My journey with vitiligo began at the mere age of 5. Not understanding why or how this de-pigmentation of skin came to be, my family searched for a cure to rid of me of this illness. The trials began and I was poked and prodded, not only in the doctor's office, but also in classrooms, public spaces, at family functions and more.
Growing up, I was seen as strange- something to be fixed. In a classic coming of age story, I realized that perception is key. Knowing oneself is relevant to overcome any obstacle.
I quickly learned that the mental haste that occupied my mind and lack of acceptance of this de-pigmentation was the real issue to remedy. Understanding that the de-pigmentation of skin does not make you any less of a person is crucial. Knowing confidently that vitiligo adds to ones overall aesthetic rather than removes from it is essential.
With a shift of mindset and a true development of self, I found myself being scouted on the streets for photo shoots, Fashion Weeks and more… I was finally to embrace who I was and flaunt it to the world. Constant praise surrounding “The Beard” (where my vitiligo most prominently shows) made me understand that the world is an ever-compelling place where authenticity is valued; not neglected.
Becoming the face of multiple Designers, representing them in various ways, rocking the runway and more... I realized that being different is prime. My advice to anyone combating vitiligo falls somewhere within understanding that being different sets you apart from the rest. You are ultimately given the ability to be your truest self in the most unique form.
"Be daring, be striking, be relentlessly yourself... Always!"