Model and YouTube star star Cassandra Bankson was amazed to discover, during a routine kidney scan, that she has two vaginas.
Cassandra, who suffers from severe cystic acne, rose to stardom when she began making videos on everything from overcoming bullying to applying make up and treating skincare concerns.
After starting the channel just four years ago Cassandra now has nearly one million subscribers and more than 100 million total views.
But the 22-year-old shocked her fans last year when she announced the discovery of her second vagina on her channel DiamondsAndHeels14.
She began having lower back pain last year and, after visiting the doctor, she discovered that she had only one kidney – and a second working vagina.
Cassandra, who lives in San Francisco but travels the world modelling, volunteering and connecting with fans, said: “When we got the test results back the doctor said I only had one kidney and flippantly added that I have two vaginas - as she suspected.
“There is one vaginal opening but inside there are two vaginas, two uteri, two cervixes and two fallopian tubes.
“Most vaginas are one large cavity but this is a complete separation into two different cavities."
"I was shocked and the doctor explained to me that it was like an upside nose.
“I didn’t really know what to make of it – I was just in shock but I don’t really let it get in the way of my life.
“It certainly helped explain a lot of things.”
While the condition may not lead to her being unable to conceive or leave her more susceptible to feminine cancers it can lead to complications.
Cassandra added: “Ever since I was younger I would go to the doctor because I was bleeding for 28 days or I would have two periods a month – but they never suspected I had a second vagina.
“I always had really bad cramps - I could not move or my bowels would just not want to behave because the cramps were so bad.
“It is extremely difficult to deal with because you don't know whether your period is going to last a week or three.
“As far as my understanding of how it affects a person's sex life - for some people having two vaginas can make it very painful - for others I assume there are more nerve endings so it could be more pleasurable.”
Cassandra added: “I'm definitely nervous about having to explain this to future partners. It’s not something I'm looking forward to.
"It's obviously a huge deal and I have no real idea how this is going to affect my life so it's something we would have to talk about.
"But hopefully it won't be an issue - when I do meet someone I'll be looking for an emotional connection, somebody to laugh and joke with - the sex side of things isn't a huge issue for me.”
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Despite the rarity of her case Cassandra found her family very supportive when she made the announcement.
She added: “I kind of walked in and said, 'guess what mom I’m twice the woman – I have two vaginas'.
“She really didn’t know what to say and my dad was really shocked.
“He’s a math guy so was trying to figure out how this would even be possible but they’re cool with it.
“It’s no real issue for my friends – I just tell them that I’m pretty special but they just see me as Cassy – not Cassy with the two vaginas.”
She has suffered severe bullying throughout her life because of her acne and thought that having two vaginas may have led to the hormonal imbalance that was causing it.
She said: “I got my first pimple at eight or nine years old and kids would make comments about it.
“I realised I was different and other people didn't have that on their face.
“I would be in the grocery store and children would point at me and say ‘mommy what’s wrong with her face.’
“It was incredibly difficult to deal with.
“I ended up seeing doctors and dermatologists but the bullying got really bad.
“The school counsellor would look at me and tell me to stop being such a drama queen - saying that kids will be kids.
“The acne got really bad and it ended up covering 90 per cent of my chest, face and back by that point I had to leave public school because of the bullying.
“I had zero confidence and just did not like the person I was. I was incredibly quiet and it was painful to talk to other people.
“The YouTube channel and community completely changed that – it helped make me into the confident person I am today.”
After leaving public school and enrolling in a private study programme Cassandra was able to graduate two years early and do lots of research on how to deal with her acne.
She said: “I discovered that sometimes the four dollar concealer from the drug store worked much better than the fifty dollar designer product – there was a lot of trial and error.
“I was able to use make up to look like the person I wanted to be within a sensible budget.
“It all took off for me when I decided to share what I had learned with YouTube – it became very popular.”
In just a few short months she developed a large following of subscribers but it really took off when she published a video on how to cover acne with foundation.
She added: “So far it’s got around 26 million views and it just keeps going – I posted it shortly after launching the channel and that’s when I knew how big this thing could be - how many people need this help, advice and support.
“My subscribers went up over night and I started to get calls from the mainstream media – it was like a whirlwind and things haven’t really slowed down since.”
Cassandra recently modeled for cool brand Boy Meets Girl at New York Fashion Week and is starting to get more work as a model.
While in the city she visited one of New York’s top gynecologists Dr Dena Harris to discuss her condition.
Dr Dena said: “A lot of women do not even know they have this condition and find out when they're pregnant – It’s possible it won't even bother Cassandra in a sexual way.
“There's a possibility there will be some issues with getting pregnant for Cassy – but if there's a problem it can be dealt with but we would hope she will be fine.
“I don't think she will be more susceptible to feminine cancer based on her anomalies and I don't think that there's any correlation between Cassandra's acne and her vaginal abnormality – but I can’t be sure on that.
“Women develop two vaginas when the embryo is developing - it separates into different parts and fuses - if they don't fuse all the way you can get two uteruses and two vaginas.
“It’s very rare but Cassandra can live a normal life and if there are any problems we could work to fix them.”
Cassandra’s acne has improved slightly over the past couple of years and she puts this down to her healthy vegan lifestyle and abstinence from drink and drugs.
“My two vaginas can be treated if they need to be and that’s good to know,” she added.
“But it’s not causing problems and I’m not trying to have kids right now but when I do decide I will hopefully be able to have them naturally.
“I'm feeling pretty calm about the whole situation.”
While treatment will be available for the condition in the future - Cassandra is resolved to focus on her YouTube channel and helping those who may have faced similar obstacles.
She added: “I would love to continue educating people – I’ve always been extremely passionate about helping others and I want to continue showing people how to find their own self confidence and success.”Suggest a correction