Six out of every thousand people in the world will have eyes that are a different color from the other, although in most of these cases the difference is so subtle, you would never notice it unless you were in love with the eyes in question. Heterochromia iridum is a (stunning) genetic phenomenon in which the iris in one eye is different from the iris in the other. Though unquestionably beautiful, the look is striking precisely because of how unusual it is, which, of course, often means that those who have heterochromia iridum are bullied for their mismatched eyes. Having two differently colored eyes singles you out. But it’s usually the very things that make you strange and attract sneers as a kid, that when you get older, set you apart in the best way possible. Just look for yourself.
Model Kadri Vahersalu
“[People] thought I was an alien! I was never teased really badly but they’d just make a joke like ‘Uh, you’re an alien.’ And I was like ‘Thanks… how did you know?” ~ Kadri Vahersalu
Model Kaine Buffonage
“Everyone says I’m like David Bowie. People pick up on it all the time…I was never truly confident in myself at school. I could never take pictures, I hated the word ‘selfie’ and all of that. So where I am now, it’s completely amazing to me.” ~ Kaine Buffonage, Photo by Brock Elbank.
Photographer Abdulhamid Kircher
“When my mom was eight months pregnant with me, she saw a homeless man in the train with two different colored eyes. She told me that he was one of the most beautiful men she has ever seen; one eye was green and the other blue. In Turkey, it is said that if you wish really, really hard for a trait that you want your kid to have, that wish will come true. Unfortunately, I was born with two bold blue eyes. But, around the age of 1, my eyes changed colors one day to the next—one blue, one green. I still don’t know the reason for my two different colored eyes, but to this day, I still thank that homeless man in the train.” ~ Abdul Kircher via Mass Appeal.
Model Sarah McDaniel
“I never had a friend group or anyone who would stand up for me. I think it was being tall and weird looking and still growing into my features…people didn’t like me all around. I just didn’t really connect with a lot of the kids.” ~ Sarah McDaniel
“Life wasn’t particularly pleasant at school, I was bullied a lot because of my “odd eyes”. I hated them, despised them in fact. It wasn’t until one of my high school biology teaches brought up the subject of heterochromia, that I really started to research it. I soon found out that it was very unique and the majority of online opinions were very positive.” ~ Jade via Heterochromia Portraits.
Actor Dominic Sherwood
On shooting Taylor Swift’s Style video: “It’s pretty obvious in the video that my eyes are different colors, and they actually are. That’s how my eyes are. There was a lot of response about my eyes and people questioning whether it was real or whether it was done for the video. They are real. I can tell everyone right now…People feel they’re being ocularly tricked by my eyes. But no, they’re actually blue and brown. I’m not trying to trick anyone.”
For a beautiful tribute to those with heterochromia iridum, definitely check out Maria Cavali’s photography project called Heterochromia Portraits that’s all about celebrating people with two differently colored eyes. The site features gorgeous photography paired with touching personal stories of the many ways heterochromia has affected those who have the condition.