Woman with 'constantly swollen legs' celebrates figure

Team Be

A fierce Instagram star, whose legs are constantly swollen, is encouraging others to embrace their figures and celebrate their difference. 

Carmen Smith, based in Pasadena, California, developed lymphedema as a child, which causes her legs, ankles and feet to swell significantly due to a compromised lymphatic system. 

Despite once being painfully self-conscious of her body, the 30-year-old has learned to embrace its uniqueness and is sharing her journey with her 48,000 Instagram followers.

A fierce Instagram star, whose legs are constantly swollen, is encouraging others to embrace their figures and celebrate their difference. Photo: Barcroft Media

Lymphedema is most commonly seen after a lymph node dissection, surgery and/or radiation therapy, but it can also be inherited or caused by injury to the lymphatic vessels. 

In Carmen’s case, she inherited the condition and first began showing symptoms as a young child. 

Throughout her teen years and into adulthood, Carmen’s symptoms have progressed and the swelling is more noticeable than ever. 

“As I’ve gotten older my lymphedema has progressed. I do remember, y’know, they would look at my feet or say something about them,” Carmen said.

“It would just make me horrified and so uncomfortable and embarrassed. To this day, I don’t like people looking at my feet.” 

Carmen Smith, based in Pasadena, California, developed lymphedema as a child, which causes her legs, ankles and feet to swell significantly due to a compromised lymphatic system. Photo: Barcroft Media

Enduring comments and looks from strangers knocked Carmen’s confidence for a long time, but gradually her mindset began to change. 

In her photoshoots Carmen often plays with implied nudity and models her favourite lingerie, which attracts comments from other women whose partners would never allow them to show off their body publicly. 

Carmen’s boyfriend Kahari Jumal has no such qualms and has a straightforward message for men who are scared of their partners flaunting their figures. 

Despite once being painfully self-conscious of her body, the 30-year-old has learned to embrace its uniqueness. Photo: Barcroft Media

“Don’t be insecure. You make the choice. You’re a grown woman,” he said.

Smith regularly shoots with friend and photographer Efren Cordoba, who has helped to promote her distinctive brand of sexy. 

Carmen’s photos have sparked a strong response from other lymphedema warriors who are struggling with their body image. 

“The women who are in my inbox saying, ‘Hey my legs look like yours. I’ve never seen anyone whose body looks like mine. Thank you for putting yourself out there. You’re making me feel comfortable’. That stuff is big,” she said.

Since she learned to embrace every inch of her fabulous skin, Carmen has never felt more at ease in her own body and wants to continue encouraging others to inject some body positivity into their lives. 

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