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Brave Jessica shows beauty is from within
AN INSPIRATIONAL Basingstoke mum is taking part in a Channel 4 documentary to try to change people’s views about appearance.
Jessica Whitfield was born with a severe birthmark that has disfigured her face.
The 26-year-old mother-of-two was just two when she first had surgery to try to reduce the size of the birthmark, and had an operation almost every year after until she began secondary school.
She will be featured on the new series Beauty and the Beast: The Ugly face of Prejudice, which investigates the extremes of discrimination.
Each week, two people are brought together – one who has a facial disfigurement, the other who is obsessed with their appearance.
The two people, both defined by the way they look, will approach the beauty debate from different sides.
Viewers will find out if someone who lives with a facial disfigurement can convince a self-confessed beauty addict that true beauty comes from within.
The series began on February 2, when burns survivor Leo met Yasmin, who spends the equivalent of 40 days a year applying her make up.
On February 23, viewers will see Jessica, of Dryden Close, Popley, spend four days with 22-year-old glamour model Chloe Page, who has undergone extreme cosmetic surgery to change her looks. The pair take it in turns to experience each other’s lives.
Jessica said: “Chloe had a boob job, hair extensions and false eyelashes and she was a glamour model. She was totally different to me, but we were also quite alike. She’s also got a daughter so although we were totally different we had something in common.
“She wanted to get veneers and I ended up going to the dentist with her and she had her teeth whitened. I was offered mine done and I said ‘no thanks.’ “The next day she spent in my life and the kids came and we had a day in the park. We had our hair done and then I went to Great Ormond Street Hospital to see the man who was my surgeon for a long time. She saw the other side of having surgery.”
Jessica, who works as a carer at Marnel Lodge in Popley, said she hoped the programme would change people’s attitudes.
She added: “If it stops one person from staring, then it’s helped.
“If it makes one person see someone else for who they are, and not what they look like, then it’s helped.
“The show sees both sides of the story and helped me realise that the people I think look perfect still have issues. Although Chloe was absolutely stunning, she didn’t see herself as beautiful.”