At age 26, you might expect to find a fine line or two when you look in the mirror. Sara Geurts, however, sees wrinkles all over her body — and she thinks they’re beautiful.
Geurts was 10 years old when she was diagnosed with a connective-tissue disorder called Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. Although there are more than a dozen versions of this condition, the types Geurts has are classical and dermatosparaxis, the latter of which has compromised the collagen in her skin. This causes her skin to sag and fold in such a way that it resembles that of someone much older.
“In high school, I just tried to cover it up,” Geurts recalled in a recent interview with Barcroft TV. It was only a few years ago that she overcame her self-consciousness and started looking at herself, and her rare condition, with a newfound perspective and pride.
“It wasn’t about ’til age 22 [or] 23 that I started to look at myself and my body in a completely different way — just the uniqueness and the rarity and the way the lines form, and just the art that is made from the patterns that are there. It’s amazing,” she said. “It makes me so sad that I looked at it as this ugly thing at one point in time.”
To prove that she’s proud of the skin she’s in, Geurts has taken up modeling. She posts unapologetically body-positive Instagram photos of herself in lingerie and swimwear — a far cry from her early 20s, when she was reluctant to wear tank tops.
“My main aspiration for modeling would be to break society’s standards, and the mentality that they have for perfection and to really show that it is your imperfections and your uniqueness that is the true beauty,” Geurts said.
Geurts has been showing off and speaking out about her skin for the last couple of years, and the response has been inspiring. When the now-defunct “Love Your Lines” Instagram account shared a picture of her in 2015, it received over 25,000 likes. An essay she wrote for The Mighty in 2016 included her email address, and she does her best to respond to the many messages she has received as a result.
Her self-assurance has only grown as she continues to openly embrace how Ehlers-Danlos affects her body, but Geurts has found that hers isn’t the only confidence she can boost through modeling.
“My mission is to show the world my own imperfections to aid others on the journey to self-love. Real beauty lies within ourselves,” she wrote for The Mighty. “By reinforcing the mindset that our imperfections are real and beautiful, I hope to lessen the journey and struggle of others on the road to self-love.”