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1. Diandra's Childhood
Diandra grew up as one of five children and realized that she had albinism when she was nine. Her younger brother also had albinism, but Diandra often felt out of place.
2. The Challenges Of Being Different
Growing up, other children's parents would ask Diandra's mother if Diandra was adopted. Diandra also had to contend with adults who stared and laughed at her and her brother.
3. Finding Confidence
Diandra explained, "It is not easy being a person with albinism because of the lack of understanding of what the condition is, even in the modelling industry where I have been working for the past few years. Over the years, I have found my confidence, as a person with albinism, as just a woman, so that sort of thing does not bother me anymore."
Because albinism is rare, it's not widely understood. Albinism is non-contagious, and inherited. It usually causes a person to lack melanin in their hair, skin, and eyes. People with albinism are particularly vulnerable to the sun and skin cancer.
5. The Makings Of A Model
While Diandra felt unsure of herself as a child, as she matured, people began to stop her on the streets because they were mesmerized by her beautiful appearance. Whereas her appearance had once been a source of teasing, suddenly it became a positive feature that helped her stand out from the crowd.
One day, photographer Shameer Khan stopped Diandra on the streets of New York. He told her that she was beautiful and should be a model.
7. Making History
Diandra worked on test shots for two months, and then she joined Elite Models NY. In doing so, she made history as being the first albino model to ever sign to a major modeling agency.
8. A Big Career
Since becoming a model, Diandra's fame has grown. She often appears in fashion shows and has worked for clients including MAC and Vivienne Westwood.
9. A Spokeswoman For Albinism
But Diandra also stands up for causes she believes in. She's become a spokeswoman for black people with albinism, as many of them are mistreated in East Africa.
10. Dare To Be Different
Diandra also encourages women, particularly young girls, to overcome adversity. She hopes that her modeling career shows girls that it's okay to be different.
11. Pride In Albinism
With the self-confidence that she has found, Diandra hopes to create change in the way that society treats people with albinism. "Growing up, I would have loved to have someone older around who had albinism so I could see what I was going to look like when I grew up, just to motivate me, and who could understand some of the things I was going through," she said.
12. A Younger Generation
Diandra, who is 26, gave birth to her first daughter, Rain, on New Year's Eve in 2015. She even carried her daughter on the runway at the Gypsy Sport's show during the New York Fashion Week.
13. A Bright Future
The future is bright for Diandra. In 2015 she was featured on the cover of Ebony Magazine's black model edition. She was also chosen to represent Mimi Plange's fall collection. We have a feeling there are many more big things to come for her.