21-year-old make-up artist and Zumba instructor Marimar Quiroa is really making a name for herself on YouTube– despite being born with a facial tumour that means she can’t speak.
She was born with cystic hygroma, a congenital malfunction that has affected her health in many ways.
‘It affected my mouth since birth. Before my face and head were bigger, and I went through the process of many surgeries over several years to shrink my face and mouth to what you see today.’
‘It affects me in several ways. I cannot speak, I breathe through a whole in my throat, I eat through a tube in my stomach, and the hearing in my right ear is diminished.’
Alongside her health problems, Marimar has also had to suffer unpleasant reactions to her condition from strangers.
‘I have encountered negative people, both on YouTube and out in my daily life. People tell me I look like a monkey, and people stare at me, that my mouth is wrong. I see them staring, I either tell them to stop or just ignore them. But if people are staring at me, I stare right back and I refuse to look away until they stop staring.’
It’s this steely determination that made her post her first make-up tutorial on YouTube 2 years ago, and her channel has since been viewed an incredible 6 million times. Although Marimar says that she has always felt confident in herself, the kind comments she has received from strangers have been a great boost.
‘People type their comments after viewing my videos, they tell me I’m beautiful and they love my make-up.’
‘When I was young I would talk to myself in the mirror. I would tell myself I was beautiful. I would encourage myself and list things that were good about me. That built confidence through the years. That’s how I learned to accept myself for who I am.’
Building on the success of her YouTube channel, inspiring Marimar is currently in her first year at an evening beauty school. But that’s not all – she’s also studying education to one day become a teacher for deaf children. And her mum Maria couldn’t be more proud!
“I say to her she can do whatever she wants – with some limitation – but still she can do everything.’
We’re inclined to agree!