GEORGE NEWS AND VIDEO - It's no secret that the Garden Route is the home of beautiful girls.
Kallen Gray (17), an ambitious brunette from Van Kervel School, is overcoming her handicaps and making waves on the local modelling scene.
Kallen was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome at the tender age of five but is determined to go all the way in this competitive industry.
A person diagnosed with the syndrome has significant delays or difficulties in language or cognitive development.
"Intelligence is not the problem, I just need other avenues of learning and my teachers at Van Kervel have the formula that will empower me to succeed in life," said Gray.
She has already competed in the Miss Eden Meander, Mej Skou, Teen Miss Garden Route and Mzansi Africa, and has now set her sights on Miss Junior Teen SA, which takes place in Pretoria on Saturday 7 April.
"With support from my family and friends, especially my mother Karen, my biggest fan and motivator, I am sure that I will defy all the odds.
"She is my world, my foundation in life."
South African schools are not exactly geared up to teach learners with special needs.
After numerous attempts to find an institution that suits Kallen's needs, her mother found the solution in George.
She attended Carpe Diem, Up with Downs, Van der Hoven Primary and Carpe Diem again - this time in order to secure a place at Van Kervel, a school of skills for learners who experience barriers to learning.
Her speciality at the school is food production.
"I have made progress compared to where I was.
"Until the age of 12, I still needed the assistance with what my friends would call simple tasks, but all that has changed now and I even have the confidence to do ramp modelling," said the self-assured teenager.
If you want to see Kallen as the Face of Miss Junior Teen South Africa 2018, sms JT20 to 47087. An sms costs R2 and you can vote multiple times.
Also like and share her photo on the Face of South Africa Facebook page for her to win the public choice.
She has done it before - she can do it again.
ARTICLE, VIDEO & PHOTOS: MYRON RABINOWITZ & BRÜMILDA SWARTBOOI, GEORGE HERALD JOURNALISTS
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