Model with cystic acne branded ‘pizza face’ now earns £790k embracing bare skin

A former model has exclusively opened up about how she used to struggle with cystic acne – but now has a $1 million(£796,000) company from learning to her embrace skin.

Cassandra Bankson, from California, US, dreamt of looking like the models that filled the glossy pages of magazines when she was young.

But after being the target of cruel bullies making jibes about her skin texture, she felt that she would never be seen as “beautiful” .

However, after the 29-year-old learned how to cover her ‘flaws’ under the guise of layers of makeup and mastered tricks on editing suites she soon found her confidence.

She worked across the US booking modelling jobs on runways and even featured in adverts in American beauty store, Ulta.

Despite proving the bullies wrong, Cassandra did not feel like she was being true to herself by covering up her skin.

Now having quit the industry for a multitude of reasons, the babe is now a self-love influencer and medical aesthetician who wants to help others embrace their natural skin.

Boasting two million YouTube subscribers and 200,000 Instagram followers, Cassandra often posts before and after snaps of edited photos to show just how easy it is to be fooled by modelling shots.

The online star shared how she managed to build up her own company on the back of her once insecurity and has now helped others accept their own skin.

Cassandra told us: “It was something [modelling] that I never thought was possible for me. Growing up being bullied and called 'pizza face' and a 'walking infection', I never imagined that I could be seen as beautiful.

“When I first went to aesthetic school in 2009 and learned to cover my acne with layers of makeup and professional techniques, I was able to create a canvas that (with the help of Photoshop and some good lighting) could make me look like the models in the magazines.

“When I first had a photo shoot with a family friend who was a professional photographer, and looked at that photo and saw me, staring back without acne, I was overwhelmed.

“I couldn’t imagine my skin without its texture. That was the moment that even though I could not call myself beautiful, I could call the image beautiful.

“Thanks to the photographer, the makeup, the lighting, and yes, a little bit of me.”

This was the very beginning of Cassandra’s career which kickstarted a successful stint in the modelling industry.

“I was a tiny part of what made that overall image beautiful. Seeing and realising that was the beginning of my self-love journey as well as my interest in pursuing a modelling career,” she said.

“When I was being booked for runway gigs and magazine shoots because I wore professional make up, I felt like a completely different person.

Although she loved her job as a model, she started to feel like a “hypocrite” for hiding away her true beauty and also battled morally with having to wear fur and leather, Cassandra decided to step back from modelling.

She explained: “I realised that although I loved the modelling industry, aesthetics, and make-up, that I felt like a hypocrite in my own skin.

“Here I was, doing professional makeup on other people and applying it to my own face, prancing down runways enjoying pretty privilege, but at the same time I was deeply insecure, and cried when I would take my makeup off at night.

“It didn’t feel like both of those identities fit in the same person."

Cassandra decided to walk a different path back in 2010 when she started posting videos to YouTube and stripped off her makeup to reveal her bare face.

She said: “The hypocrisy of the inauthenticity of “faking my beauty” every day was so heavy on me, that I decided to strip off my makeup and share with a small group of girls online what I did to cover up my skin and get through every day.

“I never would have imagined that that video would blow up, help other people who are struggling with the same condition, and create a community around embracing our skin, with or without the makeup.

“There are still days where we all look in the mirror and we see that 'past person' with the same insecurities, rather than being able to embrace our blemishes, or our stretch marks, our body shapes, our scars.

“I now work to see my flaws as features. I hope that I can help others do that as well.”

Cassandra earns her living from her YouTube videos, helping with skin treatments in clinics and partnering with brands to promote on her social media.

The influencer admitted: “If you told me – (struggling with my acne at 16 years old with less than 24 dollars in my bank account) that one day I would have a company that earns over $1 million (£796,000), employs over a dozen other people who are working to embrace their skin, and getting to work helping other people overcome the acne insecurity that almost ace me end my own life – I never would have believed it!”

You can follow Casandra on YouTube here and Instagram here.

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