By Danny Baggott @Dan_Baggie
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Videographer / director: Frank S. Bauer
Producer: Danny Baggott, James Thorne
Editor: Thom Johnson
Marika Nagy, 21, lives with Congenital Melanocytic Nevus, an extremely rare skin condition that affects just one percent of infants worldwide.
Marika, who resides in Bremen, Germany, had to undergo seven skin removal surgeries in order to survive past birth and she has always been much more prone to skin cancer.
Despite the years of bullying throughout her school life, Marika now describes herself as a model, Instagrammer and young mother – and she thanks her baby boy for her newly found confidence.
Marika told Barcroft TV: “I seem to be a kind of new way of beauty standard. It’s amazing.
“My condition is very rare. It’s only one in 500,000 born babies that look exactly the same way I do.
“I’m trying to show the real me. To be authentic.
“And I think that’s actually my own little personal key to success.”
Marika’s father, Axel Nagy, was very surprised to learn of his daughter’s condition. All of her scans up until birth, showed Marika to be a completely healthy baby.
Axel said: “When Marika was born, it was definitely a shock. Up to that moment, everything was good. It was normal.
“Then the doctor came and said, ‘okay, something is different with your daughter’.
“And he showed me Marika covered with a towel. He opened it up and then I saw all of her spots.
“The doctor said there is a 50 percent chance she could die.”
Despite the not so certain odds, Marika battled on and managed to survive the seven skin removals that she so desperately needed.
But that wasn’t the end of the heartache for the Nagy family – with Marika having to endure years of bullying as a child and teenager.
Axel continued: “There were many bullying situations. They were very hard to deal with.
“We felt helpless. We did not know how to assist her. It was a hard time for the whole family.”
Marika added: “People called me names like 'Dalmatian, ugly, dirty, not worthy' and other things I can’t bring myself to mention.
“Growing up with my condition was very hard. I had to just try and deal with the bullying and the depression that would come from that.
“I didn’t have many friends. I think the biggest issue was feeling alone.”
Thankfully, Marika soon found happiness with the birth of her son, Milan – a healthy little boy who managed to restore her confidence after so many years of heartache.
She said: “The bullying happened in school, so when I finished, that was kind of like a major point for me to increase my self-acceptance and confidence a lot.
“It was just a chapter being closed. But of course with my son, my confidence increased even more.
“I’m a single mother at quite a young age and I am coping much better than I thought.
“My son is bubbly, cheeky and very happy.
“Doctors told me that I could not pass on my condition to my child, but to be honest, I didn’t believe anything until I saw it.
“So on the day he was born, the first thing I did was check him all over and when I saw he was fine, I took a deep breath and said ‘okay’.”
Ever since her son’s birth in January 2018, Marika has been far more motivated to make something out of her condition and prove all of her doubters wrong.
And in the last couple of months in particular, Marika has started her journey into the modelling world and has already achieved success with a number of clients, including underwear brand Tizz & Tonic.
“I am only at the beginning of my career, but I’ve had a lot of jobs for local photographers and companies already,” Marika said.
“Nothing major yet, but I have done shoots for clothing stores in my lingerie. Which is really exciting and lets me fully embrace my condition.
“I only started a couple of months back and seeing the kind of reactions and interests in me, even with my condition, is really great.”
In addition to her modelling, Marika is very keen to raise awareness online about her condition – regularly posting uplifting messages on Instagram to her followers.
She wants to help others who suffer with her condition and may be experiencing a bad time.
“I think beauty means diversity and beauty doesn’t come in one size, one colour, one shape. It comes in a variety of other and I’m actually quite proud of the way I look today,” Marika said.
“I am very proud to see how far I have come in such a short amount of time and I want to now try my best to help anyone who doesn’t feel that way.”