Woman Who Can’t Smile Due to Rare Disorder Signs Modeling Contract
Tayla Clement hopes to be a role model for those out there who feel judged based on their appearance.
The 24-year-old dubs herself "The Girl Who Can't Smile," according to her Instagram, but now she is set to take over the modeling world.
Clement has just signed an international modeling contract with Zebedee Talent.
The model was born with a rare condition called moebius disorder — a congenital condition where the facial nerves are underdeveloped.
Clement told ABC News that the disorder causes her eyebrows to not move. Her "eyes don't track from left to right" and her "upper lip doesn't move," which makes her unable to smile.
Clement explained that growing up she was bullied due to her condition.
"People would bring plastic bags to school and tell me to put them over my head because I was so ugly they didn't want to see me, and I didn't deserve to be seen," she shared. "I think when you grow up being told that you're ugly and you're worthless you believe it because you don't know anything else."
At 12 years old she underwent surgery to help her smile. The procedure removed tissue from her thigh and placed it at the corners of her mouth.
Unfortunately, after 12 months of recovery, nothing changed. "I thought the surgery would solve all my issues because I was bullied so much. But it didn't," she told Australia's 7 News.
After experiencing years of PTSD, Clement found self-confidence by hitting the gym and meditating.
Now, she is overjoyed to be able to inspire a new generation as a model.
"I love being able to help others and empower others," she told ABC News. "It lights me up so much, and if I could smile it's like the biggest smile on my face when I talk about it because it truly lights me up so much."
Clement continued: "I had no one to see in movies or in the media or on the front of magazines, and so I felt really worthless and not accepted because I didn't see myself anywhere. It makes me kind of emotional, but I'm just so glad that it was me that went through everything, because I get to inspire people and help people — it just makes me so happy."