A man whose body is almost completely covered in hair now proudly boasts the accolade of being the ‘world’s hairiest man’, after years of ridicule and bullying.
Larry Gomez, of San Bernardino, California, has been nicknamed the ‘Wolf Man’ because 98 percent of his body – including his face – is coated with thick, dark hair.
He was born with congenital generalized hypertrichosis – a rare genetic disorder that strikes less than 100 people worldwide, including a number of his family members.
Cruel children bullied Mr. Gomez – whose real name is Victor – during his time at school, ostracizing him as a result of his unusual appearance.
But, after making a name for himself in Hollywood, he has finally learned to embrace his difference and is now considered the world’s hairiest man.
Mr. Gomez’ newfound confidence also helped him find love, after recently marrying Alicia Martinez, whom he met when searching for an apartment in 2011.
Urging others to look beyond appearances and get to know the person beneath, he is hoping to use his story to inspire others to be confident in their own skin.
Filmmaker Travis Hoefle, who runs the YouTube Channel ‘Wizard of Odd TV’, flew out from Chicago to meet with the iconic ‘Wolf Man.’
He said: ‘Larry has three other family members who suffer from the condition, spread out over five generations.
‘The women are covered with a light to medium coat of hair, while the men of the family have thick hair, covering most of their bodies.
‘[Larry] was bullied as a kid for the way he looks, but now he wants other people to accept him, and others, who look different.’
Mr. Gomez grooms his hair once a month, but ‘it always grows back quite quickly’, according to Mr. Hoefle, whose channel has 24,000 subscribers.
He added: ‘Larry has completely embraced his difference, saying he has never known anything else – it is what it is.
‘He’s a very nice man and loves to make jokes. I can tell he’s a very caring person and a real family man.
‘Wolf man’s outlook on life is very positive and inspirational – life is hard but you have to make the best of it each and every day.
‘I interviewed with him as part of my online YouTube channel ‘Wizard of Odd TV’, which documents the amazing stories of ordinary people.
‘The Wizard of Odd TV sets out to entertain people but also importantly provide a positive message about life.’
Mr. Gomez’ and three others in his family were awarded the Guinness World Record for the largest hairiest family in February 2000.
It said Mr. Gomez and his brother Gabriel had thick hair on approximately 98 percent of their body – apart from their hands and feet.
At the time, the brothers were part of the Mexican National Circus – but Mr. Gomez has since gone on to bigger things.
He chose the stage name Larry after the main character Lawrence in the 1941 film The Wolf Man, according to IMDb.
And in 2011, the Mexican-born actor featured in the hit movie Water for Elephants, alongside Reese Witherspoon and Robert Pattinson.
Mr. Gomez has a son called Michael with his ex-wife, who he split within 2007 – but the youngster doesn’t suffer from hypertrichosis.
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