Judging by her pretty face, Lyric Mariah Heard looks like just another model in the fashion industry, but she’s obviously more than that. Mariah, 21, was born with Amniotic Band Syndrome; a birth defect that caused her to have only one foot, and two disfigured hands.
The model has found purpose in her disability, inspiring others to live a fuller life.
“Aside from what most people may think I am still fully functional without my leg,” she says. “I aspire to be a voice — to be a go-to when people need a reminder on self-love.”
“My appearance gave me a purpose and my modeling gave me a platform,” she says. “Society has a way of making people feel lost and invisible, and unfortunately many people never shake that because it’s hard and it takes faith.”
“Own what makes you different — no one can be you like you,” she continues. “And if you can’t work with what you have, then you will get lost.”
Overcoming her insecurities was tough on her, and she wants to use this experience to help others see beauty in themselves.
“Self-love is the most important kind of love — all of your passions, all of your dreams, all of your aspirations will flourish when you truly love yourself, because then and only then can you succeed,” she says.
“Keep positive groups around you. Your surroundings are really important, because it’s hard to stay strong on your own all the time.”
Mariah admits that she has been inspired by others who have achieved their goals, and this has fueled her advocacy in inspiring others with disabilities to accept themselves.