It's something we all take for granted but Auckland woman Tayla Clement, 24, has never been able to smile.
It's one of the effects of a rare condition called moebius syndrome and it means Clement is unable to lift the corners of her mouth or move her upper lip. The condition, which causes facial paralysis due to underdeveloped nerves, also means she can't move her eyes horizontally or raise her eyebrows either.
After years of bullying over the way she looks, Clement, who tried to take her own life several times due to the impact of the endless cruelty from others, has been signed on to international modelling agency, Zebedee.
Speaking to Australian media outlet 7News, Clement said "I want to show my younger self that we are enough - we are worthy just the way we are."
It's been a harrowing journey for the Kiwi woman who, aged 11, underwent what she hoped would be a life-changing surgery that would allow her to smile - and put an end to the horrific bullying she had endured.
But the eight-hour surgery, which involved removing tissue from her leg and inserting it into her face, was unsuccessful.
She told 7News she "looked so horrible that nurses and my parents wouldn't let me look in the mirror for a week and a half after the surgery."
When the little girl did catch a glimpse of her reflection in a mirror, "it broke me", she says.
Throughout her schooling Clement says she was isolated, bullied and eventually the cruel taunts turned to physical attacks including children kicking her and taking plastic bags to school to put over Clement's face.
By the time she reached high school, Clement was skipping classes to dodge the harassment. But the impact on a teenage Clement's mental health was unavoidable.
Clement tried to take her own life a total of six times.
Aged 17, she collapsed and had what would be the first of numerous seizures. Despite being hospitalised for observation, there were no answers and over the next few months Clements was experiencing up to 10 seizures a day.
After scans and blood tests, eventually doctors found out what was going on.
Clement had such severe depression doctors described the teen's mental health as comparable to the PTSD a soldier would be diagnosed with.
Known as dissociative seizures, they are brought on by severe traumatic stress and in Clement's case were a sign her body was "shutting down".
According to 7News, Clement's condition was so acute specialists observed she would likely never make a full recovery.
But Clements revealed something switched in her and she found herself determined to embrace the face she had been born with.
As well as joining a gym and getting into meditation, Clement started an Instagram account "The Girl Who Can't Smile". Here she shares inspiring images of her fitness-fuelled lifestyle with her 23,000 followers.
Clement points out that, growing up, she never saw anyone in the media like her - different.
While her childhood was marred by feeling like "an outcast", she wants to use her platform and new modelling gig to help others who might be different learn to celebrate what it is that makes them unique.
SUICIDE AND DEPRESSION
Where to get help:
• Lifeline: 0800 543 354 (available 24/7)
• Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7)
• Youth services: (06) 3555 906
• Youthline: 0800 376 633
• Kidsline: 0800 543 754 (available 24/7)
• Whatsup: 0800 942 8787 (1pm to 11pm)
• Depression helpline: 0800 111 757 (available 24/7)
• Rainbow Youth: (09) 376 4155
• Helpline: 1737
If it is an emergency and you feel like you or someone else is at risk, call 111.