While the chances of achieving fame and fortune are one in a million, some faces are made for stardom. Born with a rare genetic disorder called ectodermal dysplasia, 18-year-old Javante Carter has a face you’ll never forget. There are less than 125,000 people in the country living with the condition which causes the hair, teeth and skin to form abnormally. And while his condition may have resulted in bullying throughout childhood, it was ultimately the key to his overnight success as a social media celebrity.
“I grew up in New Orleans. It was hard, it’s not the best place to be while growing up,” Carter shares. In school, Carter was frequently bombarded with jabs about his appearance such as, “Why don’t you have teeth?” or “Your face is flat as fuck,” which as a teenager, couldn’t have been easy to hear on a daily basis. But, while still in school, Carter’s unique face was discovered by one of the biggest hip-hop artists of all time and the tides turned for the teen.
“I was just a regular kid in junior high when Snoop Dogg reposted a picture from my Instagram,” says Carter, who attributes his discovery as random luck. “I had my shirt off and my hair done in a Justin Bieber style, so he posted that and it went crazy. I gained like 20,000 [followers] in a night and when I went to school the next day, people were like ‘Dude, you’re famous!’ It was crazy.” Since being shared by Snoop, Carter has worked to cultivate his brand as an Instagram influencer and has adopted the name HolyGod. Over the past two and a half years, he’s built a name as a social media sketch comedian and frequently collaborates with fellow physical comedy influencers such as Supreme Patty, Gucci Berry and Damn Long Neck. Throughout his career in the online sphere, Carter realized that he can not only make an impact by inspiring laughs, but also show that someone who’s different can be both confident and successful.
“I get messages about it every day from people who are inspired to start making videos, and they have their own followings now,” says Carter, who frequently uses his page to uplift and inspire aspiring creators, many of whom also live with ectodermal dysplasia. “There’s this guy FlexFace who has the same condition as me and he looks up to me like a little brother. He’s been watching me since I started and had written me paragraphs saying it was shocking to see someone with my condition doing what I do.”
Shortly after getting in contact, Carter began collaborating with FlexFace and helped him grow his page from a mere 300 followers to nearly 120,000. Carter finds joy in meeting other creators with his condition and believes that he has found his calling through giving others a platform to succeed. “I love helping people do what they don’t think they can do because other people have put them down,” Carter says. “That’s all I really like to do. If I’m not bringing anyone else up, then what am I doing?”