One model is breaking barriers in the fashion world.
29-year-old Caitin Stickels, from Seattle, was born with Schmid-Fraccaro, also known as “Cat Eye Syndrome”. The genetic disorder is known to cause an array of issues, the most visible of which include facial deformities — like cleft palates and downward corner-facing eyes. Furthermore, the lack of tissue in Caitin’s eye gives her a “cat-like” look.
It is believed that only 1 out of 150,000 people are diagnosed with the syndrome. But Caitin is helping to redefine beauty by addressing diversity issues in the fashion world. She was recently “discovered” by photographer Nick Knight. Soon after, Caitin landed a much-coveted editorial spread in “V magazine“.
“Working with Nick Knight at SHOWstudio for V Magazine was something I couldn’t have even dreamed of, to be perfectly honest. I always admired brilliant artists with miraculously creative minds, especially in the fashion industry where being human isn’t often expected to be accepted or displayed in an artistic way,” Caitin wrote for the spread.
Talking about her newfound calling, Caitin explained, “I never dreamed of being a model or being a part of the fashion industry. I always admired from afar and meanwhile tried to recreate my own expressions through fashion, photography, and art.”
Caitin said prolifically:
Nick Knight saw what I have been doing on my own accord and he gave me the chance that I never gave myself, as did V. this is why I loved them both from the beginning when I was young and still do now—they opened eyes, they opened minds, and they gave this world a chance. They both have done the same with me and I’m still processing that it’s now my reality, too. This collaboration has been the most beautiful whirlwind of my life.
We can’t wait to see how she continues to make her mark. You can read her entire essay here.