WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- A 24-year-old with Moebius disorder has signed an international modeling contract.
- The girl’s disorder prevents her from smiling.
- She has undergone surgery, but it did not change anything.
Tayla Clement may be known as the “girl who can’t smile,” yet she radiates happiness.
The 24-year-old New Zealander was born with Moebius disorder, a rare illness that prevents her from moving her brows or top lip.
She is, however, living her “best life” after just obtaining an international modeling contract that would allow her to inspire others and tell her story as one of the few people worldwide with this rare ailment.
The condition, which affects approximately one in every four million people, is a congenital disorder in which the facial nerves are undeveloped. In Clement’s case, her upper lips don’t move, which means she can’t smile, her brows also don’t move, and her eyes don’t track from left to right. It has given her the nickname ‘the girl who can’t smile,'” according to ABC News.
As a result, growing up became difficult for Clement, who was brutally bullied as a child.
“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.”
Clement underwent surgery at the age of 12 to improve her smile by transferring tissue from her thigh to the corners of her lips. However, after a year of recovery, physicians were unable to rouse the nerves in her face, and nothing improved, she told 7 News in Australia. She thought the surgery would solve all her issues, but it didn’t.
Clement was bullied throughout her school years, and by the age of 17, she was having up to ten seizures a day, which physicians believed were dissociative seizures caused by extreme traumatic stress.
After graduating, Clement was able to build self-confidence, thanks in part to the gym and mediation. And now, as a model with Zebedee Talent, she’ll have the chance to inspire others.
Clement says it lights her up to be able to help and empower others. She also wishes to be a role model for others, something she lacked as a child.
She said she felt really worthless and not accepted because she didn’t see someone like her in the movies or magazines. Now, “to be so openly accepted and wanted, it just felt so amazing.”
She added, “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.”