Like many of us, Sara Geurts has struggled long and hard with her body image and confidence (or lack thereof). It has taken time and work to get to the point she’s at now—the point where she feels comfortable living in the skin she’s in. Sounds all too familiar in this day and age, right?
But there's much, much more to Geurts's story. The 26-year-old was diagnosed with a rare skin condition 16 years ago called Dermatosparaxis Ehlers-Danlos syndrome—it affects her connective tissue as well as her bones, blood vessels, and skin. One of the disease's main side effects is that it impacts collagen production, and because of this, Geurts's skin is permanently wrinkled. But that hasn’t stopped her from recognizing her own worth and actively expanding society’s definition of what it means to be beautiful. Keep scrolling to read her inspiring story.
Geurts was diagnosed with the condition at 10 years of age. For years (all of her adolescence, in fact), she struggled with low self-esteem. "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." In an essay she penned on The Mighty, she adds, "Upon serious self-evaluation, I realized my insecurities caused me to lack any confidence, which had an impact on all of my social and personal relationships."
In an effort to feel more beautiful, bolster her relationships, and lead a more positive life, she took up modeling in 2015. Since then, she's gained thousands of followers on social media. People reach out to her, telling her that by sharing her story, she helped them to feel more confident. One of her fans writes, "Thank you so much for working hard to change the beauty narrative of our society. You are gorgeous and the way you talk about yourself is gorgeous. I have Ehlers-Danlos as well, and it's incredibly inspiring to see what you are doing." Another adds, "Thank you for being yet another person to show the world lines.. scars.. stretch marks.. fat.. all 'flaws' are flawless."
She's doing exactly what she set out to do. "I aim to break society’s transparent barriers of perfection. Barriers that subliminally tell us all to be perfect in all aspects of life, work, social and personal interactions," she writes. "'Be this skinny and you’ll be happy,' 'Buy this and you’ll be happy,' 'Look this way and you’ll be happy.' Really? It is the imperfection that makes us perfect and is where true beauty lies." Hear, hear.