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Miss SA finalist Zoey Seboe on living with the rare skin condition lamellar ichthyosis.

Zoey Seboe has been discriminated against for her uncommon skin condition.

The modeling profession has high, unreasonable beauty standards and pressure to look a certain way.

She's unfazed and going her own way.

Zoey Seboe (22) entered the pageant to educate people about her unusual skin condition and to motivate the outcast.

She tells Drum, "I'm here for a reason."

Zoey was born with lamellar ichthyosis, a rare skin disorder where skin cells don't separate at the surface and the body doesn't shed skin fast enough. Brown scales develop.

Some people gaze or look aside when they see her. Some think she's possessed. Some are attracted to her confidence and willingness to educate others.

"My illness is misunderstood." "Your parents' sins made you this way," someone said. This was uttered by an adult. She's stunned.

"Someone said my family was cursed. People have tried to separate me by using African cultural clichés like witchcraft. People assume these are burns or snakeskin.

The criticisms and lack of understanding used to bother her, but she learnt that knowledge is power and began educating others.

"I avoid Twitter because of cruel people. My family shielded me before I went public. She went out knowing herself.

My issue impacts my bloodstream and a mutated gene. She says, "I'm living happily and trying to inspire young people."

"Severe cases have killed people." Just life. "I don't have renal or asthma problems," she says.

People with peeling skin can't wear certain outfits. I can wear any fabric."

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Lamellar ichthyosis was congenital. Her family and community protected her from condemnation when she was 5 years old.

"I didn't feel different until I was 10 and people started proposing skin cures. Some said I needed to go to church, a doctor, or a prophet, and she tried some.

"I started doing my own research in grade 12 and early freshman year. Self-discovery."

Her skin-care routine is strict but not unusual.

"Too much sun burns my skin." I always wear long sleeves to avoid being burned, not for confidence. Some people have moist lamellar ichthyosis, she says.

"I wake up and wash my face. Warm seawater and E45 with Vaseline hydrate my body."

She's seen private and government doctors, anxious for a cure, but her disease is incurable.

"I stopped seeing doctors in 12th grade." After getting medical care, I needed to focus on my education. We spent so much money and effort on private doctors and specialists before I could accept my predicament. There's no cure, so I'm putting myself out there not to ask for help but to educate and inspire others.

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She wanted to be a model for years before entering Miss SA.


"I had to focus on myself." My modeling career was hidden. I lacked chances. I shot my own photos for social media. I would attend castings but never receive jobs, so I acquired the courage to follow my ambitions by entering Miss SA. Jeyza Kaelani's social media posts inspired me. She's a model and influencer with my disease," she explains.

"My aunt sent me a photo and said why not? I admired her confidence, but I wasn't confident or powerful enough to be a model in high school. I was secure in my neighborhood and with my friends, so I wasn't ready to share my experience, she adds.

Jamie Bartlett said he wasn't done with David Genaro.

She was born and raised in Joburg and is in her final year of law school. Zoey educates others about her disability. She and her family learned about the skin condition together.

Once people are aware of the condition and other rare skin conditions, there will be less discrimination and more respect and love.


Zoey admires albinism-model Thando Hopa.

"She inspires me." How she survived and grew up with albinism and demonstrated anything is possible. She's making room for me.”


Zoey wants to help skin-related groups.

"I want to tell young females they deserve to see themselves everywhere. I want to help groups that treat skin diseases and serve my community.

Source:https://www.news24.com/drum/inspiration/news/miss-sa-finalist-zoey-seboe-on-living-with-rare-skin-condition-lamellar-ichthyosis-20220524

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Drum Zoey Seboe

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