We are so aware of the changes going on in the world. We are constantly immersed in the news and we can start to believe that the world is going to pieces with the bad outdoing the good. And yet, there are beautiful and inspiring things going on too, we just have to notice them.
This is what we can see when we come across a figure like Melanie Gaydos. This 28-year-old suffers from a rare condition called ectodermal dysplasia which has left her pores, teeth, nails and small bones to form abnormally. And yet, Melanie has not let this disease condition her life, and this is why she is now taking the fashion industry by storm.
Besides ectodermal dysplasia, Melania also has alopecia — a condition where the immune system attacks your hair follicles and leads to hair loss. Moreover, this model is partially blind. This was caused by a scratch from an eyelash growth as a child.
By the age of 26, Melanie had had three dental surgeries. She had her first set of dentures made on a reality TV show called The Doctors. The model wore these dentures for eight months, after that she took them off and she now refuses to wear them ever again.
“It was a long complicated process to begin with both with medical/physical reasons as well as psychologically,” Melanie told The Independent. “The main reasons are that at my age I feel more comfortable eating the way I already do (and I eat quite a lot!) and the dentures were seriously more of a hindrance to me.”
“I also found I was more comfortable with myself how I am, without any enhancements. Maybe other people think I am incomplete,” she toldThe Independent, “but that is only because they have teeth or know what that is like and cannot understand or picture what it's like without any. I don't miss having teeth because I never really had them to begin with.”
Melanie is an art graduate based in New York City. She has worked with established photographers. Her modeling career started at 27 years of age when she responded to an advert on Craigslist looking for “unique people” to pose for fashion photographers.
It was her boyfriend who convinced Melanie to try modeling. He told her to try it out “just for fun.” Despite the fact that Melanie does hate having her picture taken, the woman sure knows how to pose for one.
The response to Melanie’s pictures was significant. People online expressed surprise and shock at her striking image. “It was in both positive and negative ways. Most people were speechless,” she toldThe Independent.
“In a way, I was forcing myself to learn more about who I was and to become more comfortable with who I am at my core and natural state of being. This whole process has helped me become more confident, stronger and happier in my existence.”
Melanie’s success in the fashion industry is a testament to the new wave of faces that are changing the industry. It is also a testament to the audience who are more accepting and who want to see different forms of beauty. Still, the model does warn that things are not as smooth sailing in this industry. “There are simply not enough 'different' people fighting to be in whatever spot or position,” she explains.
Change is slow and yet, like Melanie, there are other game changers who are changing the way we should perceive beauty. Women like Mirian Njoh, Chantelle Brown-Young and more. They don’t form the majority of the models in the fashion industry but they are making a name for themselves and proving that beauty doesn’t look like that traditional one we have stored in our stereotypical files.
Besides these models with skin conditions there are also others who are making a case for curves. Models like Tess Holiday, Ashley Graham, Tara Lynn and more. These are the women who are proving that being tall and thin is not the only way to feel and look beautiful.
These faces are rare compared to the stereotypical models and this makes them the more important. Models like Melanie are the ones who are stirring up a revolution in the fashion industry. They are the ones who can inspire, give hope, and make us believe that beauty is not how the fashion industry defines it but it is how we choose to define it.