“Adults Are Starring at Me,” a Model with 100-lb Leg Chooses to Embrace Her Uniqueness
Mahogany Geter, a 24-year-old with dreams of becoming a model, entered the world carrying a unique burden — a 100-lb leg due to a rare condition. However, her life’s narrative shifted profoundly when an unforeseen opportunity beckoned her into the realm of modeling, setting the stage for her to weave a tapestry of body positivity that would touch countless lives.
She was born with lymphedema.
Hailing from Tennessee, Mahogany Geter was born with a 100-lb leg resulting from the rare condition lymphedema. This condition, characterized by the accumulation of fluids in soft tissues, manifested most prominently in her left leg. Geter’s saga of courage and perseverance began at birth when the diagnosis was pronounced.
The weight of her leg was not just physical but emotional, complicating her ability to walk. “It drains my energy, of course, because it’s an extra 100 pounds,” Geter acknowledged. Faced with the risk of fibrosis, her path to managing this condition was paved with physiotherapy and massages to keep the fluid buildup at bay.
Growing up was hard for her.
The early chapters of Geter’s life were etched with adversity as she navigated a landscape peppered with challenges. Her candid account echoes, “I’ve been through a very depressed state because you’re a little kid, and you have a bunch of grown adults staring at you.” Uninvited remarks and childhood taunts became familiar echoes, leaving deep emotional scars. “I will say it probably can affect you more mentally and emotionally,” she admitted.
“I never felt pretty as a child. I felt ugly, like a freak of nature, and cried in private so many times,” Geter unveiled, exposing her vulnerability. Despite the clamor of suggestions for surgery from well-meaning physicians, Geter held her ground, well aware that even more invasive measures hadn’t guaranteed success. Resolute, she chose to embrace her identity as it was, undeterred by the shadows cast by societal norms.
In 2017, the unexpected opportunity came to her.
In a twist of fate, the trajectory of Geter’s life took an unforeseen turn in 2017. A photographer’s lens stumbled upon her at Walmart, sparking an unexpected chance for self-discovery. Skepticism gradually dissolved, replaced by the recognition that it was time to shed inhibitions and reveal her whole self to the world. “I was like, ’I’m getting older now, maybe it’s time I start putting my full body out there,’ and hopefully me doing that can help somebody else,” she mused.
This single juncture catalyzed her metamorphosis into a model, catapulting her into the limelight. The ripples of her story expanded exponentially through a viral YouTube video, which garnered over 10 million views.
Her online presence burgeoned, with platforms like Instagram becoming avenues to disseminate her message. “Mainly, I’ve gotten a lot of positive responses, and the ones I like the most are that it helps people that also feel low about themselves,” Geter acknowledged, echoing the impact she was leaving.
She aims to help others embrace their unique bodies.
Naturally, venturing into the virtual domain came with its own share of trials, including encounters with virtual detractors. Yet, Geter emerged from these challenges unfazed, affirming, “People have been so nice and supportive of me online. It isn’t all trolling and negativity.” Her allegiance to the cause of body positivity remained steadfast, her digital footprint an instrument of empowerment.
For Geter, her aspirations are indelibly tethered to her dream of becoming a model, a vision intertwined with a mission to effect change. “If I ever make it big, I want to buy my mother a house and take care of my family, then I’ll do everything I can to raise awareness of lymphedema to pay it back to everyone who has ever shown me kindness.” Her journey transcends her personal narrative, a clarion call to others to embrace their uniqueness and champion their differences.
She becomes inspiration to many.
While hardships have marked Geter’s voyage, the narrative she pens is one of profound self-acceptance. Her story shines as a beacon of authenticity in a world that often preaches conformity. “For the longest, I felt so low about myself, but once I got older and with loads of support from the online lymphedema community and my mom, who is my inspiration, I realized how beautiful I am. Not only looks but as a person.”
Mahogany Geter’s journey serves as a profound wellspring of inspiration for countless individuals. Alongside her, another luminous figure illuminates the path towards embracing our individuality — amputee model Paola Antonini. Together, they exemplify the power of self-acceptance and the celebration of what makes us uniquely beautiful.