A man relentlessly bullied as a child is now reaping the rewards of being the 'world's hairiest man'.
Larry Gomez, from San Bernardino in California, suffers from Hypertrichosis, a rare disorder that results in thick, dark hair growing all over his body, including his face.
Hypertrichosis can occur from birth or develop later in life as a result of drugs, associations and links to eating disorders. There is no cure for the condition and any treatment is temporary and purely cosmetic in nature.
Nicknamed 'Wolf Man' (real name Victor), Larry Gomez now embraces his condition. He married in 2011 while looking for an apartment and now runs a rental business, including hiring out bouncy castles.
Larry Gomez at home in California. Credit: Caters News Agency
Interviewed for YouTube channel Wizard of Odd TV, Larry said he has learned to live with a condition that saw him treated differently as a child.
"Ninety-eight percent of my body is hair," he said. "I was born with this condition... Not many people in the world have this condition. I believe six to eight in the world and I am the hairiest one. For me, it means [I'm] special and famous, too, so, why not?"
Speaking about how he lives with the condition, Gomez said: "People ask 'how do you live with this?'...I don't know other ways... this is my normal life."
Speaking about his work, he said: "I worked in the circus, I do movies, TV commercials." But he said that he is happy with his life now and urged others to try and enjoy their lives.
Larry now runs a rentals service. Credit: Caters News Agency
In years gone by, hypertrichosis sufferers were often treated as freaks and many performed in 19th and early 20th-century circuses, marketed as a mix between animal and human.
Petrus Gonsalvus was the first recorded case of hypertrichosis and was referred to by Italian naturalist Ulisse Aldrovandi as 'the man of the woods'. Four of his seven children had hypertrichosis and were painted as a result to depict their condition.
Given the rarity of the disorder, hypertrichosis is often considered a 'one in a billion' condition and affects very few people worldwide.
Although it can lead to social embarrassment, hypertrichosis entails no extra medical conditions aside from a blocked nasal passage.
Larry spoke to Wizard of Odd TV in the hope that by speaking about his personal experience, and ability to live with his condition, others may be able to do likewise.
Featured Image Credit: Caters News Agency