The modeling business is inherently superficial — it’s an industry based on looks, and looks alone. But for every person who’s ever been disheartened by a lack of representation on runways and in magazines, there have been a handful of pioneers who’ve put themselves out on the front lines to shatter the status quo, and change the definition of what it means to “look like a model.” For Sara Geurts, a 26-year-old model with a rare skin disorder, that means taking the parts of herself that she once regarded as an “ugly thing” and turning them into an asset.
When Geurts was 10 years old she was diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS), a genetic condition that causes severe joint pain and brittle bones, and slows down collagen production to the point that skin becomes loose and extremely fragile, with a sagging or wrinkled appearance. “I wasn’t bullied and my family and friends were very supportive, but I hated my skin,” she told The Sun of growing up with EDS.
But after going through a rough breakup when she was 22, an amazing support system encouraged Geurts to start looking at her body in a new — much kinder — light. Now, she’s the most confident she’s ever been: “Just the uniqueness and the rarity, the way the lines form and the art that is made from the patterns that are there,” she said. “It’s amazing.”
With her growing fan base and a move to Los Angeles to pursue her modeling career in the cards, Geurts is on the brink of something big. She told PopSugar that she counts beautiful, unconventional faces like Winnie Harlow, Shaun D. Ross, and Melanie Gaydos as inspiration, and that she sees a long future of getting her story out and raising awareness ahead of her. “That would probably be my venture for the rest of my life,” she said.