The world we live in is harsh one, which is especially true for a woman. In this beauty and size zero obsessed world we live in, anything that doesn’t quite fit into the accepted standards of beauty and body image, is considered abnormal. Viewed almost like a circus freak show. While normal everyday women are made to feel inadequate because they don’t fit in, women with unusual beauty are almost made to feel like pariahs.
But not all is lost. With the changing times, there has been a marked change in the way women have come forward and accepted their uniqueness and given the world the finger – the appropriate response, if you ask me. They are becoming more comfortable in their own skin, not comparing themselves to society’s standards of beauty, and becoming more accepting of unusual beauty.
Belonging to the ilk of this group of confident women is Cassandra Naud, who was born with a large and distinct birthmark on her right cheek – and refuses removal surgery. This 22-year-old was born with this mark that covers a large section of her right cheek, and what’s more, she loves it.
“It makes me unique and memorable, which is especially important for the career I’ve chosen,” said Cassandra, who is a professional dancer.
Cassandra is currently living in LA, although Alberta, Canada is her home.
The 22-year-old dancer was once advised by a casting agent to digitally erase her birthmark from her headshots. But rather than viewing her birthmark as a negative, Cassandra thinks of it as a positive attribute that makes her unique.
Talking about her birthmark, she said,
“My birthmark is a huge part of me.”
When Cassandra was born with the brown birthmark on her right cheek, her parents, Richard, 60, a power engineer, and France, 50, a school caretaker, chose not to opt for its surgical removal shortly after her birth. The doctors had warned that Cassandra could be left with permanent scarring and a lazy eye if they went the surgical route.
Although Cassandra had to endure bullying due to her birthmark, she’s happy that her parents had decided against it.
“As my birthmark sunk through several layers of skin, plastic surgery was the only option for removal. Doctors gave my parents a choice, warning them there could be left with a lazy eye,” she said. “I’m so glad my parents chose to leave my birthmark as it’s part of who I am. Having a birthmark distinguishes me – and I don’t feel that it has ever held me back.”
On enduring bullying as a kid, she said,
“Their cruel remarks were hard to deal with and I’d often fight back tears. I felt ugly – even if only for that moment – and I was terrified of how I’d be treated once I got to high school.”
They even went so far as to taunt her.
“They’d taunt me saying: ‘You’ll get beat up in high school,’ and ‘The hair on your cheek is gross.’”
When she couldn’t deal with the years of bullying anymore, she wanted to fit in. At age 13, she went to her mother and said,
“I told my mum that I wanted to remove my birthmark. My parents were shocked but understanding of my decision and immediately booked an appointment with a plastic surgeon. He explained the scarring I’d be left with and I immediately changed my mind. I figured it wouldn’t be worth it and told my mum that I’d prefer to keep my individuality.”
Further, she admitted,
“It was a moment of madness, but I’m so glad I made the decision to keep it.”
Although some birthmarks are cause for concern if a haemangioma blocks the airways, affects vision or becomes ulcerated. But Cassandra’s birthmark has never given her any health complications. And these days, she proudly displays her birthmark on Instagram and tags her pictures with #BeautyRebel and #InMySkinIWin.
Despite what people might think, the birthmark hasn’t stopped Cassandra from finding love either. She is currently in a relationship with Patrick Cook, 21, whom she met in LA eight months ago.
“We met at an audition for a dancing role and we’ve been inseparable ever since. He always tells me I’m beautiful.”
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Cassandra has some pearls of wisdom to impart others who might be held back because of their uniqueness – whichever form that might take. She wants people to embrace their natural looks.
“People should appreciate their individuality,” she said. “Times are changing, so don’t worry about looking normal. Don’t let bullies stop you and be proud of your uniqueness.”
We couldn’t have put it better. Thank you, Cassandra Naud. We hope you taste success in all spheres of life!