Tayla Clement of New Zealand was born with the highly rare moebius illness, which prevents her from moving her eyebrows or top lip.
Even though Tayla Clement is known as the “girl who can’t smile,” she is ecstatic.
The 24-year-old New Zealander is now living her “best life” thanks to a modeling contract that will enable her to motivate others and share her experience as one of just a few people worldwide who have the rare ailment known as moebius disorder.
The illness is a hereditary ailment where the facial nerves are undeveloped, and it only affects 1 in 4 million people. Clement explained that in her case, this meant that “my eyebrows don’t move, my eyes don’t track from left to right, and my upper lip doesn’t move, which means I can’t smile, hence the nickname “the girl who can’t smile.”
Because of that, Clement had a rough time growing up and experienced severe bullying.
People would bring plastic bags to school and instruct me to place them over my head because, according to her, they didn’t want to see me because I was so unattractive. “I think that when you’re told as a child that you’re unattractive and worthless, you believe it because you don’t know any better,” the author says.
Clement had surgery when she was 12 years old with the goal of improving her smile by transferring tissue from her thigh to the corners of her lips. After a year of healing, she complained that nothing had changed and that doctors had failed to stimulate the nerves in her face.
I was bullied a lot, so I believed the surgery would fix everything,” she added. However, it didn’t.
Clement experienced bullying throughout her time in school, and by the time she was 17, she had up to 10 dissociative seizures every day, which were diagnosed as the result of extreme traumatic stress.
Doctors compared her mental state to a soldier with PTSD because of her acute depression, she claimed.
After graduating, Clement claimed that during the ensuing years she was able to increase her self-assurance, in part because she started meditating and joined a gym. She will now have the chance to motivate others by working as a model with Zebedee Talent.
She continued, “I appreciate being able to support and empower others. She told ABC News, “It actually lights me up so much, and if I could smile, it’s like the biggest smile on my face when I talk about it.”
And Clement wants to serve as the example for others that she was not as a youngster.
Because I couldn’t find myself anyplace in the media, in movies, or on magazine covers, she added, “I felt absolutely worthless and not accepted.” Now, “it just felt so fantastic to be so freely embraced and wanted.”
It makes me feel a little emotional, but I’m simply pleased that it was me who experienced everything because now I get to motivate and assist others, which makes me so happy.
Here’s a video about her: