BY NICOLAS FERNANDES
A fashion designer who had no friends as a child and was called “monster” by bullies has found confidence thanks to ten surgeries.
Brittny Lopez, 29, of Los Angeles, California, USA, was born with several cysts in her face due to her rare condition Cystic Hygroma.
The birth defect, caused by an error in the lymph sacs and vessels during pregnancy, left her with an enlarged face and led her to be isolated as a child.
Bullies would call her offensive names like “monster” and “ugly” and even the classmates that were nicer to her still wouldn’t let her join their friend group.
After having most of the growths removed, she started to make friends in high school and was able to start loving herself for who she is.
While signs of Cystic Hygroma remain on her face, Brittny is no longer afraid to walk into a room and say hello to everyone.
She also decided to pursue a career in fashion despite it being known as a ‘superficial industry’.
Brittny needs to do extra to prove to others in her field that her facial differences do not hold her back.
She said: “From a young age, I was isolated from strangers and everyone in school.
“Nobody would be my friend and a lot of people called me mean names. I became my own best friend.
“Luckily my family was very accepting of the way I looked and I was very close with my grandparents.
“As I got more surgeries, I started to feel more confident and started making some friends in high school.
“I’m very social by nature. Even before I had the surgeries, I was very friendly on the inside, but how I looked on the outside didn’t reflect that.
“I still don’t look 100 percent normal. People ask me all the time why my chin looks different, but I’m totally confident when talking to people.
“The fashion industry is very blunt. The more beautiful you are, the more they like you. I constantly have to fight to prove myself.”
While Brittny does struggles, the designer is confident that she will go very far in her field.
She said: “I’m always showing them my highest abilities. I know there will be opportunities to branch out and get even more creative.”
Brittny has a cyst growing in her left cheek that made her jaw larger than average, she says the condition is usually not noticeable to strangers at first.
Rather than looking at her and thinking that she has a condition right away, people notice her facial differences later on and are often confused about what causes them.
Brittny said: “They don’t notice it immediately. My face does look very square, but they can’t tell that it’s a condition I was born with.”
But the fashion designer says the facial differences have made job interviews very difficult for her in the past.
She said: “Job interviews are competitive as it is, so when you look different, it makes it even more nerve racking.”
Brittny would also like to make new friends, but that is also something that is more difficult for her.
She feels that others don’t want to be seen in public with her.
Brittny said: “It’s just so difficult finding new friends. People don’t want to be seen with someone like me in public.
“I think everyone is all about who they hang out with and how they are perceived. There’s been so many times that I think someone likes me, but they won’t invite me when they’re going out in a group.”