By Shannon Lane @shannonroselane

A TEENAGER is embracing her birth defect by appearing in a campaign for self-love

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Videographer / director: Marcus Hessenberg
Producer: Shannon Lane, Ruby Coote
Editor: Marcus Cooper

Zainab Mohammed from London was born with proximal femoral focal deficiency - a rare birth defect affecting the bones in her leg, causing her femur not to grow properly.

According to UK Charity, Steps, causes of PFFD are unknown, but it is known that it does not run in families. It causes difficulty to walk without a prosthetic or shoe raise, and surgery is sometimes necessary.

School was difficult for Zainab and she endured rude remarks, stares and being treated differently.

The 17-year-old told Barcroft TV: "Being in a school wasn’t the best. The names they used to call me were: Prosthetic girl, Peg-Leg, Disabled Girl.

"I was vey self-conscious of my leg I would wear long skirts. I would try to hide it as much as I would.

"Obviously, there are people who are going to say negative things. There is always going to be that one person. And it was just basically difficult for someone that was as young as I was as well, hearing people
call you names.

"It’s hard for me to walk, it causes a lot of pain and to other people it’s a problem for them, they don’t know how to look at someone with a difference.

"I think my prosthetic does identify me because I walk differently from other people, so they’re like 'oh look, she walks really weirdly.’

"But now, I just don’t care anymore. If you try so hard to hide something, it makes it more noticeable. This is the first one I’ve had that’s not my actual skin colour, because I didn’t see anything to hide."

Zainab has found writing poetry and creating artwork has helped her to accept her condition.

She said: “The disability takes over everything, like every single thing. I think I’m learning every day to love myself, there’s some days that I feel I look disgusting and there’s some days where I’m like, you know what, chin up.”

And recently Zainab further embraced her insecurities by doing a photoshoot for a self love campaign for clothing brand, NuNude.

She said: "I’m learning everyday to love myself. It’s not easy to say you love yourself completely 100% because no one actually does feel that way every single day.

"It was great to see all these women stand up for not just themselves but for each other. When they come together is evident of one thing out of the window, discrimination.

“The shoot made me realise that you can actually lay your insecurities naked for everyone to see, and once they see that, there’s nothing they can use against you because they feel like you’re proud of it. It was a very amazing experience for me.

Zainab already has published a book containing her poetry, titled 'PFFD: People Fear For Disabled". She hopes that she can continue her own journey of acceptance, as well as help others in her situation.

She said: “Now that I’m standing out, if I embrace it maybe other people can embrace it. I just want to be a role model for loads of disabled people.

“I don’t want to be like anyone else anymore, I want to be different."