Singer and vlogger Courtney Blackmore is finally beating the bullies! The 20-year-old was born with a rare condition that causes extra tissue growth in her face, and means that she finds it hard to speak.
‘So I was born with cystic hygroma which is a rare birth defect that effects the lymphatic system and creates extra tissue and growth. My growth was on my chin and it deformed by jaw when I was in the womb so that is why I can’t close my mouth.’
‘I have had many surgeries, over 20 surgeries in my lifetime. At the moment I do not plan to have anymore because it can be dangerous. As long as I don’t have to have one right now I won’t.’
Alongside the strain of her many operations, Courtney has also been the target of nasty and negative comments throughout her life. But she’s finally found the confidence to start uploading videos of her beautiful singing online.
‘Singing is one of my outlets. It’s my outlet for if I was being bullied, or if I was going through a rough time it was the way that I could express myself.’
‘People ask me in person ‘why do you upload? What’s the point in uploading when you know you’re different? You know you’re going to get hate.’’
‘For me it’s an outlet – it’s an expression of me and for me it doesn’t matter what people say it’s my choice and if you don’t like it you can click the next video.’
Despite the positive reaction that Courtney has had from her videos, her mum Katrina admits she was nervous about what people would say when Courtney first started them. But she couldn’t be more pleased with the support her daughter has received!
‘When I see Courtney singing I feel excited that she can do that. If I sing it sounds like all the dogs in the neighbourhood are going to join in so to hear her sing is amazing. She has a beautiful voice.’
‘She’s faced more things in a short amount of time in her lifetime than anybody should have to.’
‘I know she’s cried plenty of times. I know she’s had so much support though that overweighs all the bullies that are out there. I think I have more of a hard time with it than she does.’
It seems that all of Courtney’s dreams are starting to come true at once – as as well as gaining loads of online fans, she’s now planning her wedding to boyfriend Chad!
‘Chad is an amazing person, an amazing guy. He’s so funny, always keeps me laughing on my days that I feel really, really down. He’s there to pick me up and make me laugh and make me happy.’
‘Was I worried that I would never find love? Yes. I was afraid that there wasn’t going to be someone that would accept me and love me for me.’
But for loved-up Courtney and Chad, their relationship is the same as any other couple their age.
‘My first impressions of Courtney when I first met her were she’s beautiful, smart. She’s talented, amazing.’
‘We like to go riding together, we watch movies, go on walks, go swimming – we do everything together.’
In the future, Courtney hopes that her videos will continue to build her confidence, as well as help others with her condition.
‘It’s been really, really hard to just accept myself and accept the way I look and I’ve always wanted to look ‘normal’. But there is no ‘normal’ nowadays. It’s OK to be different; it’s OK that I look different. For me this is normal and that’s OK and I’m OK with being who I am.’