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"People thought, that with Psoriasis, I would not be able to make it"

"Even if your body was covered with psoriasis you could still be better than any other model", CariDee English's boyfriend once told her. 21 years old, after having won the American Next Top Model contest, CariDee is one of the most desired models in the States.
"Even if your body was covered with psoriasis you could still be better than any other model". That phrase shows the basic need of a person with psoriasis: the sensitive support from people around him/her; but it also illustrates this young model determination to pursue a professional career, something that seemed to be strictly forbidden because of her disease. Today with 21 years old, after having won the American Next Top Model contest, CariDee is one of the most desired models in the States. Her disease, as any other case of psoriasis that is appropriately treated, is under control. "What I care about when I am modeling is not that people see my good look: what I am looking for is something that is at stake, at that unique moment when I am in front of the camera", says CariDee. "A movie actress has many opportunities to catch the eye of the viewers during the shooting of a movie; a model only has an instant. To be in front of a camera makes me feel alive." CariDee is slim and has light eyes. Calm, somewhat lost in thought, she suddenly smiles and her body accompanies that smile with energetic flexibility.

She realized she wanted to become a model when she was a kid: "I loved posing for the camera". She was also very young, 5 years old, when she received her diagnosis: "Mom also had psoriasis and she began to explain it to me. But it was not until I was ten that I fully understood what it was. At that age, yes, "I prayed every day not to have this disease". She remembers that "my dad would hug me and allow me to cry® Regarding his early desire to become a model,¬† "my parents did not stop me from pursuing a modeling career but they understood that, with psoriasis, I could not go very far; so, what they did was to show me other possibilities".

At fourteen, 70 percent of CariDeeís body was covered with psoriasis. However, she started to go from one agency to another. At 17 she got her first job as a professional model. "I put make-up on my body to cover the spots; I tried to pose in such a way that I could hide them", she remembers and suddenly she goes back to being that skinny teenager. Once, at a photo shooting at Miami Beach, the her strategy failed because the water removed all the make-up, and the owners of the agency "gave me a ticket back home and, without any hesitation, fired me".

At the same time, CariDee was struggling to get medical treatment that could better help her. "I went to see many doctors. I think that, if you do not really trust a doctor, you better look for another one. On the other hand, doctors can know about science but they do not know what it is like to live with the disease. I used to think all the time that it was my last chance to be able to do what I wanted. And, even when I had a doctor I really trusted, I did not stop searching. I searched the Internet, became well-informed about the new treatments and discussed them with my doctor."

Today, CariDee receives a weekly injection of a last-generation drug, biologics, which seems to have greatly reduced the extent of psoriasis all over her body. And this top model, far from hiding her disease, has become a living message for those who have psoriasis. "Facing psoriasis is a team work - she states--. My family and my boyfriend helped me a lot."

Editorial Note:
This interview was celebrated during CariDee English participation during the World Psoriasis Day Press Conference at XXI World Dermatology Congress in Buenos Aires.

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World of Psoriasis is presented by IFPA

Sponsors 2007

Merck Serono
Merck Serono are the founding sponsors of World Psoriasis Day


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