A 26-year-old woman, whose rare genetic condition caused her to be tormented so badly that she felt suicidal, has silenced her critics and become a model.

Melanie Gaydos, who has ectodermal dysplasia which prevented her hair, teeth and skin from developing properly, launched her career four years ago after moving to New York City, the Daily Express reported.

“When I’m Melanie the model I’m really fierce and fearless. I’m free to do whatever I feel when I’m in front of the camera – I can behave however I like,” Gaydos told the Daily Express.

She credits Craigslist with helping her get her start, as she found many photographers who were looking for models to break the mold.

“My very first professional job was with the German heavy metal band Rammstein, that was a lot of fun,” Gaydos told the Daily Express.

Despite her success and the happiness she has found through modeling, she said her condition has not gotten easier to deal with.

“A lot of people treat me differently, as though I was mentally challenged or inferior to them. In reality ectodermal dysplasia is a physical condition,” Gaydos told the news site.

The condition caused her to only have three baby teeth, and very little body hair.

She told the Daily Express that she hopes her career will inspire others.

“It’s really nice for me to be able to show other people that there are people who are born differently than themselves and to realize that not everything is about the way that you look and the way that you’re born,” Gaydos told the Daily Express.

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