Image: sara geurts/instagram
Sara Geurts was just 10 when she was diagnosed with Dermatosparaxis Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (dEDS).
dEDS is a disorder that affects the connective tissues, and is caused by a defect in collagen which results in saggy, wrinkled skin, amongst other symptoms.
For Sara, her younger days consisted of her feeling ashamed of her skin, even taking the effort to hide it.
"I’ll start out by saying I was not always comfortable or accepting of my disorder," she said in a self-authored post on The Mighty.
"In high school, I just tried to cover it up. I didn’t want anyone to ask me questions. As I got older, it just kind of started to show more and more," she added, speaking to The Sun.
But it wasn’t until she reached her twenties that she started to look at her body in a completely different way — and decided to embrace her uniqueness.
"It wasn’t till about the age of 22 that I started to look at myself and my body in a completely different way," she said in an interview with Barcroft TV.
"Just the uniqueness and the rarity and the way the lines form, it makes me so sad that I looked at it as just this ugly thing at one point in time."
She decided to start modelling and in 2015, submitted her story to the Love Your Lines social media campaign, which highlights women’s perceived imperfections. She received an overwhelming amount of support and praise from readers.
Sara hasn’t stopped modelling since.
She’s also racked up tons of positive comments on her Instagram page, with many saying that Sara’s pictures had helped them overcome their own insecurities.
"Just when I thought of giving up…this is beautiful and so inspiring…I’m learning to love myself and love the skin I’m in," said one user on Instagram.
"I’m trying to deal with a serious skin issue right now myself and i am trying to grab some of your attitude. You are inspiring," another added.
According to Sara, her biggest goal is to break the "unhealthy mindsets" that exist in the fashion industry — that models have to appear perfect and without flaws.
"My goal is to shed light on the unhealthy mindsets we currently have within the fashion and modelling industry today," she said.
"I believe the scars we have are reminders to the world of what we have been through…we should not be urged to cover them up, but instead glorify them."