Brazilian Girl’s Rare Genetic Condition & Sparkling Blue Eyes Launched Her Modeling Career

April 26, 2019 Updated: May 1, 2019

When 13-year-old Ketellen de Jesus was born, her mother was convinced she’d been swapped with another baby in the hospital.

The Brazilian-born girl is black, but was born with icy, brilliant blue eyes. They’re absolutely stunning but are a genetic anomaly given her coloring—which made her parents wonder if she hadn’t somehow gotten switched with another baby born somewhere in the hospital.

Her eyes weren’t the only thing about her that was unique, though. Baby Ketellen was also born completely deaf, which her mother discovered when she slept soundly through a fireworks show.

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Olá 👂

Bài viết do Ketellen de Jesus (@ketellendejesus) chia sẻ vào

It turned out, though, that her unique eyes and her hearing loss went hand in hand. De Jesus was born with a rare genetic condition called Waardenburg syndrome, which can both cause deafness and change pigmentation in hair, skin, and eyes. Most individuals with the syndrome, which was discovered in 1947 and affects just 1 out of every 40,000 people born worldwide, have these same startling but stunning blue eyes that de Jesus boasts.

The young girl’s family was unable to afford treatment for her hearing deficiency, but she grew up with a smile and an optimistic outlook that opened up doors. Then, when she was shopping with her mom one day, a talent agent spotted her in the crowd—and her life changed forever.

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Bài viết do Ketellen de Jesus (@ketellendejesus) chia sẻ vào

De Jesus was approached by photographer João Pedro Sampaio at a supermarket, where Sampaio asked if she was interested in modeling. Her coloring contrasted with her striking eyes in a way that he knew would garner widespread attention if she went into the modeling industry.

Intrigued, her family gave permission—and before long, she was a worldwide sensation.

De Jesus is now represented by the NMA Modeling Agency in Brazil, where she’s quickly developed a talent for letting her bright, bubbly personality shine through in pictures. She’s clearly stunning, with gorgeous skin and those hauntingly unique eyes, but it’s her bright smile and clear joy that really make her pictures stand out more than anything else.

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Bài viết do Ketellen de Jesus (@ketellendejesus) chia sẻ vào

Now, she’s managed to amass over 51,000 followers on Instagram, ringing in her teen years this past month with a massive following and plenty of support. She’s garnered attention for her positivity and the awareness she brings to her condition, which isn’t life-threatening but remains underrepresented in the overall conversation about genetic disorders and how they can affect everyday life.

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Bài viết do Ketellen de Jesus (@ketellendejesus) chia sẻ vào

There’s no telling whether she’ll continue to model into adulthood or if she’ll choose another path with her life. The popularity of her photographs will likely help boost her family’s financial situation, enabling her to consider educational paths and career choices that may not have been possible before she was discovered by Sampaio.

No matter what she chooses to do with her life, though, this young girl is clearly a bright star who’s going to go far on whatever path she chooses to take. And thanks to the way she’s stared down stereotypes and pushed them aside, she’s managed to pave the way for others to come after her and be their best, most unique selves!

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