Teenager Michaela Davert of Bangor Township in Bay County, Michigan, was dealt a poor hand in life, being born with a rare disorder which adversely affects her health and appearance. Although she knew she was the same as her schoolmates deep down, some of them refused to accept her. But after years of feeling isolated Davert is now playing to her strengths, and thousands of fans are admiring her game.
The Davert family all suffer from disabilities. The 18-year-old girl and her twin brother, Austin, have the hereditary disorder osteogenesis imperfecta – a condition they inherited from their mom, Melissa. Sadly the father of the family, Ken, who works on and off as a maintenance man, has cerebral palsy. The twins’ affliction is more commonly known as brittle bone disease.
As its name suggests the condition, which stems from problems with connecting tissue due to a lack of collagen, causes bones to become extremely fragile. As a result it is extremely easy for those with the disorder to suffer breaks. So at the age of 18 Davert has already endured almost 90 fractures, braved 25 surgeries and measures just two feet six inches tall.
And the continual breakages and hospital visits weren’t the only down side to her having the condition. Brittle bone disease, which affects one in every 15,000 people, can also make patients more susceptible to lung infections. As a consequence Davert always had to be careful of what she was doing as a child, and would sometimes have to quarantine herself away from ill people.
With these enforced restrictions on her ability to socialize the youngster had a hard time fitting in at school. “People were afraid to even get near me,” she told the entertainment website Barcroft TV in June 2017. “When I was younger, I broke very easily. I pretty much fractured like a piece of chalk.”
And because her circumstances were so different to the other kids, Davert found forming relationships with people her own age tricky. “I think that kids growing up didn’t really understand the condition,” Davert explained to the U.K. tabloid newspaper the Daily Mail. “So making friends and being around friends was a little bit harder.”
And it wasn’t just exclusion from her peer social groups Davert had to contend with. Sadly there were also some unkind people who would put the youngster down purely because of the way she looked. “I have had people tell me that I am ugly, or tell me that I’m fat,” she revealed.
Speaking to the cameras in a film posted by Barcroft TV to YouTube, Davert expanded on the social challenges she faced during her education. “My high school in general was very cliquey, as most high schools were, but it was extremely hard for me to make friends sometimes,” she said. “I made a couple but I’m kind of glad that chapter of my life is over, for sure.”
Although she often felt isolated and hurt by her experiences at school Davert refused to let her condition or her bullies hold her back. The teen was a big fan of the web and was inspired by the self-generated content some creative people were posting online. With encouragement from her family, Davert decided to set up her own YouTube channel in August 2013 to showcase vlogs about her passion for makeup and fashion.
Davert revealed to the Daily Mail that she was motivated to start her channel – self-deprecatingly called FunsizedStyle – by the feeling that she was just an ordinary teenage girl at heart . “I saw other girls making these videos and I always enjoyed watching them,” she explained. “Then I thought, ‘Why can’t I make those videos too?’”
But Davert also recognized that vlogging offered the opportunity to represent those who do not conform to traditional ideas of beauty. “You never really see girls with disabilities in the makeup profession,” Davert added. “So, I wanted to change that and be a new face and a role model to younger girls and just have fun with it.”
Davert hopes that through her videos she can inspire others to embrace and celebrate their differences and alternative appearances. “My channel, FunsizedStyle, is mainly about makeup and fashion,” she explained. “Kind of just accepting, like what you naturally look like.”
“You see a lot of girls on the internet and in magazines [who dictate] how you should look,” Davert added, addressing fashion stereotypes. “I want to try and change that by making these videos and telling girls that you are beautiful just the way that you naturally look.”
True to her ethos Davert uses her channel as a platform for videos promoting a positive body image. Like other vloggers, she also reviews cosmetic products and posts hair and makeup tutorials. And many thousands of the online community can’t seem to get enough of her refreshing and humorous take on the fashion and beauty industry.
Four years on from her debut vlog, Davert’s channel has clocked up almost 36,000 subscribers. And astonishingly more than 1,700,000 people have viewed the young fashionista’s videos. For the most part the comments her vlogging has attracted have been overwhelmingly kind.
“You inspire me to do anything. Go Girl,” reads one of the encouraging messages on one of Davert’s videos. Meanwhile, under a cosmetics tutorial, another user was moved to say, “I thought you were already wearing your makeup when you started! You have a beautiful natural complexion! Loved this video.”
Having gone from a watching audience of just a handful of close friends to amassing thousands of online supporters Davert can still hardly believe it. “[They’re] just, like, really positive comments,” Davert gushed to Barcroft TV. “It can be overwhelming at times. Like it’s hard for me to fathom [so many] people. It’s just support – it’s just amazing.”
In many ways the praise for starting, building and maintaining the quality of her FunsizedStyle YouTube channel has brought about a major boost of confidence for Davert. While she may have metal rods in her arms and legs and rely on a motorized wheelchair, the courageous teen is determined to make the most of the hand that life has dealt her.
She certainly doesn’t lack ambition, currently studying marketing at college she has big dreams for when she graduates. “I want to move to LA and set up a clothing line for people of my size,” she revealed with a smile. “Currently I have to buy children’s clothes and Disney print and sparkles aren’t ideal for every occasion.”
And Davert sees no reason why others with disabilities shouldn’t also overcome their difficulties and follow their dreams as well. “You might have to do things differently but that’s okay,” Davert said to the Daily Mail. “I am exceeding all kind of limitations already, so if there is something that you want to accomplish in this world then definitely go for it.”