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In the April 2011 issue of Vogue, supermodel Joan Smalls reveals details about her diagnosis of scoliosis and her daily struggle with the condition.

“Joan Smalls was fourteen years old when she was diagnosed with scoliosis, a curvature of the spine that can become painful, especially when you’ve been posing in six-inch stilettos all day.

“I do my best not to think about it,” says Smalls, whose condition – identified too late to be corrected with a back brace – leaves her vulnerable to injury.

It has certainly never stopped the 22-year-old Puerto Rican model from pushing her body to its limits; she took up boxing in college and knows exactly how to throw a good punch.

“My coach wanted me to compete, but I said, ‘Do you see this right here?'” she says, pointing to her perfectly proportioned face. “I can’t mess this up!”

A year ago, Smalls started working out with a trainer who prescribed an intense course of body-resistance training to strengthen the muscles in her lower back and glutes. Besides alleviating discomfort, the targeted exercises routine has other perks.

“All the lower-body work reshaped my butt! I’m pretty proud of it,” she says.

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