04 Julio 2017 15:31
She was outcast for being different. But now she's flipping the lid on female stereotypes
Clinching the title of Miss Universe is something many girls dream of, but for Evita Patcey Delmundo, a 20-year-old woman from Malaysia, the contest is about self-acceptance and challenging the status quo. Evita suffers from a rare genetic disorder that has left her face and body covered in moles, an ailment that has plagued her since birth and garnered the cruel nickname 'monster' from some of her peers.
During Evita's school years, she was humiliated, ostracised and bullied for looking different. In an interview with Elle, the young woman said she received harassment so frequently that teachers 'nominated two classmates to be with her at recess and not leave her alone'. People called Evita names like 'chocolate chip cookie' and drove her to consider having surgery to remove her moles when she was a teenager. After learning about the potential health risks, Evita decided against medical intervention.
Now, the Miss Universe hopeful is learning to celebrate her genetic individuality by entering the prestigious beauty competition as a representative of her native country, Malaysia. Evita has already made it through the first round of casting and is optimistic she will make it further, but will continue to compete in beauty contests either way. Since flying through the preliminary stages, Evita has gained 52,000 followers on Instagram and is often praised by fans for her bravery in shunning conventional beauty stereotypes.
In a world inundated with rigid interpretations of female 'perfection', Evita's championing of self-worth is as refreshing as it is radical. Society dictates that we remove, conceal and brush over any imperfections that make us feel less than normal, less than perfect, and we can become trapped in a never-ending cycle of disappointment and unattainability. Perhaps everyone should take inspiration from Evita and learn to love themselves, moles and all.
Even the modelling industry has started to embrace genetic differences and offer a platform for non-normative explorations of femininity and beauty. Chantelle Winnie, known for her appearance on America's Next Top Model and as the face of clothing brand Desigual, has put a spotlight on the striking power of birthmarks. Actress and model Melanie Gaydos is also breaking every rule in the fashion world by embracing ectodermal dysplasia, a rare disorder that has prevented her teeth, pores, nails, cartilage and bones from developing. Back in 2015, she stormed the catwalk at New York Fashion Week and has since been touted as a complete game-changer.