Cassandra Bankson: Acne-ridden teen makes runway debut at New York Fashion Week

Nadine Bells
Shine On

Cassandra Bankson, 19, is an acne-ridden teen whose 10-minute makeup tutorial YouTube video from two years ago made her a star and lead to a new modelling contract.

The 5-foot-11 beauty posted her YouTube video at the age of 17, where she shows the art of camouflaging cystic acne with flawless makeup application.

"I used to sit back and let acne ruin my life," she tells the New York Post, adding that she got her first pimple at age 9 and was diagnosed with cystic acne at 14. "But it got to the point where I needed to do something to get myself out of the rut."

Modelling scouts at a San Francisco agency were impressed with her video and offered her a contract. Bankson has since modeled for Bebe, Range Rover, and designer Shekhar Rahate. Her makeup skills got the attention of cosmetics company Hourglass, which made the teen its ambassador.

But most recently, on Wednesday night, Bankson will make her runway debut for brand Boy Meets Girl at New York Fashion Week.

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"It feels like a dream to be here during Fashion Week," Bankson says. "I am a different person from who I used to be because I've got so much more confidence now."

Boy Meets Girl designer Stacy Igel tells that she immediately liked how Cassandra's look and walk jibed with the show's bohemian style and its Bob Dylan-inspired theme, "Forever Young."

Cassandra's "long hair fit the style of what we're doing," Igel says. "Natural, carefree, she definitely had the vibe of what I was casting for the show."

Thanks to regular visits to a dermatologist, Bankson's skin condition is about 70 per cent improved since she first made the video.

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Bankson is also the ambassador for anti-bullying group BullyBust — and hopes to help others reach their full potential.

"You can't appreciate feeling amazing and loving life until you've actually been at the lowest of low. So when everything turned around and I was able to feel this, I want everyone to be able to feel this," she tells

Bankson, who is juggling modelling with college courses, hopes to become a dermatologist, reports.