“I developed vitiligo at the age of 11. After consulting a lot of doctors, one derm suggested I apply ‘theatre make-up’ to cover up the spots. And while it did conceal the condition, it made things harder at school, as the other children began mocking me for wearing make-up. I remember one particular incident, when I was travelling in the school van, and the kids started throwing water at me and asked why the make-up wasn’t coming off. I remember crying for days about it. No-one understood that I just wanted an even skin tone...like everyone else. As the bullying became more brutal, I started to distance myself from the crowd. During that time, maintaining a journal really helped me—I have been able to track my journey and let go of a world of pain. After eight long years of wearing make-up every single day, I finally stepped out without make-up one day. I took a leap of faith and I have never looked back since. I started creating YouTube videos about what it’s like to have vitiligo, and my confidence grew because of the support I received from my audience. They made me feel like I was doing something worthwhile, and that makes me feel beautiful, confident, and unique. Self-love takes a lot of time, but the key is to never stop. In 2018, I decided to participate in a model hunt—I was told that I’m ‘unconventional looking’ and it would be tough to get work. But here I am! The industry has definitely seen a shift. I am grateful to my agency for picking beautifully diverse models and creating opportunities for them that didn’t exist a few years ago. My learning from my own experience is that if you wear your confidence like SPF, no-one can diminish your light.”
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