Human Mannequin teen conquers beauty and fashion industry

Louise Wedderburn is an eighteen year old girl with lots of dreams and aspirations like any other teen, but what makes her special is a rare genetic disease called Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva (FOP) that causes her joints to freeze, her muscles to turn into bones and gives her the appearance of a human mannequin. Louise took part in a documentary aired on Channel 4, to raise awareness of FOP and to show that her illness will never stop her from doing what she wants to do.

Because of her condition Louise finds extremely difficult to move, as her joints are locked into place, she is not able to reach up or down and even sitting down become a challenge for her. Her disorder was diagnosed when she was three, but became evident just during puberty. Abnormal bone formation and calcification cause joints to block, paralysing the body into an unnatural position and eventually constraining the person affected into a wheelchair.

Louise hasn’t been able to attend school and during her long days at home she escaped into the world of fashion and beauty. Since she was a child she had a keen eye for design and through glossy magazines and dedicated websites she kept up to date with the latest trends, practicing to become a make-up artist. Her whole life has been revolving around looking good and now that she feels ready to pursuit her dream career in beauty and fashion, will such an industry be ready for a person like her?

Being good at her job will be enough for Louise or the stigma of her illness will be dictating the way people will look at her? Working in such a judgemental world can be daunting even for people without a disability, because of the perception of beauty and normality that everybody commonly has. People have different reactions to diversity and not always acceptance is one of them, but as shown in the documentary, Louise is putting a brave face and challenges both the industry and herself, by landing a physically demanding job at London Fashion Week, and a work experience placement at Elle magazine.

She pushes against the barriers of prejudice bringing her disability right in the world of fashion, where any unusual body features is being judged and rejected and she negotiates her way into the industry, counting only on her dress sense and hard working. Louise is an inspiration for any of us, as not only she looks great and she has an amazing style, but she also fights to succeed in what she believes in.

After confronting herself with the biggest critics of the beauty industry, Louise has finally achieved her dream to set up her own business at home, Peaches & Roses, and writing her own fashion blog. With great perseverance she’s managing to live her life to the fullest, not letting her condition to get in the way of her career and doing what she does best. And this is pure beauty.

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