The Story On My Skin… My blog - Press Archives – My blog
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    BARING ALL WITH LOVE DISFIGURE

    As someone with a skin condition, there was a time when I hated the idea of a beach holiday. The thought of couples strolling along the beach, women with ‘beach ready bodies’ and attracting stares that questioned why my skintone wasn’t typically mixed race, was enough to make me board a plane to New York rather than the Seychelles. It was only later, when I entered my thirties, that my attitude started to change as I realised just how much I was missing out on, because I was too busy worrying about what others thought of me.

    Earlier this year, I stepped (actually make that leaped!) outside my comfort zone and took part in a swimwear photoshoot set up by burns survivor Sylvia Mac, the founder of Love Disfigure and passionate campaigner for diversity within the fashion industry. Sponsored by swimwear brand, Swimwear 365, Sylvia chose 20 inspirational models, all with their own unique stories, with the vision of celebrating and bringing recognition to those with visible scars and skin conditions such as Vitiligo and Psoriasis.

    When Sylvia initially asked me to take part, I was apprehensive. Would I really be comfortable being photographed in my swimwear? Was I mentally ready to take part in a campaign that could go global and which would be heavily promoted across the media? I was uncertain because a tiny part of me still felt like the 15 year old that mostly wanted to disguise her skin rather than show it. Nevertheless, after giving it some thought and the importance of body positivity and embracing who we are regardless of how we look, I excitedly agreed to take part.

    The shoot, which took place at a North London leisure centre, was captured by photographer, Sophie Mayanne who is also the creator of the highly successful, Behind the Scars project. When I arrived, I instantly recognised some of the other models, not because i’d met them before, but because I’d read their courageous stories perviously in the press. In an instant, conversations started and everyone started exchanging stories that echoed strength and survival, I couldn’t help but feel inspired by the positivity which quickly put me at ease with showing my body in swimwear.

    It didn’t take long for the official photo launch to come round. Taking place at a London venue, I’d not seen any of the photos and so had no clue what I looked like and to be honest, I was now more concerned about my unpredictable curly hair rather than my skin! Ultimately, I didn’t know whether I’d hate how I looked in front of the lens or if I’d be blown away! There were constant streams of people arriving at the auditorium to show support for the campaign, including ex Olympic swimmer, Sharon Davies. Sylvia opened with a moving speech about how she had conquered her own personal battles, after an accident involving boiling hot water which left her with scars on her back and various other parts of her body at the age of 4, followed by a beautifully edited clip of some of the photos captured on the day.

    As the reality of each photo revealed itself, my mind drifted back to those stories I’d learned about on the day of the shoot. It was then I realised just how proud I was of myself and all the other models that had taken part. The stories of those that had experienced difficult times, the struggles of acceptance and most importantly, being survivors of the path that had been put before them.

    Thankfully, I loved every single photo. They were incredibly natural. The swimwear design and colour complemented my skintone and my bright red lips worked well against my loosely hanging curls.

    Since its launch, the campaign has been praised across the media, featuring in The Independent, The Sun, The Daily Mail and Women’s Health Magazine. Some of the models have also featured on This Morning, modelling this years hottest swimwear looks. It really feels like change is coming and its most definitely better late than never….

     

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    Press, Radio & TV

    BBC 3 Online Series – Things Not To Say To Someone With Vitiligo

    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……

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    Press

    2017 Your Skin Campaign

    This week, Mediaplanet UK launched their 2017 Your Skin Campaign in The Guardian newspaper and online at Health Awareness.

    I was lucky enough to have my story featured; ‘One Vitiligo woman’s story offers hope to others, alongside a collection of motivating stories and insights from experts and thought leaders in the health industry.

    One of my favourite posts, features the work of Medha Iyer, who captures Vitiligo through her love of photography. Incredibly creative and inspiring!

    Check out the website for all things relating to skin and health.

    http://www.healthawareness.co.uk

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    Press

    SKIN MATTERS 2017 – MINIMISE THE IMPACT OF YOUR SKIN CONDITION

    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.

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