A New Zealand woman born with a rare disease that prevents her from smiling has been hired by a modeling agency.
Tayla Clement, 24, will flaunt her natural “resting female dog face” to inspire others through Zebedee Talent, a “revolutionary modeling agency representing people with disabilities, visible differences, alternative looks and LGBTQIA talent.”
The Paralympian and motivational speaker shared the news on Instagram. “I’m super excited to take my goal of being the empowerment, inspiration and change I needed when I was younger to a whole new level,” she wrote.
Clement was born with a rare incurable in 4 million congenital condition called Moebius syndrome, which affects the muscles that control facial expression and eye movement.
Due to an unusual neurological disorder, Clement is unable to smile and was bullied throughout his childhood. At 12, Clement, with a frozen face, underwent “smile surgery”, in which doctors transplanted soft tissue from his thigh to his face in an attempt to restore his smile.
However, the procedure failed, leaving Clement with a swollen and bruised face.
“For 4 years after this operation I endured even more bullying, it was no longer just called ugly or disgusting, people brought plastic bags to school and told me to put them on my head because no one wanted to see me.” Clement explained himself. “I was pushed down, even ignored by teachers…all because I couldn’t smile or had no facial movement.”
She shared that her affliction and the constant bullying caused her such distress that she attempted suicide six times before she turned 18 and was officially diagnosed with severe clinical depression and anxiety with a PTSD and dissociative attacks.
Clement grew up playing sports and swimming, but quit for a while due to his mental health issues. Her call came when she was contacted by Para Athletics of New Zealand.
Clement, who has a clubfoot due to the condition, returned to the sport wholeheartedly and eventually established the No. 1 shot put at the Victoria State Championships in Melbourne in 2018, the Daily reported. Star.
The following year, she participated in the New Zealand National Championship, where she threw a distance of 8.28 meters, shattering the F43 ranking world record.
She has since taken to public speaking to inspire others with facial abnormalities and shares inspirational messages with over 23,600 Instagram followers.
“I know now that I was born to stand out,” Clement told Jam Press. “It hasn’t always been easy,” she lamented. “I spent many years hating my smile, wishing I had a ‘normal’ smile, wishing I didn’t exist because it seemed easier than being alive, but miraculously I’m still here.”
“I hope you know that no matter what, YOU can be, do and achieve anything in this life…you are here for a reason, don’t crush your dreams, make them come true,” emphasized Clement.