‘I Am Beautiful’: Woman Mocked for Her ‘Imperfect’ Smile Becomes a Model to Inspire the World

December 30, 2020 Updated: January 7, 2021

Model Omotolà Ekundayo says the “imperfection” in her smile prevented her from pursuing her fashion career for a long time.

Though the young woman from Nigeria is missing her right front tooth, she says she has never felt more confident in her whole life than she does now.

Omotolà isn’t letting her appearance, or other people’s reactions, stop her and hopes both her unique smile and personal story will inspire others.

Epoch Times Photo
(Courtesy of Gloria Ukata Arunma)

Born in Kaduna, now residing in Lagos, Nigeria, the 21-year-old model told The Epoch Times that her front tooth had a painful cavity and eventually had to be removed. After she had it extracted, people started reacting to her differently.

“When people see me for the first time they look surprised,” she shared. “At first I felt really bad.”

However, she has since accepted it and “moved on.”

“I learned to accept the fact that it’s their loss, not mine,” she says of anyone who treats her differently because of her appearance.

In 2018, Omotolà decided to venture into modeling, a career she had always wanted to pursue but had avoided out of fear.

Epoch Times Photo
(Courtesy of Omotola Ekundayo)

“I wasn’t all confident and all,” she says. “But due to the help of positive friends around me, I would look into the mirror and tell myself that I am beautiful, and I have the most beautiful smile in the world and people have actually learned to accept that because of the way I carry myself.”

She says she hoped her career would lead her to become a well-known model and serve as an example for others to look up to.

Omotolà didn’t want to wait for the world to find her, though; instead, she reached out to the world on Instagram, where she smiles proudly in a post, which shares her life story.

Epoch Times Photo
(Courtesy of Gloria Ukata Arunma)
Epoch Times Photo
(Courtesy of bubu.captures)

“I cared about what people would think when they saw me … I never smiled or laughed because of it,” she captioned on Sept. 17, 2018. “I was picked on, called all sort of names, my mates mocked me … I felt I couldn’t fit in. But have come to realize that there [is] a reason I’m this way and I thank God for how I am.”

Her Instagram post concludes:

“THIS IS MY OWN UNIQUENESS YOU DON’T ALWAYS HAVE TO BE THE SAME WITH OTHERS BEEN DIFFERENT IS GOOD. I pray my story inspire people like me out there 2 live your dream to the fullest😘😁😉”

Instead of criticism, followers sent Omotolà words of admiration for sharing her beautiful smile. Her post inspired thousands, soon racking up over 4,400 likes and 300 comments.

Epoch Times Photo
(Courtesy of Omotola Ekundayo)

Followers praised her confidence and complimented her on her glowing smile, as “imperfect” as it may be.

“I wish I had one ounce of your confidence Queen,” wrote one user.

The response was more than Omotolà could have hoped for.

“I was very happy that I inspired a lot of people,” she told The Epoch Times. “It made people who were less confident more aware of the beauty they carry inside of them and I have never been happier in my life.”

Now, the former restaurant manager does high fashion modeling in Lagos. For Omotolà, it’s a dream come true.

We would love to hear your stories! You can share them with us at emg.inspired@epochtimes.nyc