melanin.”

Image credits: Jeyza Gary

Image credits: www.instagram.com

Her senior year in high school, Jeyza’s classmate wrote in her yearbook: “Dear Jeyza, I am going to miss you so much. You always find a way to make a smile. I wish the best for you truly…P.S. You need to start a modeling career.” It really encouraged her. “I took some headshots, and I submitted them to agencies before I went to college,” the woman said. “I remember calling a particular agency and checking in. Their words were, ‘If you haven’t heard anything back, that’s your answer.'”

Image credits: Jeyza Gary

“Finally, I got an email last September from We Speak Model Management inviting me to come to New York, but I had no way to go because we were in the middle of a huge hurricane in North Carolina. I was distraught at first. I thought, “This is my chance.” But then I centered myself and said, “If this is what God wants for you, it could be today or 10 years from now, so keep doing what you are going to do.” Then, I got a DM from the agency again in April, and I was signed by early May. Everything was aligning.”

Image credits: Jeyza Gary

“On my first trip to New York, I did a few shots for my portfolio and went on a couple of go-sees. I walked into my first casting with a yellow shirt, overall bell-bottoms, and high-top sneakers, and I did feel a little different. There were people that looked like they were models for agencies, but at the end of the day, I am too. I have to focus on positive self-talk. I don’t have to compare myself to anyone else.”

After the trip, Jeyza posted one of the pictures to her Instagram, and one woman reached out to her. “She said, ‘Your pictures give me goosebumps. I have lamellar ichthyosis, but I don’t have the courage to wear shorts. You give me the courage to do something I’ve never done.’ It’s not about me. It’s about inclusivity and allowing other people to see me and be encouraged.”

“I want to be the best. I want to be in Vogue. I want to be sought out by everybody that turned me down. There was never a person I could idolize growing up. It was my family instilling in me that I am good enough and there is nothing wrong with me. I want to be that for other people who don’t see it in themselves.”

People have fallen in love with Jeyza and found strength in her incredible story

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Hey pandas, what do you think?
Stella Rose
Community Member
3 years ago

i love seeing unconventional models! as somebody with a noticeable abnormality (cleft lip) it makes my day to see somebody not considered "normal" by society showing themselves off to the world! she's a beautiful woman and i wish her the best of luck in her modeling career :)

An Opinion
Community Member
3 years ago

I'm sick of it....because you know they're only using these people to gain attention to they're product

Load More Replies...
Elizabeth Macharia
Community Member
3 years ago

Standing ovation for her mum for teaching her to love herself .

M O'Connell
Community Member
3 years ago

I really think more people should do the same thing! Kids can be jerks regarding things they don't understand. Active;y educating them can set them on the right path.

Load More Replies...
Pavle Jankovic
Community Member
3 years ago

She is truly beautiful. She found her inner beauty and she's glowing. I liked this story. Very encouraging.

Load More Comments
Stella Rose
Community Member
3 years ago

i love seeing unconventional models! as somebody with a noticeable abnormality (cleft lip) it makes my day to see somebody not considered "normal" by society showing themselves off to the world! she's a beautiful woman and i wish her the best of luck in her modeling career :)

An Opinion
Community Member
3 years ago

I'm sick of it....because you know they're only using these people to gain attention to they're product

Load More Replies...
Elizabeth Macharia
Community Member
3 years ago

Standing ovation for her mum for teaching her to love herself .

M O'Connell
Community Member
3 years ago

I really think more people should do the same thing! Kids can be jerks regarding things they don't understand. Active;y educating them can set them on the right path.

Load More Replies...
Pavle Jankovic
Community Member
3 years ago

She is truly beautiful. She found her inner beauty and she's glowing. I liked this story. Very encouraging.

Load More Comments
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