When a model was mercilessly mocked over the size of her left leg—with cruel critics even going so far as to suggest she should cut it off—she refused to let it cause her to lose her focus. Instead of letting it get her down, she had the perfect comeback for her haters.
Mahogany Geter, a model from Knoxville, Tennessee, is no stranger to online abuse. In fact, cruel critics have subjected the young woman to hateful remarks, calling her “deformed” due to the appearance of her left leg, which some have even told her she should cut off. However, rather than letting it define or defeat her, Mahogany has instead become an inspiration, boldly embracing how she looks and encouraging others to do the same.
If you take one look at Mahogany, it’s obvious that she isn’t your “typical” model. Instead, she has one leg that is much larger than the other after being born with lymphedema, a long-term condition where excess fluid collects in the body’s soft tissue, which causes swelling on her left leg, The Sun explained. Sadly, the extreme swelling isn’t the only challenge Mahogany has had to face as a result of her condition, for which there is no cure.
Throughout the model’s life, she’s been subjected to bullying, cruel comments, and downright hateful remarks, with some merciless meanies even suggesting that she would look better if she amputated her leg. However, rather than allowing such comments to deter her, Mahogany has chosen to rise above it, focusing on her inner strength and beauty to prove that beauty isn’t confined to appearances alone.
While Mahogany is now able to see that her physical appearance doesn’t define her, the journey to that realization hasn’t been an easy one. The bullying, which began in her childhood, severely affected her self-confidence. But, as she grew older, she began to accept herself, thanks in part to the support she received from both her mother and the online lymphedema community, which enabled her to embrace her uniqueness and inspire others to do the same.
“I have had my fair share of ignorant comments, one person told me my leg looked like a ham roll and one girl at school called me a deformed b*tch. It has been so hard to rise above these mean people but I have no other choice,” Mahogany explained. “For the longest, I felt so low about myself but once I got older and with loads of support from the online lymphedema community and my mom, who is my inspiration, she is so strong, I realized how beautiful I am. Not only looks but as a person.”
Mahogany recognizes the unique opportunity her disability affords her. “It means I can try my best to inspire other people to accept themselves and see how beautiful they are,” she said. The fashion model now proudly shows off her disability with empowering photoshoots, which she shares on Instagram, as well as on her YouTube channel and TikTok, resulting in an outpouring of support from fans who appreciate her powerful positivity.
Mahogany was diagnosed with lymphedema shortly after birth when doctors first noticed the difference in her left foot. Although there is no cure for her condition, the debilitating symptoms can be eased with physiotherapy, compression, and lymphatic drainage massage. At its largest, Mahogany’s leg added 100 pounds to her body weight, but despite the challenges she has faced, she is determined to celebrate what makes her different while encouraging others to do the same. Of course, that hasn’t always been easy.
“As a child, I never felt pretty, I used to think God had cursed me. I felt ugly, like a freak of nature, and cried in private so many times,” Mahogany admitted. “Then, I decided that I was given this condition because I am emotionally strong and I can handle it,” she recalled. “Since then I have been learning to accept and celebrate myself,” she added. “I want to inspire other people to celebrate their differences. I now believe I am beautiful on the inside and out. I’m proud of what my body can do.”
Of course, it’s not always easy to stay positive when faced with a debilitating condition that sometimes worsens. In addition to physiotherapy, compression, and lymphatic drainage massage, Mahogany also has to manage her condition by drinking lots of water and avoiding salty foods and alcohol in hopes of preventing flare-ups, which can result in cellulitis, a painful skin infection that can result from the swelling and often leaves her hospitalized for treatment with antibiotics.
“It does get frustrating dealing with flare-ups because I just want to live my life more freely and it feels like I can’t,” the model admitted. “If I don’t keep on top of my condition I get flare-ups, it can be overwhelming,” she continued. “When I feel low, I take steps now to build myself up. I take a break from social media, I listen to music, meditate and definitely talk to my mother because she’s like my therapist.”
Although Mahogany recognizes that her journey isn’t an easy one, she doesn’t let it deter her from her hopes and dreams. “Despite the hard times, I honestly feel like I live a normal life. I try to be strong and stay focused on my dreams of making it as a model,” she said. “If I ever make it big I want to buy my mother a house and take care of my family, then I’ll do everything I can to raise awareness of lymphedema to pay it back to everyone who has ever shown me kindness.”
Mahogany Geter is the perfect reminder that, regardless of the hardships we face, we can choose to remain resilient. What’s more, we can face our challenges in a way that encourages others and reminds them that they are not alone. Her self-acceptance inspires others to embrace their own differences and overcome obstacles with a fierce determination that builds strength and self-confidence—things that even the cruelest internet bullies can’t take from you when you remain focused on your own aspirations rather than perceived shortcomings.