Bethany Townsend thought her modeling days were done for good three years ago when she got fitted with two colostomy bags, a result of her lifelong fight with Crohn's disease. But after a hiatus as a makeup artist, that modeling career might just be getting started, thanks to a viral photo of herself posing in a bikini with those colostomy bags in full view, reports People. The 23-year-old shared the photo with Crohn's and Colitis UK Facebook page after deciding that "my colostomy bags shouldn't control my life," she explains in the post. Townsend tells the Huffington Post that she has been floored by the global reaction and hopes she can inspire others in similar positions to "feel a little bit more comfortable in their own skin."
She's going to do that and more, writes Marie Southard Ospina at Bustle. "In a world so focused on aesthetics, where differences and 'flaws' are rejected rather than embraced, Townsend is the type of person really making a change." Her decision to share the photo "isn't just brave; it's beautiful." Agreed, writes Heather Cichowski at the Gloss. She's "already a role model, and soon she will be a successful model too."