Gigi Robinson is not your common mannequin. On her Instagram and TikTok pages, you may discover the standard influencer content material — dispatches from New York Style Week, GRWM movies, behind-the-scenes footage from film premieres. However you may additionally discover one thing distinctive to Gigi: a no-holds-barred have a look at what it is prefer to reside with a number of, critical continual diseases.
You will have seen headlines about Robinson. She’s the Sports activities Illustrated swimsuit mannequin who additionally brazenly lives with three continual ailments: a uncommon genetic situation referred to as Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS), which impacts the physique’s connective tissue; Mast Cell activation syndrome (MCAS), which causes signs of anaphylaxis (like hives, issue respiration, and swelling); and POTS, brief for postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, a dysfunction affecting the autonomic nervous system.
However behind the headlines and diagnoses is a younger girl who’s extra multi-hyphenate expertise than anything, balancing abilities in pictures, affected person advocacy, digital advertising and marketing, and extra.
“This did not occur in a single day,” Robinson says over her current string of successes which, together with the SI spot, embody a podcast deal with Spotify and shutting the Runway of Desires adaptive style present final 12 months. “I did not fall into well being advocacy this 12 months, although it is gotten quite a lot of consideration [recently],” she says. “I’ve been engaged on this since 2017, once I obtained to varsity and a trainer did not assume that I used to be sick.”
Robinson, then a scholar of high-quality artwork design and storytelling on the College of Southern California, used her artwork to inform her story. When a professor did not imagine her invisible situation was actual, Robinson remodeled her scans and medical paperwork from through the years into visible artwork for an project in that class.
“I knew that the paperwork had been black, white, and grey, thus creating an ideal alternative to make use of items as highlights and shadows within the panorama,” Robinson says of her piece — a panorama of mountains meant to symbolize her journey with continual sickness. When her professor seen the medical particulars interwoven into the piece, Robinson says, “her jaw hit the ground.”
That is been a theme in Robinson’s life ever since: utilizing tenacity and persistence to show that she and different chronically sick creators deserve a seat on the desk.
Identified with EDS at age 11, the now-24-year-old Robinson has been residing with continual ache and frequent accidents for over a decade. Due to her different diseases, she additionally lives with signs like frequent allergic reactions and lightheadedness. All of which may sound opposite to a mannequin and advocate’s busy schedule, however Robinson credit a call she made final 12 months to begin the treatment Lyrica for nerve ache as a game-changer for each her well being and her profession trajectory.