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Model born with “Cat Eye Syndrome” stars in stunning high-fashion photoshoot

Be confident and shine like a star in your own way.

Caitin Stickels, 29, is a Seattle-based model/actress/singer who was born with Schmid-Fraccaro syndrome, or cat eye syndrome — a rare chromosomal disorder that can cause facial disfigurements such as a cleft palate and an absence of tissue from the colored part of the eyes, which gives those with the syndrome a “cat-like” appearance.

While Stickels may not conform to the fashion industry’s “traditional” beauty standards, she’s currently featured in an absolutely stunning editorial for V magazine, having been discovered on Instagram and then shot by much-famed photographer Nick Knight.

“Working with Nick Knight at SHOWstudio for V Magazine was something I couldn’t have even dreamed of, to be perfectly honest,” Stickels wrote in a profile for the magazine. “I never dreamed of being a model or being a part of the fashion industry. I always admired from afar and meanwhile tried to recreate my own expressions through fashion, photography, and art… This collaboration has been the most beautiful whirlwind of my life.”