By Dan Howlett @DanHowlett85

A MODEL has hit the big time despite suffering from a rare genetic condition that severely affects her appearance

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Videographer / Director: Ruaridh Connellan

Producer: Jack McKay, Nick Johnson

Editor: Ian Phillips, Sonia Estal

Vogue: Melanie has been modelling for around four years

Melanie Gaydos was born with Ectodermal Dysplasia, an illness that has left her hair, teeth and skin not properly developed.

She often draws stares from other models that are not used to her unconventional look while on set.

The 26-year-old said: “Other industry models typically don’t know what to make of me – they don’t understand why I am there.

Hairless: The condition affects Melanie's teeth, hair and skin
Suicidal: Melanie was so unhappy that she considered suicide as a teenager

“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.”

Melanie has showcased her look around the world and claims her newfound confidence comes from modelling - but she has not always been so happy.

“Growing up I didn’t really have a lot of friends, added Melanie.

“As a child I faced a lot of bullying and a lot of people stared at me.

Covering up: She wore wigs for most of her life but stopped when she started modelling
High flying: She began her modelling career when she moved to New York City

“When I was about 16 I was really depressed and suicidal I didn’t really want to live - I didn’t think that I would be alive past the age of 18. “

But her modelling career started to take off when she posed for her photographer boyfriend after moving to New York City four years ago.

International travel: Melanie is now modelling around the world
Heavy metal: Her first major gig was for German band Rammstein

She added: “I ended up meeting and starting a lot of my fashion work based off of Craigslist because there were a lot of fashion photographers on there who were looking for models who didn't have a stereotypical look.

“My very first professional job was with the band German heavy metal band Rammstein – that was a lot of fun.

Drawing stares: The other models often wonder why Melanie is on set
Ectodermal Dysplasia: The condition is estimated to affect seven in every 10,000 people

“I may have had some diva moments on set - if someone treats me a certain way I will revert it to them, do unto others as they do to you – that’s my motto.”

Despite her happiness at having a successful career her condition has never 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,” added Melanie.

“Ectodermal Dysplasia means my pores are very small and I have very little body hair.

Fashion: She works for photographers who are looking for an unconventional look
Vogue: Melanie has been modelling for around four years

“I do grow a little bit of hair on top of my head, but I also have alopecia, which is a symptom of the condition.

“I only have three baby teeth at the moment - I grew baby teeth but because of how Ectodermal Dysplasia affects my bones and my body’s development. My baby teeth grew in and then they promptly started decaying.”

But she remains happy with her career choice and hopes it will inspire others who don’t have the typical look.

Lonely: Melanie did not have many friends when she was younger and was severely bullied

Melanie added: “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 realise that not everything is about the way that you look and the way that you’re born.

"I just started modelling as a means to learn more about myself - I never thought that it would journey into where it has today.

“Now I’m a full time model and actress and able to travel the world. I’m flown to different countries to do different projects it’s really amazing.”