Local teenager is known worldwide for her modeling, but she is much deeper than her beauty

AnnaKate Jolly performs despite epilepsy and being legally blind in one eye...and she's the granddaughter of former county commissioner Tim Boyd

CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) – Try this for a scenario…

You’re an 18-year-old woman from Chattanooga, and you’re known worldwide.

You’re a runway model.

One might think that person would have the world in her hands.

But don’t let the face of AnnaKate Jolly fool you.

There’s a lot more to AnnaKate than you see.

“Well, I mean…there’s not too much to say. I’m not that interesting.”

Yep. Totally uninteresting.

Uninteresting in North Carolina.

Same in Miami, as she shows what’s on the catwalk for Maybelline.

Want to know what is interesting about AnnaKate?

She’s 4’11”, not the foot taller from most fashion models.

She’s not bone-thin.

She’s legally blind in one eye.

And she has epilepsy.

While those used to be things she wished she didn’t have, that’s not the case now.

“My disability that I have, and maybe the other medical conditions that I have as well, I use that as a source of strength. I try to be a good role model for someone – a young male or a woman – who may have a disability as well. I want them to be able to look up to me and think ‘OK. She’s done this, and she has these trials that she’s faced, and has this disability that she’s had ever since she was 2. Maybe I can do something like that.'”

That can be hard for an epileptic to be a runway model with all the flashing lights. AnnaKate hasn’t had any issues with that, but her seizures can be debilitating.

“It’s very, very scary. I had three or four in December of 2020, and that was quite terrifying. To be able to wake up and automatically know there’s something very wrong with your body, and that you just feel off, and you don’t feel in place. To be consumed by all that fear that’s inside of your body, and nothing but fear. Being able to think ‘Am I going to die?’ It’s scary. It really is.”

Another source of strength for AnnaKate is her grandfather, and he’s someone well-known in Hamilton County: former County Commissioner Tim Boyd.

“I have learned from him to be very passionate about what I strongly believe in. I strongly believe that I can model, and I can do this, even though I do have this disability, or I am this height, or I am this age. Whenever I think of him, I always just remember to have that passion to be able to believe in myself because he gives me that confidence.”

She exudes that confidence on the runway, and wants to give that to you as a role model.

“When they look at me, and they see my height, they don’t just see my height. They see the height, the disability overall, and they’re like ‘I can do that, too. I may have this disability,’ or ‘this height.’ Or ‘I’m probably too big or … anything.’ I want them to be like ‘Wow! That’s really inspiring.”

AnnaKate already has more bookings coming her way.

Right before Christmas, she’s modelling for four different designers in Florida.

And, unless something changes, she’s set to head to Paris next summer for another event.

Categories: Chattanooga, Featured, Hamilton County, Local News