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    Personal Experience

    6 Reasons why Vitiligo Shouldn’t Come Between You & Your Date…

    Ah! Dating! That wonderful topic that could consume an entire night during a dinner catchup with friends! From bad dates, to blind dates to the amazing dates that lead to marriage proposals after 6 weeks (it happens!), dating isnt dating if you havent got a good few stories to share….

    But what does dating feel like when you have a skin condition such as Vitiligo? For some it may overshadow the entire experiecnce, altering what we choose to wear and possibly, how we come across. I recall occassions where i’ve been on a date, having flitatious conversation, enjoying the type of company that makes you forget you’re in a public place, but at the back of my mind I’d be waiting for the dreaded question that felt like it needed a drum role beforehand “So, what happened to your skin”? In that very second, my heart would sink as my alterego attempted to confidently explain what it is, why I have it and how its very much apart of who I am….

    Vitiligo, or any skin condition for that matter, can sometimes make you feel like you can’t be yourself. Aside from the usual prep like ensuring your nails are pefectly manicured, to deciding how to wear your hair and what girly scent will send his senses a little wild, one of the hardest decisions to make is, what to wear. However, for us, as girls with Vitiligo, we sometimes have additional concerns, like ‘do I wear something that covers my patches’ or ‘do I dress freely in something that might show off my skin’? I was always the girl that would cover up, often choosing skinny jeans, a blouse with long sleeves or a fitted blazer becacuse I was too self-conscious about wearing something that would show the patches on my arms.

    Thankfully, I’ve learnt a lot about dating over recent years and most importantly, have become more open with what I wear and how I portray myself when I’m actually on a date. I’ve learnt a lot from guys I regard as good friends who have spoken honestly about women, dating and what their choices are based upon…. and I can assure you for the majority, it isn’t your skin…..

    So here’s what i’ve learnt in my quest to find the one…

     Don’t Let Vitiligo Define You…

    Yes, your Vitiligo is very much part of who you are and who you’ve become, but don’t let it be the sole purpose of your existance. There is so much more to you than your skin. When you meet a guy for the first time, don’t feel pressured to explain what it is, or worry beforehand at the prospect of it becoming a topic of discussion. Talk about all the other stuff that makes you who you are – your love of sport, travelling to faraway places or how you love to indulge in chcolate after a long week at work, because they are the things that make you happy. Your skin is apart of you, its not the only thing that makes you, you…..

    We are responsible for our own happiness…

    Try not to have the expectation that part of the guys job is to make you feel good about yourself. Sure, its good to date a guy who knows how to compliment and appreciate you, when you’re looking and feeling your best, but try to avoid feeling as though he should supplement your happiness. I once believed it was a guys job to compliment and make me feel comfortable if I chose to wear a t-shirt or a swimsuit on the beach, but I soon realised im responsible for feeling good about me and anything else is a nice bonus!

    Guys arent as concerned about your skin as you might think…

    Apologies if that is borderline blunt, I just want to build on the point that your skin isn’t what determines who you are as a person. I can’t speak for all guys, but honestly, the majority are not worried about your skin. Imagine you’ve been talking for weeks, exchanging flirtatious one liners, feeling each other’s energy and you’re simply feeling a really good vibe. Date night arrives. You’ve arranged a great meeting spot and you’ve chosen the outfit that makes you feel confident. When you think of everything that surrounds that vision, where does Vitiligo fit in? I’d love if you could honestly say ‘nowhere’…

    I remember catching a guy staring at my hands once. He was incredibly hot, so the shear thought of his eyes transfixed on my porcelain white hands almost made me crumble. Seconds later, he took my hand and told me how beautiful they were and then proceeded to tell me how his cousin developed Vitiligo when he was 12 years old. It made me realise how negatively assuming my thoughts can sometimes be and just how often I think the worst when really they could be thinking the opposite. For me, it really broke the ice in the most endearing way. I valued the honesty and the openness which made me feel as though I could comfortably be myself.

    Confidence is the most attractive quality…

    As women, we like confidence in a man….men like the same…and believe me its all the rage these days! If you look around you and on social media, there are endless advocates promoting body confidence and embracing all that we are aesthetically. Now, I’m not saying that all guys are open to dating girls that embrace their differences, but a large percentage love a girl that loves herself. The girls that are content and accepting of who they are the ones that are probably quite fun to be around.

    If you’re content, comfortable and realise your own self-worth, then a guy will see those things you see. If you’re someone who isn’t comfortable in their own skin and expresses that, not only can it put pressure on a relationship but it can become hard for a guy to convince you that you are a beautiful person…..especially if you don’t believe it yourself.

    Don’t make any assumptions…..

    Don’t make any assumptions on what you think the other person is thinking. You will never really know, so let conversations take place and enjoy the moment without being paranoid you know what is going on in their head. I’ve had dates where guys have asked me about my skin and others where they’ve not asked me at all. I used to find it strange if I wasn’t asked, because I naturally assumed they must curious and would want to know why my skin was the way it was.

    Ive stopped looking at it too deeply. If he doesn’t ask, im open to the fact it doesn’t bother him. Im also open to the fact that he will ask someday, but for now he isnt getting to know my skin, he is getting to know me and my potential as a partner (and vice versa).

    Promise yourself this…

    The next time you are preparing for a date, focus on the things that are important. The things that are happening in the current moment – for example when you’re getting ready, painting your nails and leaving the house with half a bottle of Chanel following behind you….

    Nerves are natural and expected….even for the those most confident. As is, changing your outfit three times because you can’t decide whether the peplum top looks better than the cold shoulder top, but don’t add Vitiligo to the list of things to worry about. That can come later, but preferably not at all…

    Disclaimer: My posts are never written to offend. They are my personal viewpoints based on my own personal experiences. I hope you enjoy reading…

    Personal Experience


    Last month, Changing Faces launched Face Equality Day, a major milestone for the charity who recently celebrated their 25th anniversary. Launched to raise awareness and remind us to be respectful to people regardless of their appearance, it was a day that collectively brought people together from across the UK, to show support and unity for those with a disfigurement.

    Butterfly’s, created as the emblem for the day, were worn to symbolise Face Equality and later shared on social media with events taking place across the UK to make sure the message reached far and wide! Face Equality coincides with a report commission by the charity, entitled ‘Disfigurement in the UK’ which was published on the 26th May, now officially Face Equality Day.

    The report, based on a survey of more than 800 people, revealed some shocking findings that related to all areas of life, for example, four fifths of those with a disfigurement have avoided applying for a job because they believed their appearance would hinder them at the interview, whilst more than four fifths of people have experienced harassment from a stranger or unpleasantness relating to their appearance. The report was proof that things need to change.

    I remember completing the questionnaire at the beginning of the year. The in depth survey really got me thinking about my personal attitude to my skin and how I managed situations where people would question what had happened to my skin. Whilst I feel fortunate that I have overcome a number of challenges and now fully embrace who I am with Vitiligo, every time I submitted an answer to a question, I thought about others who were doing the exact same task, who weren’t so confident about being different and still felt discriminated against because of a condition they have. A painful reality…

    To coincide with Face Equality Day, I was asked to speak with the lovely Jenny Campbell, an award winning poet and short story writer, and who runs a very successful YouTube channel. We had a chat about Disfigurement and its representation in the media….click the link to find out what I think about the media and how it portrays people who are different…..

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    Personal Experience

    International Womens Day: Be Bold For Change

    March is a significant month in the calendar for women across the globe, as it’s the month that celebrates and honors the achievements of women in multiple ways.

    When I think about what International Women’s Day means to me, I automatically think of empowerment, strength, unity and celebration. The movement can be traced back to March 8th 1908 when 15’000 women marched through the streets of New York, protesting for shorter hours, equal pay and voting rights. The following year, on February 28th, the first national women’s day (NWD) was announced making the last Sunday of every February the official day of celebration until 1913.

    Since then, the initiative has strengthened globally. As a firm placeholder in the calendar, it’s a day that brings recognition to our achievements across platforms such as social, politics, economics and culture. It’s also a day that celebrates reflection, advocacy and action and holds stance to our continued journey towards gender equality, which is something women are still striving for to this day.

    This years theme is; #BeBoldForChange which is a collective call for a better working world where there is equality. Events will be taking place globally, ranging from social gatherings, speaking events, corporate events, exhibitions, women’s networks and beyond, creating an opportunity for all women to get involved in one way or another.

    So with March 8th being the day when we celebrate all that it is to be a woman in today’s world, here are the women I’d like to give mention too who are defying the odds and have inspired me….

    Winnie Harlow

    Since appearing on ANTM in 2014, Winnie has carved out a high profile career in the fashion industry that has turned her into a globally recognised figure. In her role as model and activist, she has featured on Ted X Teen where she presented her speech ‘My story is painted on my body’ and also spoke at the 2015 women of the world summit about not letting people label her. She has walked numerous fashion runways, recently closing the show for Julian MacDonald at the 2017 London Fashion week. She is heavily photographed and often seen in the press being praised for her fashion awareness, confidence and for being the face changer of fashion that has inspired some many women and young girls to love and feel confident in the skin they’re in. She has accomplished so much in so little time; it’s easy to forget she is still only 22 years of age.

    Adwoa Aboah

    Whilst model Adwoa does not have Vitiligo what she does have is passion and boldness. In 2015 she launched Girls Talk (after a brief stint in rehab) a movement created through her passion for helping girls share their experiences and feelings in an environment where they feel safe and can trust. In 2016 she opened up her world and shared her own personal story, which highlighted her battle with depression, drugs and self-hate. In a brave video clip, you watch as Adwoa removes her clothes whilst speaking about her experiences, giving the powerful message that style isn’t about what you wear its about being comfortable in your own skin, something that us Vitiligo girls have battled with at some stage in life. In addition to modeling and numerous magazine features, Adwoa will continue to visit schools, in an attempt to inspire and empower the next generation of women.

    April Star

    Coincidently, 12-year-old April has a rather fitting surname, as she really is a little star in the making. She is currently one of the faces of the Gap campaign that promotes fearless beauty and has gained global praise, as finally there is movement towards recognising that beauty and confidence comes in many forms. April developed Vitiligo at the age of 6 and rather than retreat she pursued her dreams of modeling and focused on changing the perception of beauty.

    In a survey conducted by the Girlguiding Girls Attitudes Survey, where 1,500 girls were questioned, it was revealed that 40% of girls within the group didn’t feel pretty enough and 25% felt that they needed to be perfect. One in six feel ashamed or embarrassed with how they look. These results are not only shocking, but also worrying.

    As a little girl growing and developing in a world that is heavily image conscious, it’s refreshing to see she is confident in her own skin. She is an example of someone, I hope, other young girls can learn from.

    Diandra Forrest

    Diandra Forrest is incredibly striking. Beautiful in fact. When I goggled her name and her images appeared, I found myself mesmerized by her looks. For those who don’t know, Diandra is a model and actress from the USA, who also happens to be the first female model with albinism to sign to a major modeling agency. Like others who suffer with skin conditions, Diandra was subject to taunts, name-calling and ridicule in her younger years because she was in fact, different. Years later she moved to New York, where it was there she found people were stopping her because of her unique look. She was then spotted by photographer Shameer Khan who told her she should model and so her journey began.

    Aside from walking the catwalk, Diandra is passionate about spreading awareness around albinism and is involved in efforts to empower women. She has also partnered with Assisting Children in Need (AZN), a Tanzanian not for profit organization that aids and supports children in relation to education, medical care and independent living.

    Us Girls

    I should of course, mention us! The Vitiligo models, Bloggers, TV Personalities and all the other things we are doing and aspiring to do, as we learn not to let our skin define us. Visibility in the media continues to grow and create awareness, as our ability to open up has excelled, proving that we too, love our skin. We are embracing our skin and we are redefining the face of beauty.

    How will you be celebrating International Women’s Day?

    If you would like to get involved in events in your local area, check out the link below for more information:



    Personal Experience

    Dating and the Vitiligo Girl

    Who doesn’t love being in love! Whether its getting ready for a date night, a film and a takeaway on a Saturday night or just being in each others presence knowing that you appreciate your time together… is a beautiful thing! 

    Whilst I love being in a relationship, I remember the days when dating part wasn’t much fun! The part where you meet the guy on a night out with friends, exchange numbers and spend a few days texting was all fine, it was the part when ‘do you want to meet up’? became the obvious next step and I would start to feel uncomfortable with the prospect of meeting up, one to one.

    In my early 20’s, I placed so much emphasis on my Vitiligo, that it made it difficult to enjoy the social element of dating. I was obsessed with the idea that my skin would come as a shock and so feeling naturally comfortable and relaxed whilst on a date, was sometimes very difficult.

    Days before we were due to meet, the usual questions and scenarios would play on my mind.  I would try and work out how I thought my date would react to my skin condition and tried to see my skin through his eyes, which was obviously impossible! I questioned whether it would put him off and if it would create a sense of awkwardness, which was the last thing I wanted someone to feel.

    It took a few years before I was able to feel comfortable and less conscious about my skin. I realised that my skin wasn’t actually as noticeable as I thought it was and that people were interested in me as a person, as opposed to what my skin looked like. I started to feel more relaxed within myself and started to block out any negative thoughts or questions. Accepting myself and realising the most important thing was to be myself, eliminated nerves and gave dating a completely new perspective. These days, the only thing I worry about now, like all women, is what I’ll wear. Anything else I deal with later…..

    So, with my negative attitude towards dating very much behind me, here are my tips on how to enjoy and make dating memorable for you…..

    Don’t hide behind your clothes

    Planning your outfit can be one of the hardest dating decisions to make! I’m sure every girl would agree! However, for us girls with Vitiligo, the look we decide to go for can sometimes revolve around our skin because of our desire to disguise it.

    My ‘go-to’ outfit was generally always the same – skinny jeans, a top with long sleeves and a fitted blazer and whilst the tailored look is very much my style, I knew my wardrobe choice was based around me wanting to remain covered, as opposed to me having the freedom to wear what I wanted. In my mind, I wanted to ‘sell’ who I was a person, without my Vitiligo being the center of attention.

    My desire to stay covered meant I avoided choosing something I felt good in. Covering up became my way of ignoring its existence, even if it was short term and I knew eventually it would come up in conversation. I didn’t want to be judged or disappoint my date so I remained covered until I was comfortable talking about it.

    Now, with very little insecurities about my skin and who I am, dating is a lot more interesting! I wear what I feel good in as opposed to feeling the need to covering up, after all if anyone I date doesn’t like me for who I am, he just isn’t the right guy for me!

    Don’t spend time worrying about what your date might think

    Whether you have a skin condition or any other type of physical insecurity for that matter, chances are you may find yourself worrying about what your date might think. For me, I worried about what he was going to think about my skin and whether it was something that would put him off.

    They were unnecessary and irrational concerns because ultimately you can’t really predict how the other person will respond. Don’t think about questions that don’t really need answers because it causes a needless reason to panic and feel nervous. Think about the now, like which outfit makes you feel amazing (for me its normally a skin brightening colour such as yellow!) or which bar serves great cocktails! Your personality is what counts. Allow your date to see how amazing you are without worrying about what he might think of your skin.

    Here are my tips on what ‘not to do’

    If you want to explain what Vitiligo is, do so.

     If, whilst on a date, you want to explain what Vitiligo is, feel free to do so. If you feel like it’s something you want to get out in the open, then confidently bring it up when the time feels right for you. Opening the dialogue shows that you’re comfortable talking about it and are relaxed about answering questions. You may find it’s a ‘weight off your shoulders’ and will help you to relax once you’ve explained what it is.

    There is no right time to mention

    I always thought there was a right time to have a conversation about Vitiligo. The first few dates felt too soon, but then there was the risk that if I left it too long, he would be wondering or second guessing what was really wrong with my skin….but then I wanted to feel comfortable so maybe date four wasn’t quite right either….

    Looking back, I gave it too much thought. There isn’t a ‘right’ time when you should explain what Vitiligo is and how it affects you. You may find it comes up naturally during conversation because you feel comfortable around that person, or because your date openly asks you out of curiosity. He may even say nothing at all, because it isn’t something he feels needs an explanation. Allow it to be something that comes up naturally rather than making it feel forced.

    Dating is supposed to be memorable and enjoyable! And regardless of how your skin looks, some dates are going to be amazing and some disastrous! Dating is potentially the very foundation to a lasting relationship and you want it to be memorable. Try not to give your skin too much thought and only see it as an opportunity to let your personality shine through. Remember: You are who you are and Vitiligo is not part of your personality….

    Photo: Kaye Ford @ Fordtography