This young woman is redefining beauty standards one photoshoot at a time – and there’s no stopping her.
Mahogany Geter from Tennessee in the US was born with lymphedema in her left leg. It’s a long-term condition where excess fluid collects in tissues, causing swelling in the lymphatic system.
“My mom was so worried when I was diagnosed but we have got through everything together,” Mahogany says.
The 23-year-old aspiring model says the condition affected her social life at one point and prevented her from going out with friends and family.
“I did feel alone because I thought I was like the only person in the world to have this condition,” she says.
“Growing up with it, of course, I was depressed. I felt pretty much like God had cursed me and I used to cry all the time.”
Her self-esteem was so low she took pictures of herself only from the waist up.
“People would like my face and everything from the waist up, that was just my comfort zone,” she says.
But Mahogany, whose leg weighs 45kg, started embracing and accepting her condition after her first full-body photoshoot in 2017.
“Something just told me maybe I can use this as an opportunity not only for myself but for other people.
The now-confident woman says she hopes her images inspire others living with debilitating conditions to embrace their flaws.
“I want to inspire other people to celebrate their differences. I now believe I am beautiful on the inside and out. I’m proud of what my body can do.
“God gave you your condition for a reason. Even though it seems very tough especially mentally, He gave it to you because one, you can bear it; and two, shoot, you can rock it,” she says.
Although Mahogany has received mostly positive comments on social media, she says there are still trolls who tell her to amputate her leg.
“I’ve had my fair share of ignorant comments – one person told me my leg looked like a ham roll and one girl at school called me a deformed b***h.
“It’s been so hard to rise above these mean people but I have no other choice,” she says.
To avoid further swelling, Mahogany uses compression dressings, massages and drinks plenty of water to flush out her system. Despite doing all those things, the young woman still suffers from flare-ups from cellulitis which causes painful skin infections.
“It does get frustrating because I just want to live my life more freely and it feels like I can’t.
“If I don’t keep on top of my condition, I get flare-ups which can be overwhelming.
“When I feel low I take steps now to build myself up. I take a break from social media, I listen to music, meditate and talk to my mother because she’s like my therapist,” she says.
Although Mahogany has a positive outlook, doctors have told her that there is no cure for her condition. She does, however, hope to undergo physical therapy and surgery to help lessen the swelling in her leg.
“Despite the hard times I honestly feel like I live a normal life. I try to be strong and stay focused on my dreams of making it as a model,” she says.
“I’ll do everything I can to raise awareness of lymphedema to pay it back to everyone who has ever shown me kindness.”Sources: 10 News, Metro, Wate, The Sun