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’….
The full feature is available at https://www.phoenixmag.co.uk/article/the-skin-were-in-meet-the-changing-faces-ambassadors-redefining-beauty/
Phoenix will feature the interview in the print version of the magazine later this year.
Photo: Kaye Ford @ Fordtography
My first experience at talking to the Media, was an appearance on London Live in September 2014. You can access the VT recording here. Agreeing to be interviewed on TV was particularly daunting as i’d never publicly spoken about my condition before. Why would I! I wasn’t sure if I was ready to open up about the person I was with Vitiligo. I apprehensively agreed and it turned out to be one of the most liberating things i’ve ever done….