Taylor Muhl, like nearly 1 in every 30 people born in the world today, is a twin. What sets her apart, however, is that Muhl is technically her own twin.
Muhl, a singer and entertainer from California, has been diagnosed with a rare genetic condition called chimerism, meaning that she and her fraternal twin fused together while still in the womb. According to Muhl, the condition is so rare that only around 100 cases have been confirmed worldwide.
The most troubling part, however, is the fact that chimerism can result in a host of adverse health issues.
Muhl told Yahoo! Lifestyle that she first became aware of her unusual condition when she was little, after noticing that none of her other friends’ bodies appeared to be divided down the middle into two different pigmentations, like her own. Later, when she started experiencing strange illnesses, her doctors realized she wasn’t just sporting a large birthmark as originally diagnosed.
“My autoimmune issues started pretty heavily as a preteen, and that was very difficult being so young, especially not knowing why I was sick,” Muhl told Yahoo.
It took until Muhl was in her mid-20s to be diagnosed with chimerism, she told the Daily Mail. Her health issues then were determined to be the result of one half of her body attacking the other, as she carries two sets of DNA, and therefore, two “different” immune systems, the site reports.
To fight off any further health issues, Muhl says she ingests strong probiotics and vitamin supplements, and commits herself to a healthy, active lifestyle.
“Even with doing all of that, though, I still endure autoimmune problems and food sensitivities daily, so emotionally it can get frustrating and wearing,” she told Yahoo.
She’s also become an advocate for Human Chimera awareness and an advocate for body positivity, using her Instagram page to share information about her condition and teaching others that physical abnormalities should never stand in the way of one’s achievements.
“I felt it was important to show my entire physical demarcation because in the entertainment business there’s an overwhelming amount of pressure to appear physically perfect or within a certain physical stereotype,” she wrote on Instagram.
“I hope by showing my own imperfections I can inspire others who have physical abnormalities or who are different, to never let that stop them from pursuing their dreams.”