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Jean-Piere Labuschagne, 26

Updated: Nov 15, 2022

Where are you from?

South Africa

Where do you live now?

New York City

Tell me about yourself:

I'm a certified personal trainer in New York City and am very passionate about fitness. I am also a fashion model and enjoy photography as a hobby.

What's your EYE story?

I was born too early and unfortunately the human eyes are one of the last parts to develop in the womb. I had perfect vision until I was 7 years old. At the age of 7, I injured my eye playing rugby. My vision started blurring, so my parents took me to the doctor and told me that I was going blind. Both of my retinas had a tear in them. I went in for immediate surgery. Luckily the doctor could save my right eye, but I was now blind in my left eye. My eye started shrinking and forming cataracts so I eventually had to get a prosthetic shell for aesthetic purposes.

What has been the most challenging thing mentally?

Growing up with a blind eye was hard. I was bullied a lot in school because of it. I was called ugly, a loser, cyclops, and I were even told I would never get a girlfriend.

What has been the most challenging thing physically?

Learning to love what I see in the mirror.

Where are you now in your recovery?

After years of struggling with self-worth, I have finally accepted the fact that I am different. I'm now the only one-eyed male model in New York City, and possibly even the world.

[Edited for clarity by @jacobfromutah]

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