A 19-year-old's bikini photo went viral. And this is why it matters.

The bikini selfie that went viral for all the right reasons.

A young girl posts a photo of herself on a beach, in a bikini. Nothing out of the ordinary, right?

So what was so special about this photo of 19-year-old Isa-Bella Leclair? If you merely take a glance, you might miss it. If you look a little longer, it still might take you a second.

parkes weber syndrome picture
(Picture: John LeBlanc / Barcroft USA)

Isa-Bella has Parkes Webber Syndrome, a genetic condition which causes extreme swelling in the extremities. The Telegraph UK reports, the condition caused the Canadian woman’s right leg to swell to twice its normal size, weighing approximately 18 kilograms.


The condition prevents Isa-bella from wearing form-fitting clothing on her bottom half, and from participating in sports, but clearly she has not allowed it to impact her confidence.

“My condition doesn’t define me and there’s no way I would let it stop me from wearing a cute swimsuit or a cute dress, she told the Telegraph. “For me confidence is the most important part because when people see someone confident in their body – even with a disability – they don’t have pity but instead admiration.”

Related: Authentic, surprising, empowering. A fashion campaign without a model in sight.

Determined not to be held back, last month, Isa-Bella won a beauty pageant in her hometown of Campbellton in New Brunswick, Canada.

“For me, beauty isn’t just on the outside,” she said. “When I say someone is beautiful I see someone who makes you feel good when you’re around them.”

Isa-Bella’s condition is caused by her lymphatic system, which fails to return any fluid it sends to the limb, resulting in the swelling. Sufferers of Parkes Weber Syndrome have a greater number of capillaries and arteries, causing their hearts to work harder than most.

Isa-Bella speaks candidly about her mission to redefine beauty standards in this video:


Remember the UK disabled model contest? Here’s the winner.

Finally. Some diversity in modelling.