Last month I took part in a recording for the long running BBC 3 series ‘What Not To Say’. The 6 minute recording featured six of us, all with Vitiligo, tackling and responding to all those crazy questions and statements we often get asked about our skin.
I was paired with Bashir, and we had an absolute blast! The entire hour in which we recorded it was endless humour, with hints of sarcasm as we openly discussed what it felt like to be asked some pretty eye rolling type questions like “is it because you have one white parent and one black parent” to assuming a way to cure Vitiligo is through simply bleaching the skin!
We wanted to shut down all those often unanswered questions that normally arise through curiosity and share with viewers exactly why some questions just shouldn’t be asked……
Last weekend, I attended the Skin Matters conference in London……the first of its kind.
Bringing together leading industry professionals, that included Dermatologists, Clinical Psychologists and panel experts, the aim was to raise awareness and further inform those living with a skin condition. The carefully planned agenda caused for an interactive day that benefited an audience that were mostly living with various skin conditions such as Eczema, Psoriasis and Rosacea.
I was fortunate to be asked (by the conference founder, Lotte Benson) to take part in the ‘The Lived Experience’ which included myself (as someone with Vitiligo), alongside three lovely ladies who live day to day with those skin conditions as mentioned above. I got to meet the girls before the session at the end of the day, so by the time it came for us to speak to the audience, the energy (and nervous levels!) were pretty high! It was so positive and uplifting sharing the stage with 3 other courageous women who confidently spoke about their experiences and how they’ve learnt to accept themselves and live confidently with their skin. I definitely took something away from hearing them speak!
Whenever im asked to speak, I always feel like I’m learning more about my own story as well as bettering my presentation and speaking skills, and whilst the whole experience can be pretty nerve racking (those nerves sometimes kicking in from the night before – eek!), its always a great feeling walking off the stage knowing I got through and survived!
The conference was well received and is definitely needed as a way to bring professionals and those with the conditions together, because after all…our skin most definitely matters.
The phrase ‘redefining beauty’ is a term so widely used, that its definition should probably be featured in Wikipedia by now! A term used across all media platforms globally; it expands and challenges the idea that beauty comes in many forms as opposed to the images we often see plastered in magazines.
Since giving myself the freedom to speak about my skin, a number of opportunities with magazines have come my way, allowing me to speak about my journey as a girl with Vitiligo.
My most recent interview was with Phoenix magazine, a luxury fashion and lifestyle magazine based in London and distributed internationally.
The interview, carried out by the editor; Hannah Gale, was similar to what I’d done before; visually highlighting my skin whilst documenting my experiences with Vitiligo.
The interview came about as a result of my role as a volunteer ambassador for Changing Faces. The final feature ‘The Skin We’re In: Meet the Changing Faces Ambassadors redefining Beauty’, included a stunning collection of photos in both colour and black and white and featured myself and two other inspirational women (also ambassadors), was published in perfect time, just ahead of Face Equality Day on Friday May 26th.
Sometimes when I’m reading back over an interview I’ve given, I read it as though it’s someone else’s story. Bizarrely, It really enables me to appreciate and develop a closer connection with the person I am, as I read it and suddenly think ‘that’s me’….