HUMAN statue, Ashley Kurpiel, lives with an extremely rare condition that turns her muscles to bone – and she’s now completely immobile. Ashley, 37, was born with Fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva (FOP). Affecting less than 1,000 people worldwide, the condition slowly gets worse over time and Ashley’s case has become so severe, she has now lost control over her body. Despite the inevitable hardship this has caused, Ashley remains positive about her life so far and her future. Ashley told Barcroft TV: “I know, even as an adult, FOP can take what little mobility you have left. But I don’t dwell on that.” Ashley’s day to day life is heavily impacted, relying on 24/7 care. She said: “I have now lost all mobility in my body.” Ashley has required assistance throughout her life – even in her childhood years at school. But thankfully, she’s always had a loving group of close friends and family around her. None more so than her mother, Carol, who has been her main source of care. When Ashley was just three years old, she had a lump on her back and was misdiagnosed by doctors. This resulted in her right arm being amputated – something she has also had to learn to live with. In 2018, Ashley started a communal group for people who live with amputees to get together and discuss their experiences. She said: “We now have roughly 23 active members. I started this group because I grew up this way – amputee life is just my normal. But these people that go through it later in life need that support.” And Ashley is keen to continue spreading her positivity and raising awareness for FOP.
A WOMAN with severe acne felt that she wasn’t “worthy of love” because of her skin. Madeline Roberts, 25, has suffered with skin problems since she was a teenager. When her acne turned severely cystic at the age of 14, she became insecure about the way she looked and stopped participating in beauty pageants because she didn’t feel “beautiful” anymore. Madeline told Barcroft TV: “At my lowest point, I felt like I would never have the skin that I want.” Trusting that someone would see past her skin in a romantic relationship became difficult for Madeline and she was “afraid to date”. Madeline is now married to Trevor after they met through friends at their church in Utah and “instantly clicked”. She now feels accepted by her husband, but when they were first dating her insecurities made her anxious that he would leave her. “I was afraid that he would think I had catfished him”, Madeline said. But for Trevor, her skin was never an issue. He told Barcroft TV: “It’s kind of floored me because that wasn't even on my radar.” But Madeline eventually realised that it was her own anxieties that were getting in the way of their relationship. She said: “I gained true confidence because he showed me that he doesn't love me because I have great skin, he loves me because of my personality and my heart.” In Barcroft TV’s film, Madeline goes to her church, leading worship and singing in front of the congregation for the first time without makeup. Coming off stage Madeline said she found the experience “freeing”.
A couple with a 30-year age gap insist their love is the real deal – and have baby twins to prove it. While many of her peers are finishing senior year and deciding on what college to go to, 18-year-old Tamajah, is already a mum to baby twin girls and living in a countryside home with its own library and lakeside views. Tamajah lives with her partner Markus (as well as a medley of cats and dogs) but her parents haven’t come to visit. Aged 48, Markus is older than both Tamajah’s mother and father. Tamajah conceived when she was just 17 – the legal age of consent where she lives, but she first met Markus when she was just 16. While on a grocery shopping trip to Walmart with her grandma, Tamajah noticed an older man looking at her. She said: “I was 16 when he approached me and I told him I was 18. I didn't want to like scare him off because of my age.” After going on a date, Tamajah knew she had to come clean - only to chicken out again and say she was 17. A couple more dates later and Markus found out the truth. He said: “When I learned that Tamaiah was 16, it obviously came as a surprise. It puts you in a tough position because here's a girl that you really like, that you want to spend time with but now you have to also think of it from the whole, legal aspect of ‘Well, can I?’ “She was only a month away from her 17th birthday so we just kind of put the brakes on things for a little bit and then moved forward after that.” After not seeing each other for a month their relationship quickly accelerated with Tamajah’s surprise pregnancy coming just five months after they started seriously dating. While Tamajah still takes the twins to her old family home, Markus has never gone with her. Like many protective parents they have expressed concern about Tamajah dating a man 30 years older than her. As the twins approach their first birthday later this year, the couple admit it would be too difficult to have a family party but hope with time the situation will improve.
BIGGER BOOBS will help me look ‘more Asian’, says plastic surgery addict. Angelique Morgan, better known as Frenchy, plans to transform from Caucasian to Asian by increasing her breast size from 32DD to 32EE. The former Celebrity Big Brother star says she’s ‘obsessed’ with Korean culture and regularly uses dating apps to find young Asian toy boys. The model and actress from Paris, France claims to have spent $50,000 on cosmetic surgeries so far to achieve her dream look. Frenchy told Barcroft TV: “I might look white on the outside but I’m very Asian on the inside. I’m not satisfied with how I look right now; I look too Western and it’s very boring.” While some people put their money into stocks and ISAs, the larger-than-life character insists her surgery is a good ‘future investment’. Despite this, the reality star often attracts criticism about her fake ‘plastic’ aesthetic. “People who think plastic surgery is a waste of money are completely ignorant, they have no idea what they’re talking about.” Frenchy’s quest for the perfect Asian lifestyle doesn’t just stop at her aesthetic. Although unwilling to disclose her exact age, the hungry cougar uses dating apps hoping to speak to younger Asian men. “I think once you go Asian, there is no going back. They are very exotic and sensual. I think any man after 30 looks too fat and too old.” Five years ago, she decided she wanted to embrace her passion for Asian culture and transform into an anime character. Anime is a style of Japanese film and television animation. “Five years ago, I saw the anime doll on the internet, I got really fascinated and addicted. Despite Frenchy’s hugely controversial decision to try and change ethnicities, she admits she’s happier than ever. The ‘plastic’ blonde cannot wait to get more surgery to complete her transformation. “I love to look fake because I live in plastic land and fantasy land.”
DOCTORS told her she would never be able to breathe, speak or eat on her own – but Alyssa has been proving doubters wrong since the day she was born. Alyssa’s spine was broken during her birth when doctors were forced to “keep pulling her out” whilst using forceps. Her spinal cord shattered and because of this and other complications, Alyssa is now wheelchair bound and will be on a ventilator for the rest of her life. Despite the inevitable hardship this has brought on, Alyssa, from New York, describes her “biggest achievement” as marrying her partner, Jimmy. Jimmy now helps Alyssa every day with physical chores and activities, whilst in return, Alyssa has helped Jimmy to understand the true meaning of positive thinking and mental strength. Alyssa, 29, told Barcroft TV: “The fact that I even got married, is like a huge accomplishment for me. Jimmy has helped me build confidence.” Before meeting Jimmy, Alyssa had struggled in her dating life. Alyssa considers herself lucky in the sense of the support she has received from close family and friends - particularly during her childhood and school years. Alyssa has taken to social media in order to spread her positivity, and help raise awareness, to the masses. Alyssa is hoping to start a family with Jimmy in the future – continuing to prove people wrong. She said: “I’m very proud of myself and what I do. “And with the future? Who knows. Hopefully it holds children. We’ll see, we’ll see what happens.”
A DETERMINED woman is aiming to tackle the stigma attached to plus size people and exercise – by going hiking. 33-year-old Celeste Mick from Los Angeles, California is a passionate hiker who keeps track of her adventures online. Celeste told Barcroft TV: “I was actually coming from a really dark part of my life and I was looking for something that would change how I was feeling". Yet, Celeste is not your average looking hiker - with her plus size frame, she is used to people doubting her hiking capabilities. And being plus size has created other challenges too; Celeste has to have her hiking jacket, backpack and rain pants customised to fit her frame. However, none of these things swayed Celeste’s determination. Her current goals include hiking every state in America and getting ready to conquest Mt. Kilimanjaro next year. With her Instagram page ‘fatgirlforthefitsoul’, Celeste tries to break stereotypes and inspire other plus size people to exercise outdoors and not feel ashamed to do so because of their larger frames. Making it to the top of a hiking trail has given her a sense of empowerment and a new appreciation of her body and its capabilities. Celeste told Barcroft TV: “Hiking has taught me to be confident at a level that I never experienced, even when I wasn’t a fat person. You have to love yourself in your skin that you're in right now. And if things change, you're going to love yourself even more because you learn that you're worth everything.”
AFTER a suicide attempt a 25-year-old woman has turned her life around by losing half of her body weight. Summer Stultz, from Virginia, has lost over 200lbs weighing from 410lbs to 195lbs. Summer had been suffering from weight issues since her childhood and believed she was "born to be fat". She told Barcroft TV: “What actually sparked my weight loss journey was getting to the lowest point of my life – feeling like no one understood me, no one understood what I was going through, no one could help me and I just felt completely alone. I realised I can't go back to living the same life that I was or this might happen again and seeing the look on my parents face in the hospital waking up it was just like an automatic switch.” Summer started a healthy diet and exercising which led her to lose over 200lbs but left her with a huge amount of loose skin which, according to her, was “very debilitating mentally.” The 25-year-old decided to go under the knife to get rid of the excess skin caused by the weight loss. Today Summer says she can finally feel her true self and has never felt more confident and proud of herself. Describing her life after the surgery, she said: “Every time that I walk outside and when I am in a public I just feel comfortable, I feel normal.” Summer added: “Starting out as the caterpillar at the very beginning of my journey, moving to the cocoon and finally breaking free, I feel like I'm finally the butterfly. I feel like I am finally Summer.”
TIPPING the scales at 485lbs, Lexi Reed describes herself a “prisoner” in her own body – a body she worried wouldn’t even make it to her 30th birthday. Stuck in a routine of coming home from work, sitting on the couch and ordering massive amounts of takeaway to eat while watching TV with her husband Danny, Lexi had got into unhealthy patterns she couldn’t see a way to break. And then on 1 January 2016, fed up of her weight and sedentary lifestyle, Lexi decided to change her habits. In just two years Lexi lost an incredible 312lbs; Danny also started training with her losing 95lbs. Now the couple work full time as fitness influencers on social media.
A CROSS-CULTURAL couple who tied the knot after just two months of meeting share their experiences of overcoming judgement and prejudice. Kelly Keyser, 34, and Harjot Arora, 31, were discussing the idea of getting married by their second date. Originally from a city in Northern India called Saharanpur, Harjot met Kelly while visiting the US and looking for companionship. Their love story blossomed on the dating app ‘Plenty of Fish’, when he wowed her with his best pick-up line. He told Barcroft TV: “The line was like, ‘God must have been in a good mood when he made you’. It’s kind of cheesy, but it worked.” Kelly described their meeting as ‘love at first sight’. So much so, that the pair were hitched less than two months after their first date. However the swift decision to get married sparked concern from family members on both sides. After announcing their engagement, some of their closest relatives refused to attend the wedding. “My brother didn’t support it actually,” Kelly admitted. “He thought I was crazy. Like, ‘You just met this guy, I don't even know who he is, you're marrying him within two months. You're crazy.’” Discussing his own family’s prejudices, Harjot says that differing cultures may also have played a part. “When I spoke to my dad, like, I can see his main concern was that she's not Indian. He's from a generation where stereotype is inbuilt. So he had that fear, I think he still has that fear that this woman won't be a family person. My dad is really not in a mood to accept her in the family.” Soon after the wedding, Harjot’s US visa expired, meaning the couple had to move to his hometown in India while awaiting a green card. Along with the judgement they face from their families, they also have received negativity in public spaces after moving to India.
SAY HELLO to the world’s most expensive mobile home vehicle – which has a whopping $3 million valuation. The ‘Marchi Element’ RV has been created to hit the open road for an adventure, without having to compromise on luxury. Mario Marchi is president of Marchi Mobile, a company which makes extravagant, innovative vehicles. Mario told Barcroft TV: “Our philosophy by building our vehicles is the freedom to make the impossible possible.” This special vehicle allows you to enjoy the privacy that travelling in a mobile home provides but can also be used for bigger social events. Mario explained the mechanics behind the vehicle. “The original design comes from Luigi Colani, who is a world famous automotive industrial designer. His original idea was to use biologic forms out of nature.” Every part of this RV has been thought through to make it a comfortable ride on the road. Mario said that in the latest version they had to redesign the front grill: “we needed a lot of air intake for the engine. We also decided to choose an automatic sliding door as an entrance.” This ultimate ride doesn't come cheap, available in a whole host of custom options, ‘The Element’ will set you back a cool $3 million, making it the world's most expensive mobile home. For Mario, this is worth it for the incredible driving experience. “The view out of the cockpit is incomparable to any other vehicle. The driving is outstanding; you are like the captain on the road.”
Marcela Iglesias started the Plastics of Hollywood three years ago, wanting to tell the stories behind her client’s extreme looks. She told Barcroft TV: “The Plastics of Hollywood is a human dollhouse full of humans that look like Barbies, Kens, creatures and celebrity impersonators.” Marcela works as a talent manager for some of the members of the Plastics of Hollywood, giving them advice on their looks and promoting their stories to the world. She works with the world’s most modified people, including Luis Padron, who has spent $60,000 to look like an elf, and Justin Jedlica who’s had over 700 procedures to look like a human Ken doll. Three new potential recruits to the Plastics recently visited Marcela at her home to discuss whether or not they would fit into the group. They included Sheyla Hershey, who’s had 34 surgeries on her breasts and had her ribs removed in her quest for the perfect body. Another was Eddie Valentin, who has gone under the knife to have abs etched into his skin to look like a male model, and John Coscardo who is transforming himself to look like a Ken doll. After the meeting Marcela invited the group to join her, saying that she liked that “they have a plan, not just for fame or vain.” She says she is ‘excited’ for the future of the Plastics: “I want people to know that we're not just vain people.”
A WOMAN who turned her life around with fitness and determination is teaching others to live life without limits. Misty Diaz, 34, was born with Myelomeningocele - a form of Spina Bifida. Misty was born with a severe form of the condition; her spine was completely exposed and some of her organs were on the outside of her body. Misty has made a name for herself in both modelling and adaptive fitness. Misty told Barcroft TV: “Fitness allows me to feel like everyone else.” Misty’s life took a turn for the worse after underdoing her 28th operation. “I was on so much morphine and everything was just like a cloud.” Having almost lost everything, Misty needed to hit rock bottom until things could change for the better. Misty got into fitness after seeing a 5K charity walk advertised on a billboard. After completing the walk, Misty took on a 5k run. Misty joined Instagram and now has over 14,000 followers. She created the movement, #SpinaBeautiful – a body positive page for those with her condition. This is where Misty found her another calling – mentoring others going through similar struggles. Bryce, 21, was diagnosed with Spina Bifida at birth, but her condition began to worsen when she hit teenage years. The two women have kept in contact and Misty helps Bryce whenever she needs some advice. For Misty, being able to help people like Bryce is why she created the #SpinaBeautiful movement to begin with.
AS DIVERSITY gains momentum in the cosplay world, meet a plus-sized Hispanic designer leading the ‘inclusion revolution.’ Cinita C is a self-taught costume designer from Brooklyn, New York whose mission is to represent plus-size women and women of colour. The 25-year-old took matters into her own hands in 2012 when she couldn’t find costumes in her size, she began learning to first make them for herself and later for other people. By addressing the disparity of diversity in the comic book world, Cin hopes to inspire others by creating a more inclusive space for the cosplay community. Cin told Barcroft TV: “I feel the need to not redefine cosplay but add a broader definition to it because I need others to see that there are people like them.” After attending a comic convention in New York seven years ago, Cin noticed most comic book characters were portrayed as white. She quickly realised cosplay options were limited for people of her shape and ethnicity. “I fell in love with the idea of going around, dressed up as a character and taking pictures with other people dressed up.” Cin began creating costumes that were unavailable to her when she first became interested in cosplay. The Hispanic cosplayer hopes other women of colour are inspired when they see her dress as characters often portrayed as typically white or Asian. “When I’ve met people or spoken to them online, their biggest appreciation is that I’m a plus-size person of colour – Afro-Latina.” Although Cin comes from a family of women who sew, she didn’t start until she was 18 years old. She received her first sewing machine for her birthday and was bitten by the bug. “I had no choice but to learn how to sew if I wanted to dress up as my favourite characters.” Cin has a younger sister, Myya who is five years old. She hopes to be a positive influence in her life, paving the way for the next generation of cosplayers. “I just want to show her she can give love to the world and to herself while doing things that she enjoys.” How much the multimillion-dollar comic book industry will be prepared to change because of Cin is up for debate. However, what can’t be disputed is the visibility of people like Cin removing barriers to future generations of cosplayers. “I want to redefine cosplay; I want to help the cosplay community to show others that there’s so much more than one type.”
A 20-YEAR-OLD man who has broken over 300 bones has become an international swimming champion. Moin Junnedi was born with a rare condition called Osteogenesis Imperfecta – more commonly referred to as ‘brittle bone disease’ - a rare genetic disorder characterised by bone fragility and vulnerability to bone fractures. But despite his bones being as fragile as glass, the student from Karnataka, has pursued a career in swimming. Moin told Barcroft TV: “Before I started swimming, life was not good as much as today. I didn’t have friends, nothing to do at home, just watch TV.” When Moin was born, his mother, Kouser, was told by doctors that her son only had three days to live. Kouser said: “Ever since my son was born, I feel motivated. “So many people have been inspired by his dedication and hard work.” Despite trying, Kouser couldn’t enroll her son into a mainstream school or schools for people with disabilities, so she taught him at home. Moin’s life transformed when a popular Paralympic swimming coach, Umesh Kalghatgi took him under his wing. Umesh said: “I spotted Moin at a government event in 2009 and I immediately though that swimming might take his pain away. “Since then Moin has been my star student and together we have garnered an international fame and reputation.” Due to his hard work, dedication and mum’s support, Moin has won over 22 medals in various national and international Paralympic swimming championships. As well as swimming, Moin is also pursuing an undergraduate degree in commerce and economics at local university.
DESPITE being diagnosed at 24 with a rare form of muscular dystrophy, a determined woman has started her own fashion line to help others living with chronic illness. Keisha Greaves, now 32, lives with limb-girdle muscular dystrophy, which has resulted in the muscles in her arms and legs becoming extremely weak. Unable to raise her arms at all, Keisha has learnt to live differently - not knowing how her body will feel each morning she wakes up and getting around in a specialised wheelchair. Keisha admits that it took her a few years to come to terms with the diagnosis as a woman living in her mid 20s – but despite the inevitable hardship, she has turned her love of fashion into a successful career, launching her very own clothing line and brand ‘Girls Chronically Rock’. Keisha, who resides in Massachusetts, USA, told Barcroft TV: “I always loved to wear graphic t-shirts with different colours and designs – so I thought why not come up with a t-shirt line to share my story and help bring disability awareness.” Keisha now takes daily medication to keep her pain levels in check and has a carer visit each morning to help out around her house. Once Keisha had achieved her degree in Fashion Design & Business, she soon kicked on with her career and came up with the idea for ‘Girls Chronically Rock’. “The orders are going well. I recently added a child collection which is cool.” Keisha is now looking to expand her business, by making it into a ‘movement’. She said: “I just want to create awareness of disability to a big community.”
Everyone’s favourite age gap couple are back – and out to help a former sugar baby who fell in love with her sugar daddy. Mindy Mikla, 28, and husband Larry, 58, have been together for seven years and happily married for three – despite their thirty year age gap. This is Mindy’s first ever trip to New York, so her and Larry take in some of the city’s iconic sights like Times Square, but also decide while in the Big Apple to reach out to another person in an age gap couple to hear about the judgment they’ve faced. The couple meet up with Gabi, 20, who met her partner Chris, 51, on a sugar baby website but then the twosome fell for one another. She seeks Larry and Mindy’s help with navigating the transition from a transactional arrangement to true love, and the other pitfalls of dating outside your age bracket. Mindy said: “Larry and I don’t have many age gap friends - actually we don’t have any age gap relationship friends at all. So we’re really excited to meet Gabi and see what she’s about. With Larry and I, especially online with my channel, people have accused me of being a gold digger when really we were two people that met and fell in love and it just happened. Whereas this couple is a little bit different. They’re in an age gap relationship like ours, but they met in a different way.” Larry and Mindy, from Florida, spend some time at a café with Gabi and then go for a walk in Central Park at dusk. After the meeting Mindy said: “I think Gabby definitely has what it takes to overcome the judgment in her relationship. I think she’s super strong. She’s an amazing, strong person.”
Devin McLane, 15, was born with a rare muscle weakness condition called Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita (AMC). AMC is limited or absent movement around small and large joints and resulted in Devin having limited use of his arms as most of the muscles in his shoulders don’t work. Devin, from Montana, has taught himself to use his feet as his arms and never let his condition hold him back. Devin told Barcroft TV: “I’ve never really been able to use my arms so I do everything with my feet, my feet work just like your hands so I have all of the dexterity in my feet.” Despite his rare condition, the Montana teenager not only manages to do all household chores by himself but he can even fire a bow and arrow with his toes! Devin’s mum, Michelle Eder-McLane, said that Devin has always been a very resilient kid and added: “The way Devin handles his disability is incredible. He is a fighter in every aspect. I truly don't think there's anything that Devin can't do.” Devin has excelled in school and is pursuing his passion for art - he is working towards his goal to become an architect. Devin is also a part of the wrestling team at his school. He joined the High School wrestling team last year and since then wrestling became a big part of his life. Devin said: “I would tell this to anybody who has a disability, to just never give up and fight for the things you believe in. And if you work for it, you will get it.
A TRANSGENDER teen will be the first child in her state to have gender reassignment surgery covered by Medicaid. Trinity Neal, from Wilmington, Delaware, knew that she was living in the wrong body before she had even started elementary school. Born as male, she would dress up in her mother’s clothes and adamantly express that she was a girl. Now aged 16, Trinity has been living authentically as a girl for over 12 years. Trinity’s mother DeShanna has always affirmed her daughter’s gender identity. She recalls seeing the first signs of Trinity’s dysphoria when she was just three years old. DeShanna told Barcroft TV: “She wasn’t speaking anymore and she wasn’t smiling. It was like my child was dying in front of me.” Trinity was then taken to a specialist child therapist who confirmed that she did have dysphoria – she began to socially transition at just four years old. “It was my fourth birthday when mom gave me this pink dress, which made me feel so happy. And actually mom said I was crying because of my happiness,” Trinity said. At 12 years old, Trinity made history by becoming the first child in Delaware to have their medical transition covered by Medicaid, a state program that offers health insurance coverage for lower-income families. Now she has been approved for gender reassignment surgery, another first-time for trans kids in Delaware. At 16 years old, she will be one of the youngest in her State to undergo this life-changing surgery. Trinity said: : “I want to be myself, I don’t want to be someone I don’t want to be. Because if I get this [surgery] done I can show those people who hate, I will show them that no matter how much you hate us, we will still beat you.”
At 16 YEARS OLD Thomas was approaching 400lbs and was so repulsed by his appearance he wouldn’t even look at his reflection in the mirror. Thomas told Barcroft TV: “I never looked in the mirror, never looked at photos, I just have no memory of who I was or what I look liked for 16 years of my life.” Speaking of the causes that led him to obesity, Thomas said: “I lost my father when I was 10, and I believe that was something that started that snowball down a hill effect: caused depression, anxiety, which then caused the overeating and the stress eating and really just kind of kept on getting worse and worse over the years.” When Thomas hit his heaviest – 360 lbs at 16 years old, his weight started affecting his social life. Everything changed when Thomas saw a nutritionist who taught him how to eat well. He has started a healthy diet and working out which resulted in losing 160lbs in two years. Since then Thomas, who resides in California, gained confidence he lacked before and despite admitting that he is still on his journey to self-love, Thomas says that he can finally look at his reflection and be proud of what he has achieved so far. He concluded: “No matter what you weigh, it really depends on if you're happy at where you're at, and of course, health is a big factor as well. It’s just something I think you should do for your loved ones and the people who care about you, to take care of yourself as much as you can and to stick around as long as you can.”
A FASHION photographer has transformed her LA home into a 1970’s version of Barbie’s Dreamhouse. Hidden away in the San Fernando Valley lies a pink-pillared mansion with a matching convertible parked outside. Jamie Nelson, 36, has made a name for herself in the fashion industry, photographing the likes of Drew Barrymore and Gwen Stefani. As stylish as her subjects, you could easily assume the pink spinning bed or the fur-walled bathroom that features on Jamie’s Instagram is just a part of her job. However, this is Jamie’s not-so-humble abode – boasting fabulous retro interior with a burst of colour inside. Jamie told Barcroft TV: “I moved to LA from New York City two years ago and I’ve been creating my dream house ever since. I came to LA with a pink house in mind.” She has spent the last two years transforming the home from a blank canvas into a creation of colour with 70’s vibes. Rather than make the entire house pink, Jamie decided each room would take on a different colour and theme. “I don’t ever get tired of the colours of the rooms because there’s a blue room, a yellow room, a red room, a pink room, a gold room.” Growing up in Colorado Springs, Jamie was always infatuated by visuals of decades gone by and dreamt of becoming an artist. From the age of 17, she formulated a plan to live in a pink house, surrounded by pool boys serving her drinks whilst she floated on a pink flamingo. Jamie has had numerous requests for music videos, fashion campaigns and commercials to be filmed at the house.
A 12-year-old who was born with no arms hasn’t let her disability stop her from competing in karate, soccer, dance and baseball. Zoe Bosanic was born with a condition called Bilateral Upper Extremity Amelia, which meant she was born without arms. Born in China, she was adopted as a toddler by Brian and Karrie from DeWitt in Michigan. The Bosanic family, who had already adopted one of their two children, wasn’t planning on adopting more, but once Karrie saw Zoe’s photo she immediately fell in love. Due to her condition, she initially struggled to stand up. “When we first brought her home, she was falling a lot because she didn’t have good balance,” said Karrie. Nowadays Zoe is practicing four sports and competing in three of them. “I play four sports: karate, dance, baseball and soccer and I play three sports competitively: karate, dance and soccer.” Her siblings say she always had the drive to achieve whatever she wanted to. “She’s definitely got the personality type to be so good at everything she does. I won’t lie, it makes me jealous a little bit because she’s amazing at sports that I can’t even do,” her sister Taylor said. Unfortunately, when Zoe is out in public she often gets stared at. “Just walking around I’ll notice people are staring or pointing. We’ve even had people just come up and touch her, it’s strange,” Taylor explained. Although Zoe is very independent, she does receive some help from her specially trained dog Mochi.
Rachel Evans, 49, has spent over £35,000 in her quest for plastic perfection, including getting ‘every inch’ of her face injected to look like a human doll. Rachel, from London, started transforming her appearance in her 30s. She has now had 112 procedures, which has included breast implants, fillers and Botox. Rachel told Barcroft TV: “I’m really excited growing old, because the older we get the more procedures are invented to look younger.” Rachel loves to surround herself with all things pink – something that’s clear to see in her very own Barbie Dreamhouse. She says, “as I hit my mid 30s, the more pink I would wear, the more happy I would feel.” Rachel regularly has top-up procedures and has recently added more fillers in her lips and nasolabial lines – to hide any signs of aging. Rachel’s ‘brunette Barbie bestie’, Naomi, often helps her to pick out outfits for her Barbie photoshoots. These glamorous shoots are a big part of Rachel’s Barbie lifestyle, saying she comes “alive in front of the camera”. Despite her positive Barbie mentality, Rachel has opened up about the insecurities she has about her appearance. “When I wake up in the morning and I don't have my lashes or my contouring on, I try to quickly put the makeup on because I don't really want to look in the mirror.” But now Rachel says she has found where she fits in the world, “I've rebirthed as Barbie.”
A WOMAN who saw her weight balloon to 264lbs after falling pregnant has lost 121lbs naturally - and now has the flat stomach she was working so hard towards. After falling pregnant with her first child, Victoria Bowen, from Red Cliffs, Australia, started eating for two quite literally. But rather than go back to her usual eating patterns before the pregnancy Victoria says she continued to eat more and more. Trapped in a cycle where she felt unhappy with her weight and appearance but then in turn comfort ate, Victoria even stopped going out the house. The mother of two, also refused to weigh herself, too afraid to see what the final figure was. When she did, she was so shocked, she knew she needed to change, kickstarting a new healthy eating and exercise regime. After weighing herself, the moment of truth spurred Victoria on to begin her body transformation, swapping to whole foods, vegetables and lean meats and ditching soft drinks in favour of water. She said: “I completely overhauled my lifestyle 100%. Throughout my journey, I have lost a total of 55 kilos. I never thought that I could lose the amount of weight that I had. I obviously wanted to lose weight but no I never in my wildest dreams that I think that I would lose like a whole person.”
With over a foot and a half difference in height, couple Ivoon and Jonathan are used to unwanted attention when they go out in public – but they don’t let that stop them going out. At 5 foot 4, Jonathan is below the average male height – but he is still over a foot taller than partner Ivoon, who at just 3 foot 10, is classed as a little person. The couple, who have been together nearly six years and have a two-year-old daughter have even been mistaken for father and daughter. The couple, from Midlothian Illinois, have even developed a code word for when they spy strangers - or ‘fans’ - taking photos of them together. Jonathan said: “It's pretty crazy when you get the guys [have] got the phone right here and they trying to like hide it. We use keywords like: ‘okay I see a fan.’” Ivoon’s height is due to the rare condition she was born with, Fanconi Bickel Syndrome. As a child she used a wheelchair and while she can now walk unaided, she still needs a wheelchair for long distances; she also uses a feeding tube. The syndrome causes a kidney disorder, which in turn affected Ivoon’s ability to grow fully and develop strong bones as she grew up. Before meeting Jonathan, Ivoon had been in a serious relationship – but she had never gone on a date in public with her 6ft tall ex. However; with Jonathan, it was different right from the outset of their relationship. Ivoon said: “Ever since we met, he never excluded me from family events; he always made me feel like I was any other regular person. Right away he never made me feel bad about being with him or going out in public.” Two years ago Ivoon and Jonathan welcomed baby Catalina into their family, describing her as their ‘miracle baby’. In spite of the judgement they get for going out – be it as a couple or a family – they refuse to let it stop them from doing anything. Ivoon said: “I'm so glad that I have my family now and he gives me so much confidence and I feel secure when he's with me. And even when he's not with me, since I'm a mom now, now I'm her security so I am her safe place, so a lot of the looks and the negative people, they don't affect me as much as when I was younger.”
SOCIAL media has inspired one influencer to transform his facial appearance in an effort to recreate the look of Instagram photo filters. Levi Jed Murphy recently underwent a lip lift, temporal brow lift, and Canthoplasty to alter the shape of his eyes and bring him closer to the ideal Instagram look he covets. Originally from Norwich, the young social media star moved to London to be with his boyfriend last year and has recently unveiled his new look to his hundreds of thousands of followers. The 23-year-old, who also gets fillers regularly and previously had Rhinoplasty, told Barcroft TV: “Instagram had a filter that made your face look like plastic surgery. When you’re about to take a picture and the filter comes off and you see the actual face, it’s kind of busted. The filter lifted up your eyes and your lip, so I thought ‘this is literally an eye lift and lip lift’ and I got an eye lift and lip lift. I decided to get the surgery because I just have a lot of insecurities all the time. So I think if I can fix that, I might as well.” Levi says all his procedures have been worth it and he has a list of further surgeries he wants in the future, including a Brazilian butt-lift, a second nose, and fat pads in his cheeks to make his fillers more permanent. "I wouldn't necessarily say I'm addicted to surgery because I definitely could stop,” he said. “I just enjoy getting surgery and like the results.” After getting his facial surgery, Levi recently returned to Norwich to show his mum, Tracey, for the first time. She said: “The surgery Levi’s had to change his eyes, I was not happy with at all because I didn't think he needed that, and I still think he's mad for having it done. “I'd rather Levi didn't get any more surgery to be honest. But he's got his own mind so if he wants it done he'll have it done.”