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    Vitiligo

    My Top 2019 Moments

    Of all the posts I write throughout the year, the ‘end of year’ reflection post is by far one of my favourites to write because it means I get to reflect over the good and the bad of the past 12 months and give some thought to what I learnt and what changes I’ll be making in the New Year. 2019 has been kind to me. I feel very fortunate. I’ve been presented with some great opportunities in relation to sharing my story and making a small impact in the space I’ve been given and in parallel, feel as though I’ve really worked on developing myself and ensuring I’m completely at peace with my body in every way. So, lets start reflecting! Here are my best bits from 2019!

    A PHOTOSHOOT PUBLISHED IN 28 COUNTRIES

    The year started with a photoshoot in Amsterdam. I was incredibly excited about this particular shoot because, not only did it mean travelling to another city and squeezing in a quick getaway with Mum, but it meant working with a photographer that wasn’t London based, which, in a way gave the shoot a fresh new perspective.

    In 2018, Haarlem based photographer Elisabeth Van Aalderen commissioned a project called ‘Shades of Pale’, which aimed to celebrate the uniqueness of vitiligo and fully appreciate the beauty of those affected by the condition. What made this project even more personal for Elisabeth is that she also has the condition and was keen to weave vitiligo into her passion for photography.

    It was Living Dappled, a blog for women and girls with vitiligo, that made me aware of the project and given I was planning to visit Amsterdam and it was it a short trip from the UK, I decided to reach out to Elizabeth.

    I loved every second of the shoot, which took place in a loft apartment style studio in Harleem.  Elisabeth was incredibly creative with her ideas and I loved that her vision was to create very soft, natural shots with nude tones that would project a very feminine outcome.

    For me, these photos represented openness, femininity, elegance and the freedom to show my skin, allowing it to be captured in the most beautiful way. By far, the best set of photos in my collection since starting this journey…

    WORLD VITILIGO DAY

    One of my biggest highlights of the year was attending my first ever World Vitiligo Day conference. I’d been wanting to attend ever since the first conference in Washington in 2016 but because it was in the US, it wasn’t so easy to hop on a plane and take time out from work for 5 days! But this year, I decided I was going to make the trip regardless of where it was, and this year it was a very hot Houston in Texas!

    Spread across three days, the conference was attended by key names associated with Vitiligo including Doctors, Dermatologists, Health Practitioners and most importantly, those with the condition. It was the first time I’d been to an event where the majority of the attendees had what I had. Looked like me! From the moment I arrived at the Marriott Hotel where it was held, I was overwhelmed, excited, emotional and thankful I was able to be there. Although it was an intense 3 days with a very full agenda of talks, seminars and networking, it was an incredible experience that taught me so much about who we are as a community and as an individual with the condition.

    When I returned to the UK after the conference had finished, I honestly felt as though I’d been shown a completely new perspective, had learnt so much from others and it made me realise just how resilient we are. Definitely a life changing and unforgettable experience for 2019….

    I BECAME A DOVE GIRL!

    I end the year proudly being part of one of my biggest projects yet – an appearance in the latest Dove campaign that celebrates underarm beauty. I’ve seen so many great natural women representing vitiligo in global campaigns that it felt like a true blessing when my turn finally came and I auditioned and was subsequently offered a part a few weeks later. I was over the moon that I was representing women with vitiligo.

    Whilst taking part did feel like I was exposing myself on a more global platform because of the size of Dove, it did feel like the most natural fit in terms of working with them, because it’s a brand I’ve been using for many years. The shoot day itself felt as though it lasted an hour because it was such a great experience being on set, having my makeup done, being styled and of course promoting vitiligo through photos and an interview. I’ve loved seeing the campaign pop up in magazines such as Hello and ES Magazine. I smile every time I see the image of myself looking back at me as I proudly show off my patchy underarms….

    This year has taught me that anything is possible and that sometimes we have to be patient and wait for opportunities. Its been amazing see so many wonderful women with vitiligo appearing in global campaigns where their skin is celebrated – Gillette, CoverGirl and Primark are a few that come to mind. I’ve also learnt that caring less about what people think of you is one of the most freeing feelings ever! Towards the end of this year I started wearing skirts, less layers of fake tan and feeling completely at ease with people glancing over at my legs. Any thoughts of anxiousness have completely disappeared from my mind and it’s liberating. This year has come with new learning’s about myself and opportunities I feel blessed have come my way. I hope 2020 offers the same….

    Lastly, I’d like to wish you the most amazing 2020. Thank you for your continued support, love on my social media and your messages, which are a constant reminder why I do what I do. I hope the New Year brings you many amazing things….

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    Dove celebrates underarm beauty

    In a recent survey commissioned by Dove, it was revealed that 6 in 10 women felt that they had been judged on the appearance of their underarms and 88% of women felt pressure to have the “ideal” underarm – smooth, flawless and blemish free.

    It was for this reason Dove felt strongly about creating a campaign that would not only celebrate underarm beauty, but would remove the stigma and get people talking about societal views on the ‘ideal underarm’.

    Earlier this year, I auditioned for a part in that very campaign that was taking fruition and the most exciting thing happened….I got the part! The purpose of my part, as a woman with vitiligo, was to show just how diverse women’s underarms can be.

    For this campaign, 13 strong women with their own underarm stories came together to prove that you can be confident irrespective of whether you grow your underarm hair, have scars or blemishes, have lasered for years or spray your hair purple (thats what one girl does!) or have vitiligo like myself.

    Filmed in East London, the day itself felt like it flashed by in two hours. I arrived at the studio feeling a mix of emotions – excited, a little nervous and overwhelmed by the fact I had been chosen to represent such a big brand in the personal care world. There were moments when I wanted to pinch myself – like when I was sitting in the makeup chair having my hair and makeup done ready to go on set to film the first few scenes followed by a solo interview where I would talk about my experiences with vitiligo.

    The set was naturally busy with film crew, makeup artists, photographers, camera crew all working tirelessly to get all the footage they needed to create the final piece…and of course 13 incredible women, including myself from different backgrounds ready to empower others to feel confident and comfortable about their underarms.

    Up until when I got the part, i’d never really given my underarms much thought. They were just there! I showed them in the summer and covered them in the winter. They didnt really serve much purpose and I certainly didnt have views on whether I thought they were beautiful or not. However, when this campaign came about and I began to understand the strong feelings people had towards women having ‘hair free’ underarms, I was taken aback. So many people, including men have strong viewpoints on what they should look like! Now, I’ll just put it out there, I shave and have done for years because its my preference. I simply like a smooth underarm. However, I do believe that women should have a choice as to what they do with theres and shouldn’t be judged if they decide they’d rather hold onto their hair and keep it close to their body.

    As most people know, vitiligo is incredibly unpredictable and can spread anywhere, including the underarms and my message in the campaign, was that underarms are beautiful irrespective of what they look like.

    Dove have long been champions of promoting real beauty. In 2004 they launched the ‘real beauty’ initiative, which was advertised worldwide and included workshops, events, videos and extensive promotion in order to show just how beautiful natural women are. It’s a campaign that is still memorable 15 years later and is a reminder of the importance of diversity and widespread beauty. This campaign, which has been launched alongside the hashtag #ArmsUp is an extension of the already existing campaigns that Dove have created using every day, natural women.

    So much goes into creating a campaign of this nature. From the photography, to the interviews to capturing the rights moments on camera, that its hard to comprehend just how hard it is to give everyone screen time and crate a final piece that portrays a strong message. I can honestly say, Dove have done absolute justice with the final piece and I love how they have put the final edit together. The advert itself is upbeat, powerful, fun and really shows a defiant attitude in terms of women making their own choices.

    For me, this was another opportunity to push vitiligo into the mainstream, show others that we are worthy of brand representation and of course, normalising vitiligo for all those people that aren’t used to seeing people like us in the media. This was a huge deal for me. It wasn’t just about turning up and playing the part, it was about me opening up once again, sharing my story and proving to myself that this is just another example of me showing the world that I love the skin I’m in….

     

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    World Vitiligo Day 2019 – The Best Bits

    Just over 6 weeks ago, I flew to Houston, Texas for the 2019 World Vitiligo Day Conference. It was my first time attending the annual event, which takes place in a different US state every year. Held at the Marriott Hotel in Sugarland, a beautiful city southwest of Houston, the conference was attended by just over 300 people including leading doctors, dermatologists, advocates, ambassadors, families and most importantly, those living day to day with the condition. Now in its forth year the conference was hosted by the Houston Vitiligo Awareness Group, a support group set up in 2016 by Diane Wilkes Tribitt. In previous years it has taken place in Washington, Detroit and Boston.

    Below are some of my favourite highlights from the 3 day event that brought the Vitiligo community together….

    Being among 300 people with Vitiligo

    As I packed my suitcase four days before flying out for the conference, thoughts of what it might be like crossed my mind. How many people had registered to attend? Would it be people mostly looking for answers in relation to a cure? Would the main focus be on the talks and presentations by the leading doctors as opposed to those living with the condition? I honestly didn’t know. Looking back and reflecting on the entire three days once I’d got back to London, I realised that its impossible to comprehend what it feels like to be around 300 people that have the same condition as you.

    I arrived at the Marriott Hotel in Sugarland on Friday 22ndJune – the day of registration. As soon as I walked into the hotel, I noticed two children playing by the seating area with Vitiligo and also a man and woman speaking on the sofas. As I queued to ask where the registration desk was, in front of me was another man with Vitiligo. In that quick moment, even though I hadn’t spoken to any of them, I suddenly felt an ‘invisible bond’ as I realised just how amazing it was to see other people with Vitiligo, other people that looked like me.

    Being amongst so many with Vitiligo over the entire weekend was incredibly overwhelming. I loved that everyone was so positive and open about their experiences. Everyone was willing to offer advice, share their stories and support each other, which created a real sense of community and togetherness. I felt as though I was amongst people that not only understood me but could also relate to me. I made so many connections and felt inspired by everyone I had a conversation with. The one thing everyone seemed to have in common was passion. A passion to talk, share and help those around them. It was one of the ‘safest’ spaces I’d been in for a long time that allowed you to talk freely about your feelings, concerns and on some occasions, conversations you might not have had with friends or family in the past.

    Presentations by leading Doctors in the Dermatology field 

    Hearing from the leading Doctors and Dermatologists that specialise in the treatment of vitiligo is significant to why the World Vitiligo Day Conference is so important. Dr John E Harris, Director of vitiligo clinical care and research shared the results of the Incyte clinical trial, a two-year long study in which patients tested a topical cream called Ruxolintinib (which is part of JAK inhibitors group of medicines) and which could potentially reverse vitiligo, whilst Dr Pandya gave a presentation on new therapies and treatment during the early stages of vitiligo and why you shouldn’t mix current treatments with Ayurveda medicine. He also spoke about the use of Jak Inhibitors, which can reduce immune responses and lead to improvements in autoimmune conditions such as vitiligo. An interesting part of his presentation was when he spoke about reducing the triggers of Vitiligo i.e. avoiding trauma to the skin, reducing an immune attack on the skin and how to increase melanocytes and melanin production (phototherapy, skin grafts and cellular grafts). Well respected Dr Pearl Grimes, a Dermatologist and Director of The Vitiligo & Pigmentation Institute of Southern California, spoke about coping after diagnosis and how to manage Vitiligo emotionally. Dr Grimes also highlighted the five stages of grief, which included denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance, which is believed are the stages those with Vitiligo will often pass through. For me, in that moment of listening, it felt like a ‘light bulb’ moment as I recognised and reflected on how those stages had passed through my life and finally lead me towards my current state of acceptance.

    Group Photo on the steps of City of Sugarland City Hall

    At around 8am on day 2 of the conference all attendees made their way to Sugarland City Hall for the group photo. Wearing our ‘The Vitiligo Journey – Healing Starts With Me’ customised t-shirts, all 300 attendees gathered on the city hall steps ready to be photographed by award winning photographer, Rick Guidotti. Of course, with so many of us it was likely to take some time to get us all looking at the lens, but we did pretty well, so much so, it turned out to be the iconic image of the entire weekend that quickly made its way around social media. It was a poignant moment that showed unity, togetherness and a community that wholly supports each other. An incredible moment for everyone, with or without Vitiligo. 

    The 70’s themed party where the Doctors proved themselves on the dance floor!

    There’s probably nothing more fun than a themed party and with the 70’s being the inspiration, it was a great opportunity to resurrect our flares, psychedelic colours and afro wigs and let loose to the sounds disco, R&B and funk music. Probably one of the most entertaining moments of the evening (and the entire weekend!) was having Dr John Harris, Dr Amit Pandya and Dr Pearl Grimes join us on the dance floor and show us their smooth moves to 70’s classic ‘Goodtimes’ by Chic. I’ve definitely never experienced ‘dancing doctors’ before but it was a poignant moment which signified, that amongst the research and extensive work they carry out in relation to Vitiligo, they are truly one of us. I hope we see more of that next year!

     The Community Panel

    The community panel session, which I was also part of, alongside some notable Ambassadors was a great opportunity for ‘real talk’ as we discussed a range of topics that are frequently raised as points of discussion amongst the vitiligo community. Moderated by TV Broadcaster, Lee Thomas and Erika Page from Living Dappled, the hour-long session was a great opportunity for open conversation and interaction with the audience. One of the most controversial topics often discussed is whether vitiligo is considered a disease of skin condition. Many feel offended by the term disease because it suggests that vitiligo is contagious and it just sounds like a rather ‘harsh’ way to refer to vitiligo, but after much discussion around individual preference we had to accept that how vitiligo is defined is down to one very important factor; funding. In the US, in order to receive funding for research and ultimately a cure, vitiligo needs to be referred to as a disease. By not calling vitiligo a disease would mean there would be no financial backing by the government or healthcare system. Also discussed were the effects of bullying and our thoughts on camouflage makeup, whilst Erika shared how she finally plucked up the courage to clear her shelf full of fake tan bottles and live a life without daily application of self tan. The session, which lasted just over an hour was incredibly interactive and engaging and revealed some really interesting points around the many themes surrounding Vitiligo.

    Next year, The Global Vitiligo Foundation in Minnesota will be hosting the 2020 conference. Check out https://www.wvd2020.com for more details.

     

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    Shades of Pale: Vitiligo Project 2019

    Earlier this month I coincided a trip to Amsterdam with a photoshoot with Harleem based and award winning photographer, Elisabeth Van Aalderen who is currently working on a project that aims to closely capture the beauty of Vitiligo.

    It was Living Dappled – a lifestyle blog aimed at women and girls with Vitiligo, that first brought Elisabeth’s work to my attention and given I was planning a weekend break in the City known for its beautiful canals, bike riders and some other stuff I don’t need to mention (!), I was keen to get in contact to see if I could take part. Within a few days, i’d arranged a time to meet Elisabeth to take part in my first shoot outside of the UK.

    As Elisabeth’s first model to be photographed with Vitiligo, I was somewhat nervous but also excited about being photographed outside the ‘comfort of London’. I’d seen some of Elisabeth’s previous work on her website (www.elisabethva.com) and instantly felt drawn to her style of photography which focused on strong, feminine, natural images under the fashion photography umbrella.

    When I arrived at the studio in Javastraat, East of Amsterdam on a pretty wet and miserable day, I Instantly loved the feel of the studio. The natural light, high ceilings and the open space gave me a really nice feeling! For the first 30 minutes over a few cups of coffee, we chatted about the shoot, our own journey’s with Vitiligo and also the mood board’s she’d created, which helped me visualise exactly what type of look Elisabeth was trying to achieve through her photography. I was of course curious as to why she had chosen to focus on Vitiligo, but when noticed we both shared something in common, I understood why ‘I wanted to focus on something that was more personal to me, especially given I too, have the condition’.

    In terms of style, the look was going to be very simple. A mixture of feminine underwear pieces by Swedish brand Monki, cream ribbed bodysuits and oversized ‘boyfriend’ shirts that would create a relaxed look once dressed. Makeup artist, Xiu Yun Yu arrived a short while later ready to transform to give me a fresh glow before being photographed. Xiu Yun Yu used very natural tones with subtle eyeshadow colours, a dusting of pink blusher on my cheeks and a nice layer of my current makeup must-have; a glowy highlighter that had my cheekbones popping!

    Face nicely prepped, I changed into a flattering two piece matching set – the organic cotton triangle bra and matching high waisted ribbed briefs that completed my feminine look and had me ready to start creating images at the hands of Elisabeth’s incredible photography skills.

    I loved every second of the shoot as we created a mixture of close-ups, portraits and full body shots that really honed in on the contrast of my skin. After I had left the studio (the weather still pretty miserable!), I felt empowered by my own ability to show my skin and loved that i’d once again, had pushed a boundary….

     

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    4 Ways To Help Your Child Understand Vitiligo

    At what age do you explain to your child that they have Vitiligo? Or do you wait for them to come home from school one day after one of the kids has perhaps asked questions about their skin?

    I don’t ever really remember my parents telling me what Vitiligo was. I vividly remember the endless train journeys to Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital in London and the play area in the waiting room that kept all the kids quiet until their names were called over the tannoy, but I don’t actually remember when I realised what I was going for or ever asking why I was going! Mum says I questioned my skin when I was around 6 years old. I’d come home from school and apparently one of the kids in my class had asked me what it was, to which I replied ‘I don’t know’…. because I genuinely had no idea. It was then she told me I had a skin condition called Vitiligo and that there was nothing wrong with me. That was the end of it. It was never a hot topic or spoken about again unless someone had brought it to my Mum’s attention….

    As a parent, trying to get your head around Vitiligo or any condition for that matter, can be tough, especially when they are newly diagnosed. So with that in mind, how must it feel for a child to understand the reasons for their slightly unusual skin tone that makes them different from the other kids in the class? Here are the ways, from my own personal experience growing up, how you can help you child understand Vitiligo…

    Explain to them what it is in simple terms

    I know this must sound like I’m stating the obvious, but it can often be difficult trying to explain a condition to a child in simple terms if its not so simple. The key is, try not to over complicate things to quickly! Young children don’t need to understand the technicalities behind Vitiligo, so talking about it being an autoimmune disease and that the loss of pigment is due to the lack of melanin in the skin, isn’t necessary. A child friendly explanation could simply be ‘You have a condition called Vitiligo which means white patches appear on the skin’. All the other stuff can come later in life when they are old enough to understand. When my nephew, who is 8 has asked me what was wrong with my skin, I responded by saying ‘Auntie Nat has a skin condition. It just a little different to yours’, which he accepted and has never felt to ask me again since.

    Show them stories with characters that have indifferences, including Vitiligo

    Back when I was growing up, there were barely any black or mixed race characters in the children’s books I read, so there certainly wasn’t a Naomi or Natasha with Vitiligo! Looking back, I honestly believe this would have helped ‘normalise’ my skin and help me to see it in a positive light.

    Now with books such as Skin Deep: A Childs Story and Snow White and The Seven Patches in which the lead character has Vitiligo, we are able to teach our children through story telling and show them that there are characters in every day life that represent them.

    Remain positive

    I know as a parent you will want to remain positive, but I also understand it can be difficult as you wonder how they are getting on in school or even panicking because you’re not sure how much your child’s Vitiligo will spread. Out of all those people your child comes into contact with, you’re likely the one that will comfort them through difficult times and reassure them if they do face any challenges. My parents always dressed me in shorts and t-shirts during the summer because they refused to have me think that I had something to hide. They always remained positive and hopeful during hospital visits, and didn’t let me think that Vitiligo would stop me from doing the things I loved, such as swimming.

    Banish the Bullshit

    Regardless of your skin colour, religious beliefs, gender or size there is always going to be that kid in the class that spouts negativity! Try and prepare your children for the obvious questions that may arise such as ‘What is it called’? ‘Can you catch it’? (I wish I could banish this question!) and ‘Were you born with it’?. Not only will this allow them to understand their condition, but it will also allow you to dispel any myths that are often associated with Vitiligo, such as it being contagious and stress being a key factor of its cause.

    Since being a trustee at The Vitiligo Society, I often here from parents who have discovered patches on their child’s skin and are often unsure how to deal with their child’s changing skin. I cant stress enough how important it is for you to remain positive, even though their might be occasions when you want to shut the door and shed a tear because you’re not sure what it means in the long term. Try not to worry to much. In all the years I’ve had Vitiligo, I know that having a skin condition in the present time is probably the best time to be different because all around us unique conditions are being celebrated and body confidence has never been so powerful across social media in particular. Remain confident and hopeful for them because if they know you love and support them, chances are they’ll know everyone else will too…

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    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 as you move from ranting about men, to later admitting you probably couldn’t really do without them (queue covering my eyes!). From bad dates, to blind dates to the amazing dates that lead to marriage proposals after 6 weeks (it happens!), dating isn’t 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 occasions where i’ve been on a date, having flirtatious conversation, fully engrossed in the person i’m with, 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 single moment, my confidence would crash.

    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 the patches on my arms‘ or ‘do I dress freely in something that I really like, but ultimately reveals 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 dress more freely when it comes to choosing what to wear. 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. Here’s what i’ve learnt….

    Don’t let your skin define you

    Yes, your Vitiligo (or any other skin condition for that matter) is very much part of who you are and who you’ve become, but don’t let it be the sole purpose of your existence. 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 conversation. Talk about all the other stuff that makes you who you are – your love of sport, your passion for laughing or travelling to faraway places because they are the things you love and 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 be with  a guy who knows how to compliment and appreciate you (this works both ways!), when you’re looking and feeling your best, but try to avoid feeling as though he should be your confirmation that you look good. 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 i’m responsible for feeling good about me and any additional praise is a lovely bonus!

    Guys aren’t 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 building on the feelings of a 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 in his 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 reflect and realise just how important it is to be yourself.

    Confidence is way sexier than anything else. 

    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 especially on social media, there are endless advocates and influencers 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 their uniqueness (it’s there loss, right?), 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. Its your skin, wear it with pride.

    Don’t make any assumptions

    Don’t make any assumptions on what you think the other person is thinking. You will never really know unless you are a mind reader, so let conversations take place naturally and enjoy the moment without being paranoid about what might be 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 be curious, some guys are straight away, others might way until the 5th date down the line. Accept that’s what it is.

    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 getting ready for a date, focus on the things that are important. The things that are happening in the current moment – for example what you feel like wearing, whether you nails match your outfit and which scent leaves the best trail behind you, because they are the things that are instantly notable and appreciated.

    Nerves are natural and expected for girls like us….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…

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    6 Vitiligo Related Instagrammers You Should Follow in 2018!

    From Vitiligo Beauty that globally champions those with Vitiligo, to the unique beauty bloggers who demonstrate how to highlight and enhance their Vitiligo rather than conceal it, there are endless Vitiligo groups, bloggers, models and advocates that you should be following on Instagram, if you aren’t already!

    Social media is incredibly powerful when it comes to bringing stories to life and capturing moments in the simplest way. I only found that out in 2015, five years after it was born! Discovering the different groups and profiles on really opened my eyes to just how many people in this world have the condition and how open they are with it. I loved that it opened the ‘gateway’ to communication globally and allowed for honest and truthful discussion with the real people at the heart of the condition.

    I’m never massively been into social media and so the thought of creating another social media platform, with the added pressure of taking photos that were instagram worthy, felt like a stressful chore that I had no interest in investing time in. That changed when I caught a glimpse of a group of girls lazing on the beach in Santa Monica (one of whom had Vitiligo) that I realised just how influential and visually appealing photos can be! A short while after I had created my own profile and was scrolling through endless holiday snaps so that I could start building followers and of course, tracking down and following all the Vitiligo related groups!

    Now, as I call myself a committed Instagrammer, I share with you my top 6 favourite Vitiligo groups and advocates that I recommend you follow;

    Living Dappled

    Formed in 2016 by Erika Page, the Living Dappled movement is the Vitiligo page for girls, women and children. Living Dappled has a growing community of followers that allows for support and encouragement amongst each other, and the follower traction is quick! It is great for initiating conversations, opening discussions and getting you thinking about the many journeys those with Vitiligo face. The photography is clean, simple yet visually striking.

     The Vitiligo Society

    The Vitiligo Society is the UK’s only charity aimed at supporting those with Vitiligo and providing the latest updates on research, treatment and the management of the condition. Formed in 1984, the long running charity has a strong network of medical professionals that support the work in which they do. Their Instagram page, which was formed in February 2016, has attracted over 1200 followers so far and its not even been 12 months yet! Their page consists of inspiring photography with stories that outline the different issues; challenges and pathways people have faced with the condition.

    Vitiligo NL

    Based in the Netherlands, Vitiligo NL is the official account for the association that was formed in 1990. With great photos and captions to support, it’s a key group to keep track of and tag yourself in if you’d like to be featured.

    Laur_elyse

    Lauren Elyse has been called many things….baddass, talented & wow worthy! With more than 307k followers, she is one of the most influential makeup artists associated with Vitiligo. Her unique makeup skills which showcase some striking looks include peridot eyes, sea witch lips and peachtwist cheeks. A makeup artist like no other!

     Vitiligo Beauty

    With a following of 14.5k, the page name gives away exactly what this group is dedicated to….an array of beauties with the condition. This page is simple, you post, you tag and they share. Get your pictures posted!

    radiantbambi

    Better know as Ashley Soto, this is the girl that literally has the world painted on her body! She emerged in 2017 when her story was shared with the likes of The Daily Mail, Cosmopolitan and Allure and since then she has gained recognition for her positive outlook and the love she has for her body! She is a body positive activist and has even recreated her body through famous artists such as Van Gogh.

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