How Model Who Was Called “Alien” Because of Rare Disorder Redefines Beauty Standards
In the past, models were expected to be slim, tall, fair-skinned, and have either curly or straight hair. Melanie Gaydos, a 32-year-old model, is breaking these traditional standards and is courageously challenging the fashion industry. She’s also emphasizing the importance of diversity in the beauty world. As she does this, Gaydos shares her own story, which we think is worth hearing.
She bore a rare genetic condition from birth.
Melanie Gaydos, aged 32, originally hailing from the East Coast, now resides in Seattle. She was born with ectodermal dysplasia, a rare genetic condition impacting skin, hair, and nail growth. Despite severe criticism about her appearance during her younger years, Melanie persevered and became a renowned model, landing numerous diverse opportunities.
“I really don’t like being told I can’t do something.”
Gaydos embarked on her modeling journey at the Pratt Institute in New York City. Her visibility increased substantially following her appearance in a Rammstein music video, attracting many offers. Her unique attributes make her an excellent fit for both high fashion and avant-garde styles. Remarkably, she has resisted being labeled strictly as an alternative model and actively participated in various New York Fashion Week runway events.
Her fame was hard-earned.
The woman we see today didn’t always experience the same level of acceptance while growing up. She candidly recalls that she struggled to make friends during her elementary school years. People often viewed her as peculiar, intimidating, and unlike the rest.
Her childhood was marked by approximately 30 surgeries, leading to frequent hospital stays and many missed school. As a result of her eyelashes curling inward and causing damage to her corneas, she is partially blind to this day.
Gaydos not only had to endure cruelty during her early years but also had to face negative comments online. Some even went so far as to compare her to an ’alien.’ “If I were around them, children would run away,” Gaydos recalled.
She embraces and cherishes herself just as she is.
Owing to the small bones in her ears, she faces hearing difficulties. She lacks both teeth and hair. While she once relied on wigs, she decided in 2015 to stop using them, along with dentures. Instead, she embraced her true self, explaining, “This is the way I was born, and when you are born a certain way, you survive.”
“I was never, ever bothered by the way that I look.”
Reflecting on her early years, she recalls, “I didn’t understand why people treated me differently. It’s literally just a disorder of my DNA. It’s just the way my body is born. It hasn’t affected the way I think or anything like that.”
However, Gaydos is optimistic that progress is being made. She believes that the definition of beauty in the fashion industry and among the general public has expanded beyond the confines of “the tall, perfect goddess” image.
She inspires and encourages other women to embrace their own unique beauty.
Gaydos likely finds it bewildering that some women fret over matters like thigh gaps, hair curls, or abdominal rolls. She emphasizes, "Everybody has their own insecurities... It’s really limiting, depressing, to worry about what other people look like and what other people think of us. She continues, “I don’t see why people can’t just be happy with themselves and be happy for other people.”
Melanie Gaydos is a remarkable example of self-acceptance and resilience in a world preoccupied with traditional beauty standards. Her unique journey challenges stereotypes, promoting diversity and individuality in an industry that often demands conformity. Melanie’s story underscores the importance of embracing one’s true self and celebrating the beauty in our uniqueness, both within and around us.