By Liana Jacob
MEET the sassy four-foot aspiring model with dwarfism who is proving you can strut on the catwalk despite being faced with cruel comments whilst fending off men on the dating scene with a sexual FETISH for ‘dwarfs’.
Finance Trainee, YouTuber and aspiring model, Fatima Timbo (21), from London, UK, was born with achondroplasia, a bone growth condition that causes disproportionate dwarfism.
Those with achondroplasia are short in stature with a regular-sized torso, short limbs and is the most common type of disproportionate dwarfism.
Growing up with the condition made it difficult for Fatima. Despite being a confident and outgoing person, she was still bullied during high school which made her shy away.
Since finding her passion in dancing and acting in the theatre and when she started modelling in 2017, she started coming out of her shell and decided to embrace her look. She still finds dating a challenge and she says it’s hard to find a genuine man.
“I have to be wary of guys who just have a fetish for dwarfs because there are some guys that actually see me as something to tick off their bucket list. I would say it’s harder to find a genuine guy if you’re a little woman,” Fatima said.
“The most popular comment I’ve had is ‘midget’, which I hate because it’s a derogatory term for dwarfs or little people.
“The worst comment someone said about me was ‘if I was Fatima’s mum I would abort her because she’s a midget’. When my friend told me, I couldn’t stop crying because of how hurt that comment made me feel.
“While I was growing up I remember seeing doctors quite often regarding my dwarfism. The doctor often suggested ways of helping my growth.
“One of them was injecting into my leg every day for around five years to stimulate growth in my legs which my dad did but I don’t think that really helped.
“As I was growing up I noticed everyone was growing taller than me and that disheartened me because I wanted to be like everyone else.
“I’m the only one in my family who has the condition. My parents found out when my mother was six months pregnant that I’d either have downs or dwarfism. It happens to one in 30,000 births and I happened to be that one.
“Most of my life I have been confident because I would always be the first to throw myself into things. For example, at parties I wouldn’t be scared at a young age to go to the middle of the dance floor and dance in front of a lot people.
“My parents then encouraged me to go to a dance school where I would perform in musicals and dance shows at Broadway theatres from the age of five to ten.
“From this experience that helped boost my confidence, it made me unafraid of facing crowds. However, there have been times I was not confident.
“In my secondary school there were certain bullies that wouldn’t stop picking on me. I kept quiet for a long time until I stood up for myself and for the most part they would back off.
“I felt sad that I couldn’t be like everyone else. I was very insecure about myself and I didn’t like who I was especially when bullies picked on me.”
Fatima says that since performing in shows and modelling, her confidence has soared, and she no longer cares about what anyone says about her.
“I’ve always tried embracing who I am from when I used to perform in the theatre, but I began to fully embrace and accept myself when I started modelling last year,” she said.
“I started getting involved in campaigns that embraced all types of people such as plus size people, people with skin conditions, really tall people etc.
“From then on, I would post pictures from my shoots on my Instagram profile. Once I did that I saw how many people I was inspiring by embracing my condition and not letting my insecurities get to me.
“I feel great now. I feel like I’ve grown more self-love in myself, as I face new challenges every day. I also I feel like my height has no limit.”
She tells of her experience of being on Channel 4 series, The Undateables, and that initially she rejected the proposal to be on the show but changed her mind when she felt confident enough to help others on their journey of acceptance.
Fatima still gets stared at by strangers but ever since her increase in confidence, she now doesn’t mind it as much and just explains her condition to those who don’t understand.
“My time on the The Undateables was great – I had so much fun filming but was I kind of worried about how the public would perceive me,” she said.
“It came about when one of the producers of the show found me via Instagram and thought I would be great for the show.
“I declined at first because I didn’t get past the name of the show. A few months later I reconsidered because I thought of the bigger picture of how I could inspire people and most importantly find love.
“The toughest part is the constant staring of people when I go out. It’s almost like going out in a funny costume.
“People always react when they see me by laughing, pointing, or some people just give me a disgusted look sometimes.
“I overcame this by simply ignoring them because I know ultimately those people don’t have any effect on my life and they can only affect me if I let them.
“In future I plan to become a successful model and I also hope to see attitudes change towards people who have a visible difference.
“I want people to stop judging a book by its cover and actually get to know the person with a visible difference first because you never know – they could be a great friend to you.”