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Two sisters are proving beauty is more than skin deep.
Asia Williams, 22, and India Walls, 20, were born with Treacher Collins Syndrome, which affects the bones and tissues in the face.
The sisters, from Marion, Ohio, inherited the syndrome from their mother, Nicole, who taught her daughters to embrace their unique beauty.
Despite their mother trying to install confidence in the girls, years of cruel bullying left them questioning if they even wanted to live.
Now comfortable with their appearances, the girls, who have tens of thousands of Instagram followers, post pictures on social media to encourage others to embrace their uniqueness.
Ms Williams told Barcroft TV: ‘The advice that I would give to other people is never compare yourself because comparing yourself is what’s going to destroy you.’
Ms Walls added: ‘Just love yourself!’
Sisters Asia Williams (left) and India Walls are proving beauty is more than skin deep
The girls were born with Treacher Collins Syndrome, which affects facial bones and tissues
Their mother Nicole (pictured third from left with their siblings Melakyi, Malik, Makai and Malkia) has the same condition and has always told the girls they are beautiful
What is Treacher Collins syndrome?
- Treacher Collins (TC) syndrome affects the development of bones and other tissues in the face.
- Most sufferers will have underdeveloped facial bones, most notably the cheekbones, and a very small jaw and chin.
- Some people born with the condition are also born with a cleft palate.
- In severe cases, underdevelopment of the facial bones may restrict an affected infant’s airway, causing potentially life-threatening respiratory problems.
- People with TC often have eyes that slant downwards, sparse eyelashes, and notch in the lower eyelid, known as an eyelid coloboma.
- Some affected individuals can lose their vision.
- The syndrome is characterised by absent, small or unusually formed ears, and hearing loss occurs in around half of all sufferers.
‘We were told we were beautiful no matter what’
Speaking of her and her sister’s condition, Ms Williams said: ‘I won’t say that it has affected us negatively just because we were brought up and told that we were beautiful no matter what.
‘We just took it upon ourselves and just started posting pictures and just started being us and it affected us in a really positive way.’
Nicole added: ‘My girls showing and sharing their story on social media, to me, it is a blessing because some people just need to hear other people’s stories.
‘They have some strong confidence within themselves where some might not have confidence in themselves but my girls have confidence.
‘As a mother to Asia and India, it makes me very proud of them. People are looking up to them and they are admiring them – I even learn from them.’
Although now comfortable in their own skin, years of cruel bullying affected their self esteems
Nicole said she is very proud of her daughters and even learns self confidence from them
‘I didn’t want to be on this earth’
Speaking of the bullying she endured, Ms Walls said: ‘It was really bad to the point where I didn’t want to come to school I would tell my mom “can
I stay at home? I don’t want to go to school”.
‘When I looked at other children back at my childhood, I’d be like “why are we different from everyone else? Why is everyone else look normal and I look like this?”
‘I would just come home and look at myself in the mirror and be like “why do I look like this? What do I have?”
‘It was just crazy and it came to a point where I didn’t want to be on this earth anymore, so I had to like take a moment to myself to step up and be okay, this is life.
‘This is what the world’s gonna be, so I can’t keep hiding myself in a dark room, I have got to come out.’
As youngsters the girls did not want to go to school and wished they looked like everyone else
They would look in the mirror and ask themselves why they had to be different
The girls (pictured with their family) eventually realised they could not hide away
‘They are beautiful’
The girls’ syndrome has caused them to both face health issues, with Ms Walls struggling with her breathing and requiring a feeding tube as a baby.
Yet, the sisters have never let their disorder hold them back and have found strength from the support of their friends.
Friend Otis Vaughn said: ‘It’s a very huge impact for them to get out there and let everybody know, “hey it’s okay”.’
Childhood friend Alexis Williams added: ‘Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and to me when I look at them they are beautiful to me.
‘Their personality is beautiful, they are very generous, they put themselves last.’