Friday, April 20, 2018

23-Year-Old Refuses To Have Birthmark Removed Despite Being Bullied For Years

This dancer is taking a stand to show women and young girls everywhere that everybody is beautiful.

It's not despite her flaws but because of them that Cassandra Naud is such a unique and memorable dancer. She encourages everyone to embrace the things that set them apart because standing out is a good thing.

Though she was bullied in school, she is glad that she looks the way that she does. "I know some people might feel sorry for me, but I'm confident in how I look." Her message is a powerful one.

SHARE this story on Facebook to show your support for everyone who doesn't look "perfect."

Meet Cassandra Naud.

Cassandra is a 23-year-old dancer from Canada who currently lives in Los Angeles.

The first thing you notice about her might be her great hair or dazzling smile — but it's likely her birthmark.

At birth, her parents, France and Richard, were given the option to have it removed.

"As my birthmark sunk through several layers of skin, plastic surgery was the only option for removal. Doctors gave my parents a choice, warning them there could be scarring or I could be left with a lazy eye," Cassandra said.

Cassandra is happy with her parents' decision.

Though they made it when she was an infant, that decision has really impacted the young adult she has become. "I'm so glad my parents chose to leave my birthmark as it's part of who I am. Having a birthmark distinguishes me — and I don't feel that it has ever held me back," she said. Cassandra told People, "I feel like it’s been such a positive thing in my life."

But it wasn't always so easy to embrace. 

"I was teased when I was in elementary school," Cassandra told interviewers. Students would taunt and even threaten her, "'You'll get beat up in high school' and 'The hair on your cheek is gross,' Their cruel remarks were hard to deal with and I'd often fight back tears. I felt ugly — even if only for that moment — and I was terrified of how I'd be treated once I got to high school."

As a 13-year-old desperate to fit in, she told her mother she wanted the surgery.

"I told my mom that I wanted to remove my birthmark. My parents were shocked but understanding of my decision and immediately booked an appointment with a plastic surgeon."

"I was going into high school and didn’t know what the reaction would be," Cassandra explained. "We made the appointment, and then right after I changed my mind."

"It was a moment of madness," and she ultimately decided to stay true to herself.

She hasn't looked back or regretted that she came to embrace her individuality.

And she won't let it hold her back from pursuing her passion. After graduating high school, she went on to the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in Los Angeles, California, where she danced and starred in musicals on stage.

It's a pretty shallow industry, and her birthmark sets her apart — but sometimes it helps her. "It definitely helps people remember me," Cassandra said. "It makes me unique and memorable, which is especially important for the career I've chosen."

Though not everybody is open-minded, she doesn't let it get her down anymore. 

"I don't often face prejudice, but one agent told me to Photoshop my birthmark out of my head shots. Wanting to please, I agreed at first, despite feeling shocked they'd asked. But then I changed my mind." She's not pretending to be anybody else. "A lot of roles require the performers to have a certain appearance. I'm never going to be hired by Disney, for example, because they want the 'perfect' look but I'm OK with that."

While she might not be getting any Disney parts, she did land a role in the Nickelodeon movie Rags.

Appreciate what makes you unique and surround yourself with people who can see you for you.

If she has any advice for young girls struggling with any aspect of their appearance, it would be this: "People should appreciate their individuality. Times are changing, so don't worry about looking normal. Don't let bullies stop you and be proud of your uniqueness." And don't change the things that make you who you are. "Something like this, like a birthmark, it’s not negative. You have to see the positive, let go, and know that it’s okay."


Author: verified_user