Teen who suffered horrendous bullying because of his disfigured nose becomes top model

Justin Stewart, 19, has been signed by We Speak Model Management, (Picture: Justin Stewart/

A teenager who suffered horrendous abuse at the hands of bullies over his disfigured nose has become a signed fashion model. Justin Stewart, 19, is celebrating landing his dream job thanks to the unique facial feature that previously saw him taunted over his appearance.

Justin, from Elizabeth in New Jersey, was signed by New York-based agency We Speak Model Management last month after being scouted on Instagram. He is now being lined up to work for prestigious brands including Tommy Hilfiger, Wrangler, and British shoe store Office. The teen was born without a fully formed nose due to a form of cleft, frontonasal dysplasia, a condition so rare only an estimated 100 people are thought to have had it.

Justin, who will study communications at college from fall, said: ‘I was contacted for a test shoot by an agency on Instagram and to be honest, I felt so uncomfortable in front of the camera and it just didn’t feel natural at all.

Justin was signed by We Speak Model Management in June 2020. (Picture: Justin Stewart/

‘Then I was approached by We Speak earlier this year and they asked me to go New York for a test shoot with them before signing, it was so surreal.

‘I never thought I’d ever find myself in this position, it’s beyond my wildest dreams. I don’t have any set goals and am just going to take every chance I am given.

‘This just shows that people can not dictate your future, words hurt but anything is possible if you want it enough. I want to be the best I can be and am going to give this 110%.’

The teenager added: ”After I signed for We Speak my mom told me it was my nose that made me unique and helped me stand out from the crowd. Some friends have said it’s part of the reason why I got signed.’

Justin, who is set to study communications at Jacksonville College, Alabama in the fall, is a facial differences advocate and has proactively raised awareness of frontonasal dysplasia on Instagram. It was this advocacy that led to him being approached by a modeling agency last year, and invited to a test shoot.

Justin Stewart

It was organized in part by America’s Next Top Model’s former contestant, Khrystyana Kazakova, who finished 3rd in the 2018 series of the reality TV show.

Justin said: ‘Khrystyana coached me through the shoots and made me feel very comfortable, she gave me a lot of encouragement and it felt good.

‘It was a crazy experience for me and I did have fun.’

Whilst Justin was given a taste of modeling at the start of 2019, his big break didn’t come until a year later, in January this year, when he was contacted by We Speak Model Management. The New York based agency provide models to some of the biggest brands in the world, including Adidas and Target.

Last month, Justin signed his first ever modeling contract and visited Union, in New Jersey for his debut photo shoot.

Justin said: ‘To be where I am now, as a signed model in New York City, it feel crazy man. It’s kind of ironic how I was called all these crazy names about my face, but here I am standing in front of a camera.

‘It’s the biggest achievement in my life so far.’

Justin was thrilled to be signed as a model after suffering at the hands of school bullies over his appearance. He was born prematurely with frontonasal dysplasia, a condition characterized by the abnormal development of the head and face before birth. It is caused by mutated genes passed onto children by both parents and in Justin’s case, that meant being born with a disfigured nose.

Justin, left, pictured with his twin brother, Jordan, as toddlers. (Picture: Justin Stewart/
Justin was bullied by classmates in school because of the way he looks. (Picture: Justin Stewart/

He said: ‘When I was born my nose wasn’t really a nose, it was just a lump of skin with nostrils. I have always been content with the way I look but school was rough for me.

‘I was treated as an equal by my family and when I left that space and entered the real world at school, it was a massive shock. I was called some crazy stuff by other kids, they said I looked like Lord Voldemort out of Harry Potter, and that just killed me.

‘It took a massive toll on me and I started to believe that what the kids were telling me was true. It made me feel real bad about myself.’

Justin, who has a twin brother, Jordan, as well as an older brother and younger sister, is healthy aside from differences in his physical appearance caused by the condition and it does not effect Justin in any other way or stop him from leading a normal life.

Justin has had two reconstructive surgeries on his nose. (Picture: Justin Stewart/

The youngster has undergone two major reconstructive operations on his face to improve the appearance of his nose and open up his airways to minimize the risk of health complications or infections as he grows older.

Justin explained: ‘I have only ever gone ahead with surgery to change how I look if it’s the right thing to do based on the medical advice. I like who I am and if I’m to change then it has to be on my terms.

‘I was brought up to be very comfortable with how I look and was never treated differently. School was a completely different world to what I was used to, and it’s only now I realize how much damage it did to me.

‘It was a constant mental battle and it became normal for me, which isn’t right.’

Justin Stewart, 19, was born with frontonasal dysplasia. (Picture: Justin Stewart/

Justin is due to travel to New York again in July for further modeling work. He has credited his positive attitude to the way his family brought him and taught him to practice ‘self love’.

He said: ‘Over the years I have grown to love myself and I’m content with who I am.

‘People called me some bad stuff but I haven’t let it effect who I have become. I’ve never let anyone stop me chasing what I want or being who I want to be.’

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