A 23-YEAR-OLD man calls himself a ‘chaotic colourful monster’ and gets his outfit inspirations from horror films such as The Exorcist. Daniel Perera from New Jersey, USA, indulges his aesthetic in pinks, bows and glitter – plus fangs, black contact lenses and fake blood. He told Barcroft TV: "My style is very chaotic, very monstrous and very colourful.” However not everyone appreciates his unique look - particularly his mother. When Daniel sees his mother, he tones down his colourful look to something more modest. Daniel praises the way he dresses, and believes that it has helped him become more comfortable in his own skin.
A FATHER-OF-FOUR without arms and legs proved that everything is possible, despite losing his limbs due to meningitis at the age of two. Joseph Reed, from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, says he had an unhappy childhood in a foster family, and even experienced suicidal thoughts while growing up. Today the 34-year-old is a happy man and lives his life to the fullest – he is a father of four, a husband, and holds down a full-time job. The man, nicknamed by friends ‘nub zero the no legged hero’ is a great inspiration to his family and friends and many others around him.
A SCHOOLBOY from India who suffers from ‘Werewolf Syndrome’ dreams of defying his condition and becoming a policeman. Lalit Patidar, aged 13 from Ratlam in the Central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, was born with Hypertrichosis, a condition more commonly known as Werewolf Syndrome. This condition is characterised by abnormal hair growth on the face, arms and other parts of the body. Despite his condition, Lalit lives a happy life and dreams of one day supporting his parents by becoming a policeman.
SHY AnnCatherine Heigl, who has Down syndrome, shocked her family when she came home one day saying she wanted to become a cheerleader. Known as ‘AC’, she had already exceeded expectations playing tennis at her high school, but always said she hated being in front of crowds. Now 20, AC, from Indianapolis, USA, has made a huge leap in overcoming any nerves about big audiences. Her family believes she has become the first ever collegiate cheerleader with an intellectual disability.
A 19-YEAR-OLD woman from Finland who dresses in Lolita and Rococo fashion says that she’ll never be caught wearing something “basic”. Nea Viitamaa, who has been wearing the Japanese-inspired style for five years, says that she has spent around 10,000€ on her look – but she does not regret it. She combines the girly Lolita style with an 18th Century ‘Rococo’ fashion, which is distinct because of its corsets, big feathers, sleeves, ruffles and bows. Lolita is a Japanese fashion sub-culture which was born in 1990s Harajuku, Tokyo. It was originally associated with a feminist movement in Japan, which protested against traditional gender-norms. However nowadays, the Lolita style has become more mainstream and Nea says that she does not dress to make political statements. Nea was bullied for her style growing up, but she says she will continue to dress this way even when she’s old.
A MAN born with no limbs, who took up break dancing as a way of making friends, discovered he not only had a gift for it but that it could inspire others. Gabe Adams, 19, was born in Sao Paulo, Brazil with Hanhart syndrome, a rare medical condition characterised by underdeveloped limbs, mouth and jaw. In Gabe’s case none of his limbs grew at all. Adopted by American parents Janelle and Ron Adams, Gabe was brought to the US as a baby and grew up with his 13 siblings in Kaysville, Utah. From a young age Gabe started using a wheelchair but parents Ron and Janelle were determined that their son would be as independent as possible, pushing Gabe to learn to move independently of his wheelchair. At school he tried out for the dance team as a way of making friends – discovering he could use his limbless body to his advantage in the art of break dancing. After graduating from high school Gabe has continued to prove his independence, moving out of the family home and embarking on a career as a motivational speaker.
A 23-YEAR-OLD woman with severe cystic acne has learned to embrace her skin after sharing her story on social media. Grace Nesbitt, from Philadelphia, has suffered with cystic acne since she was in high school. But after years of struggling with her self-image, she has shared her story on social media and gone out bare-faced for the first time, in order to inspire others to find inner confidence. Grace, who works as a stylist, says that her acne is so severe that she struggles to leave the house, as well as being unable to eat or smile without being in pain.
AN ARGENTINIAN man has spent over $30,000 on cosmetic procedures in a bid to transform himself into his idol, Michael Jackson. Leo Blanco, from Buenos Aires, who performs as a Michael Jackson impersonator for a living, has undergone more than 11 plastic surgeries and numerous cosmetic procedures. Leo became obsessed with the singer as a child and decided then that he wanted to look like his hero. However, 11 plastic surgeries later, the 22-year-old admits he is still not content with his look and is going under the needle again.
CONJOINED twin boys are thriving one year after separation surgery. Twins Prince and Love were born joint at the stomach, and a shared liver, urinary bladder, intestines and fused pelvic bones. But in December 2017, 15 months after they were born, the siblings from Ghatkopar, India, were separated by surgeons at Wadia Children’s Hospital in Mumbai. Now, the hospital and family are celebrating a year since the twins have been separated as they continue to live healthily and happily.
A YOUNG WOMAN who suffers from alopecia refuses to wear a wig and claims her baldness has increased her confidence. Kylie Clowney, who resides in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, developed alopecia areata when she was just two years old and has been bald most of her life. The 23-year-old woman, who says that alopecia is her ‘strength, not a weakness’, supports others with the same condition and hopes to inspire more women with alopecia to start their own journey to self-love.
DESPITE there being only 155 known cases worldwide, a brother and sister BOTH live with progeria – an incredibly rare disease that makes them age too fast. Siblings Michiel and Amber Vandeweert have progeria, a genetic condition characterised by the signs of accelerated, and premature, ageing. Experiencing problems with their bones, teeth and hair growth, patients with progeria have a very short life expectancy with most not seeing out their teen years. But that hasn’t stopped Michiel, 20, and Amber, 12, living their best life together - the inspirational siblings from Belgium have truly defied all odds up to this point and show no signs of slowing down. Daredevil, Michiel, stands at just 4 foot 1 inch and loves to race around a track at Go Karting and snowboard with his friends. Amber, 3 foot 7 inches, has a great a passion for dancing and describes herself as playful. When Michiel was born, doctors said it was verging on impossible for the Vandeweert family to give birth to a second child who also had the disease, and so when Amber was diagnosed eight years after her brother, everyone fell into a state of shock. No one expected the siblings to be in this position, but they remain thankful to this day that they have each other as their greatest support.
MARRIED Melinda and Larry Mikla have an unconventional age gap in their relationship - of 30 years. The lovestruck pair get stares everywhere they go, from passers-by who think they are dad and daughter, or worse, a granddaughter and her grandpa. The pair met when retired police officer Larry was the first responder to a minor traffic incident involving Mindy’s car in Ohio, USA, in August 2012. Now the couple are trying for a baby, but don’t know if it will be possible due to Larry having a vasectomy 18 years ago.
A PERMANENT CLOWN in West Hollywood insists he has no regrets over his look and loves his entertainer lifestyle. Richie began modifying his face to look like a clown over 10 years ago, when he first moved to Hollywood working as a barber. Since then, Richie, who goes by the name ‘Richie the Barber’, has had silicone implants, a split tongue and numerous facial tattoos including a nose tipped in red, blue eyelids and a Cheshire cat grin. Despite his look terrifying some people, the 33-year-old doesn’t regret his decisions.
A HUSBAND and wife dubbed the UK’s transgender ‘power couple’ plan to start a family together. Despite getting married towards the beginning of 2018, Jake and Hannah Graf are only now moving into their first home together. The couple met three years ago, splitting their time between Jake’s west London flat and Hannah’s army barracks at Sandhurst. But now that Hannah has left the army, she can finally live permanently with her husband. The couple first connected over social media through mutual friends in the transgender community. Jake, an actor and director, transitioned 10 years ago, while Hannah, who joined the army as a man, serving in Royal Electrical Mechanical Engineers, began transitioning five years ago.
A BOY who has had constructive surgery to turn his ankle for a knee is dreaming of becoming a professional basketball player. Aiden Godoy, from Naples, Florida, was born with proximal femoral focal deficiency, or PFFD, which left him with a malformed right leg.The eight year old's parents were advised to amputate the leg but they refused and decided to explore a rotationplasty. Aiden had his lower leg and foot rotated 180 degrees, his tibia was fused to the proximal femur. His foot is positioned where the knee used to be, with the heel portion in front and the toes pointing back, the ankle now functions in place of the knee joint. Now Aiden is using his new leg to master basketball, swimming and riding in his families ATV’s.
A GENETIC mutation has caused a woman’s leg to swell to more than three times its normal size. Tawheeda Jan, aged 21, from Indian Administered Kashmir was born with Lymphatic Filariasis, a condition more commonly known as elephantiasis. Elephantiasis is typically characterized by thickening of the skin and subcutaneous tissue that causes grossly enlarged and swollen limbs. The condition has affected Tawheeda since birth but has worsened over time. Sadly, Tawheeda has never been able to wear shoes, and has even had her toes amputated to try and ease her discomfort, but still faces a daily struggle with the condition.
A YOUNG woman who was on a liquid diet for a year has finally been able to eat her beloved pasta again thanks to her ostomy bag. Charlotte Twinley, from Arundel, Sussex suffered such severe pain from her body’s inability to digest food that she had to resort to a liquid-only diet of meal replacement milkshakes for a whole year. In her teen years Charlotte was diagnosed with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (or EDS), a connective tissue disorder, which in Charlotte’s case affected her joints and also her gastroparesis in her digestive system. To make matters worse, because of the discomfort associated with eating, Charlotte started to reduce her food intake resulting in weight loss and an eating disorder. It’s only now, after receiving care for her mental health and the ostomy surgery that Charlotte feels happy with both her physical and mental health – and proud of the small pouch that has enabled her to eat again.
In 2018, BARCROFT TV has featured the most inspiring, shocking and heart-warming stories from across the world. From exploring the world of snake-handling churches, to getting sassy with killer plus-size dance troupes. Meeting everyone from inspiring transgender children, to people who proudly embrace their differences, such as a woman with a beard and a teen whose body is covered in 90 percent burns. To celebrate Barcroft TV’s 1.1 billion YouTube views, and an additional 2 million subscribers, we’ve collated our top 10 most viewed videos of the year and can now reveal our most incredible and inspirational figures of 2018.
HUMAN Ken doll Rodrigo Alves celebrates Christmas in Milan, by buying pairs of designer shoes for his friends and taking singing lessons for his budding singing career. Primarily known for his love of plastic surgery, Rodrigo Alves says he will spend 2019 focusing on launching a singing career - and has even set his sights on entering the Eurovision contest. Also known as the human Ken doll, Rodrigo has started singing lessons with vocal coach Laura Pesenti in Milan, Italy. During his time in the Italian style capital Rodrigo has also been getting into the festive spirit with some shoe shopping, making pizza for his friends - and of course finding time for a little cosmetic procedure: this time a Brazilian butt lift.
A 33-YEAR-OLD TWIN born with a curved spine, missing kidney and deformed arm is embracing his differences through comedy. Matty Oxley, an aspiring comedian from Middlesbrough, was born with VATER Syndrome, a set of birth defects that often occur together, and include the curvature of his spine, or scoliosis. However, this hasn’t stopped him from fulfilling his dream: for the past five years, Matty has been performing stand-up comedy and has recently opened his own comedy club.
A TEEN model has beaten the odds and has relearned to walk and talk after surviving a stroke age 12. Growing up with three older sisters, Rafi Solaiman was the typical younger brother: full of energy and enthusiasm he would run around the house, play sports in the garden and do whatever he could to wind up his siblings. All of that changed when aged 12, Rafi suffered a stroke and brain haemorrhage so severe it left his body in locked in syndrome. Rafi had to learn how to walk, talk - and even blink again. Now 18 years old, while Rafi is still affected by the stroke, he has an exciting future ahead of him.
A WOMAN is calling herself a ‘living doll’ after connecting to the dolls she uses in her art. Fifi, who goes by the name ‘Fifi Doll’, has been dressing like a doll for three years – and she’s almost always in pink. Although Fifi calls herself a living doll, she wants people to understand it’s more about identity and not performance. When it comes to her look, Fifi draws inspiration from ball-jointed dolls, as anyone of any shape can enjoy the look. Fifi always tries to incorporate her doll-style into her outfits, drawing inspiration from the antique look of lace, chiffon and soft fabrics.
DESPITE being born with a rare form of Primordial Dwarfism that affects just over a dozen people worldwide, 3”6 Monica Zaring continues to defy all the odds. Monica, 30, is currently the oldest female in the world to be living with Saul-Wilson Syndrome – a condition that has baffled doctors for decades. Saul-Wilson Syndrome is an extremely rare skeletal disorder characterised by a significantly short stature, a pronounced forehead, hearing loss and microcephaly – the appearance of a smaller head. Six years ago, Monica, who resides in Louisville, Kentucky, provided a sample of her DNA to doctors who were working on a groundbreaking study of Saul-Wilson Syndrome at the National Institute of Health. And in the latter stages of 2017, Monica’s years of heartache and unanswered questions were finally resolved, with doctors successfully identifying the root cause of her rare dwarfism.
A YOUNG WOMAN suffering from kidney failure has finally found a replacement organ – from the boyfriend she met on Tinder. 22-year-old Cheyenne HanLee, from Santa Ana, CA, met Gavin on Tinder after he ‘super-starred’ her. Just over two years later, he has saved her life by donating his kidney to her.
A FIERCE mum is wearing her severe burn scars like diamonds. Alyssa McDonald, 27, from Stillwater, Oklahoma, was severely burned at two years old when she accidentally pulled a pot of boiling butter off the stove and onto herself. She endured surgeries every other year until she was 17 and struggled to face her scars. But everything changed in high school when she woke up one day and decided enough was enough - she was going to learn to love her scars and ‘wear them like diamonds.'