Jay Manuel wears many hats. Makeup artist, model, modeling coach, fashion photographer, counselor and reality check to Tyra Banks‘ little model wannabes on ANTM. If all of that weren’t exhausting enough, now he’s adding smile ambassador to that list.
Child Mode reports that Manuel has partnered with Operation Smile, an organization that aims to provide free surgeries for children who have cleft lip, cleft palate and other facial deformities. Today is his birthday, and on his page at the organization’s website, he’s asking for donations instead of presents.
“I want to celebrate in style by giving the gift of life-changing surgeries to children born with facial deformities. I’ve spent more than a decade in the world of high fashion and I know there is nothing more beautiful than a smile.”
Manuel's message goes on to say that fixing a child’s facial deformity can take as little as 45 minutes and costs around $240. A child in need of such a surgery is born every three minutes.
His teeth may be annoyingly perfect, and he might spend his days trying to get clueless girls to smile with their eyes and not their mouths, but Manuel’s mission is more practical than aesthetic. Left untreated, the facial deformities Operation Smile sets out to fix can prevent infants from eating, learning how to talk and becoming properly socialized. In some cases the conditions can be fatal.
So our hats are off to Mr. Manuel — we like seeing fashion people do good outside of the industry every now and again. It reminds us that no matter what you do for a living, you can take a moment to help make the world a more beautiful place.