In 2016, it was so refreshing to see more and more people within the Vitiligo community sharing their stories and opening up about the patches on their skin. Like many readers, I found these stories courageous, positive and inspiring. I loved reading how girls and women had overcome their fears of being judged and learnt how to embrace their skin. For me, it made me feel a sense of empowerment….connection even, as I felt so close to the stories which felt so similar to my own. Most of what I read ended with similar themes; women that learned to love their skin and finally felt beautiful, brave and most importantly, care free.
One of the first articles I wrote was ‘Life with Vitiligo: my white skin cells started to attack each other’ for the online charity, Ditch the Label. Written by myself, it was a moving encounter on who I was as a little girl with Vitiligo, and who I am now. And even though I still feel an element of exposure, every time I agree to write a feature or share my story, there is something very invigorating about opening up and not being afraid to do so anymore.
So with the stories of 2016 creating such positivity within the Vitiligo community, here are my picks on some of the influential and memorable stories from yesteryear….
A courageous encounter from a teenage girl from Baltimore, USA, who later featured in the TV series ‘Too Ugly for Love’.
An amazing 4-page feature detailing international star, Winnie Harlow’s journey. It was so great to see her featured in a mainstream, UK magazine aimed at women. Accompanying the interview were some great fashion shots, which really highlighted the beauty of her skin. Subsequently, I wrote to Grazia to thank them for the article and the following week I was selected as ‘Letter of the Week’ and bagged myself some lovely goodies from the natural beauty range, Lucky Cloud!
Beautiful Cat Spedding from Yorkshire, UK, hid her skin under layers of clothes like most of us have done at some stage in life. However, after noticing just how much others were embracing their skin, with the support of others, she learned to love her skin and took to Instagam as proof that she no longer felt the need to hide.
The beautiful story of a young 15 year old girl, who wrote and illustrated I’m Not Unusual, I’m Just Unique, as part of her school project.
A story with a difference! Tiffany Posteraro, from New York, decided to have ‘its called Vitiligo” tattooed onto her skin after years of taunts and cruel bullying
Not quite a 2016 story, but an awe inspiring, favourite feature to say the least. It’s the compelling and heart aching story of ballets beautiful star, Michaela DePrince, who was told she was the ‘Devils Child’ because of the way she looked.
Do you have any stories that have inspired you over the past year? Feel free to share….