Ilka Brühl, a model who was born with a congenital facial deformity, is defying expectations of beauty

Nobody should ever receive a different level of treatment simply because of how they appear.

Unfortunately, both children and adults engage in this behaviour frequently, and it is never appropriate. Ask Ilka Brühl, who was born with the uncommon genetic condition ectodermal dysplasia, which had an impact on her facial form.


The German student, who was subjected to cruel slurs at school, eventually wished she could somehow turn invisible. At the same time, she excelled in school and ultimately understood that sharing her own experience could benefit others.

Ilka is now a published author and model. She strives to inspire individuals to see their inner beauty and embrace one another for who they are through social media and a podcast she hosts.

Here is her amazing tale and this is how she seems at the age of 30.


I want you, the reader, to take a moment to consider your life when you were 16 years old. I myself remember a lot of that time, both good and awful. Overall, though, it was a moment of great change. I had to contend with increased hormone levels, a deluge of emotions, and occasionally even thinking difficulties.

Due to her lack of confidence and self-esteem, Ilka found it difficult to make acquaintances.

She had ten operations, and even though she struggled with accepting herself, things started to improve over time. She quickly transformed into a self-assured woman who wished to serve as an example for others after realising that she wasn’t less valuable than everyone else.


In 2014, when she was en route to her first picture shoot, everything changed.

She stated, as quoted by Insider, “I was on the edge of turning around numerous times on the way to [the photographer] because I was so frightened that she would laugh at me when she saw me in real life.”

Being in front of the camera has taught me that it’s good to accept that you have flaws and mistakes. Simply make the most of it, she advised.


Ilka had a nose job when she was 20 years old. Ilka initially believed the procedure would finally give her the guts to embrace herself, however it was largely for medical reasons.

“As soon as the wounds were healed, I saw the following flaw. I came to the realisation that beauty cannot be made on an operating table at that precise time, Ilka told BILD.

“For me, appearance is the essence of [beautiful]. It’s nicer than the most perfect person who doesn’t like themselves to glow from within if you accept yourself.

Ilka understood there were other things she could do instead of modifying her appearance through additional procedures. It was more important for her to learn to accept herself than for others to view her as a “normal” person.

“I became more approachable and improved my self-esteem. And realised: “I retreat from them; the others don’t at all!”


Ilka was aware of her “odd” appearance, but this was not a bad thing. She preferred to value her peculiarities. The woman, who was born in Germany, wanted to share her hardships and life experiences because she recognised she might help people accept themselves for who they are.

So Brühl published a podcast about how she deals with self-doubt. She also offers advice on how to love oneself more. Even her book, Differently Beautiful – How I Learned to Love Myself, has been released.

Project Grenzenlos, which translates to Project Limitless, was founded by her and a few pals in 2018. The goal of the campaign is to draw attention to the beauty of those who deal with physical disabilities and other deformities. It fits with Ilka Brühl’s definition of beauty.

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