Meet Sara Geurts: She looks old at 26, but is redefining the concept of beauty | fashion and trends | Hindustan Times
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Meet Sara Geurts: She looks old at 26, but is redefining the concept of beauty

Suffering from Dermatosparaxis Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, which has left her skin badly sagging and wrinkled, aspiring American model and Instagram sensation Sara Geurts is a body positivity icon already.

fashion and trends Updated: Aug 01, 2017 18:11 IST
Abhinav Verma
Sara Geurts is the new poster girl for the body positivity movement around the world.
Sara Geurts is the new poster girl for the body positivity movement around the world.

Beauty means many things across cultures. Aspiring American model and social media sensation Sara Geurts has created a meaning of her own. The 26-year-old, from the city of Minneapolis, looks decades older because of a rare disease. Undaunted, she has built up a huge fan following on Instagram —12.4K followers at last count — and plans to break into the big league of modelling.

Sara was only 10 when she was diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, a connective tissue disorder that impedes the production of collagen (the protein essential for good skin) and makes one’s skin sag and wrinkle even in youth. “I noticed my symptoms as early as 7-8 [years of age] and it started to show more after puberty,” says Sara, in an interview with Hindustan Times. “When I was 18, I was told I had herniated discs and from around that age, there was pain in my joints and back, eating and sleeping — everyday life started to change,” she says.

BOOOKED FOR L.A. AUG 3 - 8TH!! I am sooo ecstatic to announce I have been contacted by Volition Magazine to be featured in their next Fall Issue!! "VOLITION is a Bi-Monthly, 250+ page, full-color High Fashion & Art Publication based in Los Angeles. It is our goal to create a place for the creepy kids to call home and to inspire others to follow their heart." For those that don't know, LOOK EM UPP, GIVE EM A LIKEE👍👍& vibe out with their creative vision. I CANNOT WAIT TO BE BACKK IN L.A & hope to do some networking out there as well! Thaaank you all for your lovee and support, ill be sure to keep you all postedd! Thank you thank you & we can only go upp from here! ☝❤💞 • • • • • • • #week #tuesday #photoshoot #photograpy #venicebeach #losangeles #california #ehlersdanlosawareness #ehlersdanlossyndrome #effyourbeautystandards #inmyskiniwin #mybeautymyway #loveyourbody #loveyourlines #selflove #nowrongway #beyou #bebeautiful #perfectlyimperfect #blessed #inspire #beauty #embrace #happy #vibes #sorrynotsorry #real #model #wlyg #weloveyourgenes

A post shared by Sara Geurts (@sarageurts) on

Despite her suffering, Sara has not let the disorder hold her back from following her passion. She has been photographing herself since she was 22, and has done some modelling. However, it has not been an easy ride for her. “I don’t think everyone was open to the idea of me wanting to be a model; even some of my old acquaintances didn’t think it was possible, or that I could do it. It wasn’t until I had hit an all-time low in my life, rock bottom, after a break up around the age of 22-23, did I really analyse my mindset, myself, and my mentalities. Through the ‘Love Your Lines’ campaign on Instagram, I submitted my story of living with Ehlers, and the unhealthy mindsets and relationships it had caused, and that’s really when my mindset changed,” says Sara, who has moved to Los Angeles to fulfil her ambition.

One look at her photos now and you’ll realise that she has no qualms posing in either bikinis or tank tops. She has slowly become the new poster girl for the body positivity movement around the world. “When individuals started to reach out to me to show their love and support, I knew right then and there I was on a mission, a mission to make sure that every individual knew they were beautiful no matter what society tells them,” says Sara.

She is on a mission to challenge, rebel against the perception of beauty set by the modelling world, but she is humble and not alone. “I think that my girlfriend Briana Berglund and my cousin Yasmin Geurts are my two pillars of strength; without them, none of this would have been possible. My family and friends are all amazing and continuously offer their never-ending love and support,” says Sara.

May is Ehlers Danlos Awareness Month!!! With that said, every other day I am aiming to put out at least one picture, 'Fun Fact about EDS', or "tips on how to help raise awareness" in an effort to make this May month our biggest month yet! <3 On March 15th, The Ehlers Danlos 2017 International Classification Convention took place, where many advocates and individuals who suffer with EDS, were able to connect on the criteria for diagnosing multiple EDS types. This was the first convention that was held since 1997! This fact, among many others, opened my eyes to the lack of information, and resources, that are available to me and my fellow warriors. With my pictures below you can clearly see the discrepancies EDS has caused within my skin, & why I choose to model with my specific type, as a way to raise awareness for all forms of Ehlers Danlos. "Ehlers-Danlos syndromes are a group of connective tissue disorders that can be inherited and are varied both in how affect the body and in their genetic causes. They are generally characterized by joint hypermobility (joints that stretch further than normal), skin hyperextensibility (skin that can be stretched further than normal), and tissue fragility. The Ehlers-Danlos syndromes (EDS) are currently classified into thirteen sub-types. Each EDS sub-type has a set of clinical criteria that help guide diagnosis; a patient’s physical signs and symptoms will be matched up to the major and minor criteria to identify the subtype that is the most complete fit." (https://ehlers-danlos.com) Id like to thank you all for your love and support, my determination and strength would not be what it is if it wasn't for all of you. <3 <3 <3 "Dazzle Together. We are stronger when we combine our stripes to dazzle." Dazzle : The collective noun for Zebras or a group or herd. #Ehlersdanlos #EDSawareness #Ehlersdanlossociety #dazzletogether #zebrastrong #ehlersdanlosawareness #ehlersdanlossyndrome #inmyskiniwin #effyourbeautystandards #raredisease #raising #awareness #loveyourbody #loveyourlines #selflove #happy #beyou #bebeautiful #blessed #inspire #embrace #nowrongway #bodypositive #bodylove #rare #flaws #beauty #inspire #real #model #wlyg

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She doesn’t let any negativity distract her from her goal. “I try to stay away from comments, as I know not everyone sees the light in my mission. Through my incredible support system, I am able to keep a level head and remind myself that this whole thing isn’t about me, it’s about all of us,” she says.