The Model with a Rare Disease Redefines the Terms of Beauty
Melanie Gaydos is a 28-year-old model born with a very rare genetic disease. Melanie was diagnosed with Ectodermal Dysplasia right after her birth. Ectodermal Dysplasia is a genetic syndrome that affects several parts of the body. This condition affects people’s hair, teeth, nails, and bones. Gaydos is suffering from alopecia and a bilateral cleft palate. As a child, she had her corneas damaged by this condition and now is partially blind.
Besides her condition, Gaydos is a very strong and inspirational young woman and is on her way to move the boundaries of the fashion world. She started out by looking for modeling jobs online at ModelMayhem and Craigslist, without listening to all of the people that told her she would never make it. She never let any of those people get to her, and believed in herself and her abilities.
“I was never, ever bothered by the way that I look. It has nothing to do with me. 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. I don’t see why people can’t just be happy with themselves and be happy for other people.”- Melanie says for Cosmopolitan.
At the beginning, Melanie started working with photographers who wanted to include something unique in their portfolio. Her first modeling job was for the Pratt Institute in New York, that helped her make many connections in the fashion world. Slowly her career started to reach a whole new level, with Melanie appearing at elite fashion shows and working with famous photographers. So far, she has walked in several New York Fashion Week shows and has successful editorials for magazines such as Love, Galore, and i-D.
Gaydos currently represents herself, and she doesn’t have an agent or a manager. She has already appeared in several movies and videos and has a promising career ahead of her. In spite of her great enthusiasm and uniqueness, she has met many people that tried to tell her that she’s not going to be where she is now.
“When I first started out modeling, like the first year or two, I did get photographers who said, ‘Well, you’ll never do a commercial shoot.’ Or I’ve gotten people who’ve said, ‘You’ll never walk runways.’ I’ve walked the runway shows for the last, I don’t know, three years, I’ve been doing New York Fashion Week! I really don’t like being told I can’t do something.”- says Melanie.
Melanie is aware that she doesn’t look like other models, and probably that is what makes her special. She has also noticed the way people look at her because she is different, but stays unbothered by that. According to her, the way she looks is not her choice or fault, it is just something genetic that you can’t predict. She got used to people asking questions and photographers and magazines being reluctant on whether to work with her or not.
Her future plans include shooting in Paris and another Fashion Week in Berlin. Melanie hopes that she will have the chance to write a book, that will inspire people who are struggling with similar conditions. Her main goal is to be able to publicly speak more often, in order to inspire more people to pursue their dreams.
Gaydos is just another proof that every single one of us is beautiful in their own special way. It doesn’t matter how you look, what kind of body type you have, your race or religion, if you are confident and work hard, you are going to get what you dream of. She radiates with self-confidence and is a great source of inspiration. She is just one of the reasons why the beauty industry is changing so much for the better. Models are not just skinny girls anymore who look good in everything they wear. Melanie is a positive example that you should embrace who you are, without wanting to be someone else.
“Every year, [the industry] seems to broaden and become a little more open-minded. I truly do think that fashion is reimagining its ideals but it’s only because people such as myself are actually making it happen.”- the model explains.
Photo By: @melaniegaydos/Instagram