Growing up, Tayla Clement never saw anybody that looked like her in the media she engaged with. You see, Tayla has Moebius syndrome, a rare congenital neurological disorder characterized by underdeveloped facial nerves. In Tayla’s case, her condition prevents her eyebrows and upper lips from moving. But now, shares Yahoo, the 24-year-old is hoping to inspire others after she signed an international modeling contract with Zebedee Talent.
Throughout her life, Tayla experienced a lot of judgment and bullying because of her condition. As a pre-teen, she underwent a surgery to help reactivate or “wake up” her facial nerves. If successful, the surgery would allow Tayla to smile. But the surgery did not work. By the time Tayla was in high school, she began having seizures – up to ten each day – caused by stress.
But Tayla has consistently worked on building her confidence, meditating, and finding peace with herself and her body. Through her modeling contract, she hopes to inspire others with disabilities, facial or body differences, or other conditions. She aims to be a representative for this community.
Her mission is already clear on her Instagram, where she writes:
To the person who was excluded, the person who was always picked last, to the person who was called degrading names, to the person, despite all their effort, was never accepted as their authentic self, so tried everything to fit in – YOU are enough, YOU are worthy and you are so beautiful and amazing just the way you are.
Learn More About Moebius Syndrome
As described above, Moebius syndrome is a rare neurological disorder characterized by weakness or paralysis of multiple cranial nerves. In many cases, the 6th and 7th nerves are impacted. However, this condition may also affect the 3rd, 4th, 5th, 9th, 10th, or 12th nerves as well. Altogether, doctors are not entirely what causes Moebius syndrome. Some hypothesize that the condition occurs spontaneously, while others believe it has a genetic component; others believe that diminished or interrupted blood flow during fetal development could play a role. Symptoms and characteristics are present at birth, though these are variable and may differ significantly from person to person. Potential symptoms or characteristics include:
- Inability to smile, frown, or pucker the lips
- Developmental delays
- Underdeveloped pectoral muscles
- Inability to raise the eyebrows or close the eyelids
- A malformed tongue and cleft palate
- Autism spectrum disorder
- Excessive drooling and language difficulties
- Visual impairments
- Respiratory difficulties