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Two teenage girls with albinism reveal how they've become best friends - and say they've gained confidence thanks to their shared love of fashion (20 Pics)

Lucy Carpenter, 14, (right) and Sammy McCombe, 13, (left) from Melbourne

SAMMY McCombe and Lucy Carpenter started an Instagram account as a way to have a bit of fun modelling and increase their confidence.
Somewhere along the way they scored more than 7000 followers and a whole lot of international attention.
Sammy, 12, and Lucy, 14 were both born with Oculocutaneous albinism, a disorder that is characterised by the loss of pigmentation in the skin, hair and eyes.
Since starting the account in March, the girls quickly became role models for people with albinism and have garnered interest from around the world.
Lucy (right) and Sammy (left, pictured modelling headpieces) explained how their love of fashion has helped them gain confidence

“I think there’s a lot of people out there with albinism and they’re making that connection and it’s just sort of rolling on from there. They’re sending photos to the girls and those people are all over the world. It’s one in 17,000 so those people are connecting with the girls and understanding what the girls have gone through,” Sammy’s mum Kelli told news.com.au.
Both of the girls live in Geelong and started their modest account posing in clothes from brands like Cotton On, Myer and Factorie.
While Kelli admitted they originally tried to stay out of the way of fellow shoppers, she saw how much the girls were enjoying themselves and how it was building their confidence.
“We tried to fly under the radar and not get in anyone’s way and just to get some nice photos of the girls in fashionable clothes to build their confidence,” she said.
Sammy (left) and Lucy (right) first met as babies, and have become firm friends over the years. 

It was when Kelli saw how much fun the girls were having that they became “a lot more brazen” about their photos, and clearly, it’s paid off.
Lucy and Sammy have been flooded with requests from clothing stores begging them to come to their shops and salons from Melbourne’s high-end Chapel Street have invited the girls for glam days.
And while the girls are clearly naturals at modelling, living each day with albinism hasn’t been as easy.
Lucy’s condition means she struggles to see past a metre and Sammy, who has a bit more pigmentation than Lucy, can see for a few metres.
“It’s hard at school, it’s hard with friends, it’s hard at sport,” Kelli said.
“Socially it’s facial expressions and things that might happen around them that they’re not aware of. Socially at this age that can impact. If their friends do something and their other friends notice it and start talking about it, they haven’t seen it so all of a sudden they’re not included in the conversation,” she added.
The McCombe and Carpenter families met more than a decade ago and Sammy and Lucy soon became friends.
It wasn’t until a GuideDogs camp in 2011 though that their friendship really began to flourish.
Since then, they’ve been inseparable with Kelli crediting Lucy for mentoring Sammy when she headed to high school — a change daunting for any 12-year-old, let alone one who is vision impaired.
“It was just a bit daunting, I could see it weighing on her a bit. It’s a pretty big deal because it’s not like you can find your friends when you’re vision impaired,” she said.
Sammy and Lucy’s mums also encouraged the girls to start the Instagram account as a happy distraction.
“Whenever they get a bit down about the disability they have they need to have something they can revert back to,” Kelli said.
And while their Instagram account is no doubt going to start taking up more of their time, Sammy is also a talented singer, a talent nurtured by her teacher Jacinta Burns.
That exact encouragement led to Sammy entering a school talent quest to sing — a contest she won.
“She’d always gone quietly through school with only a few friends. Finding your friends at lunchtime can be challenging, they all run off to go and play ball,” Kelli said.
“And she won it and all of a sudden all these people wanted to know who she was and all about her and it just gave her a spark and so much confidence.”
While the girls’ Instagram account will no doubt continue to grow, Kelli is just happy for the impact it’s had on the two girls.
“It’s about using what you’ve got and making the most of it,” she said. “And they keep getting more and more confident, which is what matters.”
Sammy and Lucy (from left to right, with their mothers Kelli and Erin) explained how they first met when they were babies, after their mothers met at a support group 


Lucy (pictured as a young child) has oculocutaneous albinism, which means that it affects her skin, her hair and her eyes 









 Sammy as a young child










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