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Elijah finds himself in demand after deciding to celebrate his difference

An inspiring youngster is paving the way for others by showing it is good to be different.

On a fashion shoot in the capital
On a fashion shoot in the capital

Elijah Enwerem, aged seven, has albinism, a genetic condition where people are born without the usual pigment in their bodies.

It means he has pale skin, hair, and eyes. And he is also a sought-after model, helping some of the world’s biggest brands sell their wares.

Elijah, from Willenhall, attends County Bridge Primary School in Bentley.

His mother Lucy Dawes, 41, who is a primary school vice-principal, said he has gone from being self-conscious to being proud of who he is.

Elijah Enwerem, seven, pictured with his younger brother Erziel, has become a successful child model for many big-name brands

She said: “Elijah initially hated all of the stares and whispers from strangers about the way that he looked. He was very shy and didn’t enjoy the attention – people would speak to him and he would growl at them.

“Eventually, at the age of four, he broke down crying and asked why everyone had to stare at him. He didn’t want to stand out.

“I explained to him that people taking notice of you is a very special thing. That once they are looking, they are half listening and that he had to find the message that he wanted people to hear.

“It was also then that I decided I had to enable all of the attention to be turned into a positive for him and the reason why I pursued the idea of modelling for him.”

Taking part in a photoshoot as part of an advertising campaign with Footlocker

Since then, Elijah has embraced what makes him unique and has already began a successful modelling career.

So far, he has worked with brands such as Footlocker, River Island, Primark, OVO Energy, Boden, Not on the High Street, Children’s Salon and also recorded television commercials, recently for the NHS with his little brother Ezriel, aged five.

Lucy added: “He now fully embraces his unique looks, is an advocate for accepting who you are and celebrating all that makes us original and special.

“Elijah has an Instagram page that I run and we are contacted all of the time by people from all over the world who say that they are inspired by Elijah and his modelling journey.

Elijah Enwerem

“He is helping to raise awareness of albinism, about which there are still many myths and stigma attached that he is helping to dispel.”

“What is little known by most people are the struggles that Elijah has with his vision and something that is still revealing itself to me also as he gets older. He never lets his vision hold him back. He is fearless and brave.”

As well as modelling, Elijah is a keen gymnast and loves to ride his bike.

He has ambitious plans for his future and hopes to continue to be a positive role model for other children and help them accept their differences.

In London, with his huge advert behind

Lucy said: “I am immensely proud of Elijah. Seeing his confidence and self esteem grow has been the greatest thing to witness.

“Elijah has taught us all that being unique is a wonderful thing.

“That being ‘different’ is nothing to hide, in fact it is to be celebrated because we are all unique in our own way.

“Embracing who you are and showing the world you were born to shine belongs to us all and maybe it takes a seven-year-old boy from Willenhall to help us see it.”

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