His birthmark drives his passion

As model Luis Mojica Rodriguez explained it, “It has always been me and my birthmark against the world.”

The recent winner at the Magnifique Showcase held by former “America’s Next Top Model” contestant Victoria Henley, Luis said, “Powering through cancer, being ostracized for having a birthmark that covered most of my body, my journey of finding my true passion came later in life and turning my pain into power.”

That birthmark was key to Luis’s inspiration and perseverance.

“I was born with a condition called Giant Hairy Nevus. Being born differently, I had to work harder than anyone else to be accepted, make friends, find love, and be strong enough to endure all the bullying. At the age of 17, I beat the battle of cancer. I developed cancer on my birthmarks on my left leg and almost lost it. I had a limp for 20 years, even though I had physical therapy it only gave me the strength to walk.”

“They told me I couldn’t be a model because of my birthmark, so I became a model because of my birthmark,” he said. “I developed grit and character and want to be a role model for anyone who has ever felt othered.”

Luis said, “We now live in a world where diversity is beautiful and accepted and 20-30 years ago there weren’t many opportunities for people like me.”

The pandemic was the spark for Luis to venture into the next chapter of his life. A paralegal, Luis found himself unemployed.

“(I) took a giant leap of faith and enrolled at John Casablancas Center for Actor and Models,” said Luis. “I drained my savings account to invest in myself. Which was the best decision that I have ever made, I overcame my limp with runway training…and went off to win an improv acting award out of 1,000 competitors at the IMTA.  “I now understand that my time is now.”