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Toddler Born With Facial Deformity Becomes a Model

A little boy with a severe congenital condition has a new career as a fashion model.

Loui Legend
Loui Legend, a boy who was born with a severe congenital disease, is a fashion model, wearing one of the designs created in his honor. (Photo: courtesy of Karly Herriott)

Two-year-old Loui Legend was born with Treacher-Collins syndrome, a condition that affects the development of bones and other tissues of the face. Parents Luke and Karly Herriott of Brighton, England, weren’t aware of their son’s disorder, which occurs in one in 50,000 babies, until after he was born.

Loui’s case is extreme — his chin is small so he’s undergone a tracheostomy to help him breathe. His ears are deformed and he has no middle ear so he wears a hearing aid on a headband. He has a cleft palate that prevents him from sucking so he uses a feeding tube, and his eyes slant downward due to underdeveloped eye socket bones.

“We were very shocked when Loui was born — words can’t even describe that night,” mom Karly tells Yahoo Style.

The boy was named Loui Legend “as he is our little legend,” Karly wrote on a Go Fund Me page created to support the toddler’s lifelong medical bills. “He came into this world and shocked us both, but now we would never be without him. He’s our boy. When he looks up at us with his bright blue eyes and beaming smile, that’s all we see and makes all the hard work seem worth it.”

Loui Legend
Loui in one of his personalized T-shirts. (Photo: courtesy of Karly Herriott)

Loui has been chosen by Lulas Dudes & Dolls, an online store for handmade children’s clothing, as its brand ambassador. He’s currently featured on the store’s Instagram page, and last week, in the boy’s honor, the brand released a personalized T-shirt that read “Legend” on the front and “Loui’s Army” on the back. The shirt is available in gold/khaki and black/camo, and 50 percent of the proceeds will be donated to Loui’s Go Fund Me account.

Loui’s modeling career began in 2016, when Karly bought a statement T-shirt for her son at Lulas, and on a whim, she emailed the company a photo of Loui wearing it. “When Karly sent us the photo of Loui, we posted it on our Instagram page and it sold very quickly — he definitely wore it well,” co-founder Lauren Brown tells Yahoo Style. “Whenever we post a photo of Loui, it gets hundreds of likes.”

Loui is “blissfully unaware of his fame,” Karly told Yahoo Stye. “But he has a brilliant character and humor, which wins the hearts of everyone he meets. He’s spurred on by our love and is a laugh a minute. He’s a funny little boy.”

Loui’s modeling career has been a surprise to his parents; however, Karly is honored that Lula’s chose their son to represent children with differences. And it’s fortunate that modeling comes easy to Loui. Says Karly, “He just carries himself well in whatever I dress him.”

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