Sara Geurts probably doesn't look like the image you have in your head when someone says "model" — which is exactly why you need to know about her. Geurts was diagnosed with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, a connective tissue disorder that affects joints and skin, at 10 years old. In the 16 years since the diagnosis, Geurts has gone from being painfully self-conscious of her skin to celebrating it, frequently posing in bikinis and lingerie in her work as a model. Through modeling and sharing her story, Geurts has built up a following of almost 70,000 people on Instagram. She tells Bustle that her goal now is to spread awareness of not only Ehlers Danlos, but of the idea that all bodies are beautiful. Geurts and her following are an important example of how the modeling industry is changing — and that we should all be questioning our own assumptions about what beauty should look like.
"I hope my venture will open people’s eyes to the uncomfortable, untraditional, and imperfect. To pave the way in the future for other individuals who feel they aren’t perfect enough to accomplish their dreams, based on the artificial barriers society has put up," Geurts says.
Geurts has a couple big projects in the works that she can't share details on just yet, but in the meantime, she is committed to sharing her "imperfections" and challenging her followers to reframe how they view their own "imperfections."
"I hope that by showing my own imperfections through modeling it shows others that there is beauty in the imperfections, and your imperfections make you, you," Geurts tells me. "I hope to break through society's vision of perfection and the presence of it within our fashion industry." Below, Geurts talks about her social media following, what it's like getting recognized, and how she hopes her presence in the industry changes how people view their own beauty.