Mariah Perkins noticed a dot on her finger when she was 11 years old. When she showed it to her mom, she didn’t make much fuss over it. But as the dot spread to cover other areas of her body in patches, Mariah was taken to a dermatologist. The diagnosis turned out to be a case of vitiligo. Vitiligo is a skin condition where the affected person loses pigmentation, resulting in uneven patches on the skin that can affect the face, the limbs and the entire body.
Although vitiligo cannot cause any physical harm, Mariah had to take extra precautions against skin burning when out in the sun. However, this skin condition is quite visible and many people suffering from this condition get affected mentally. They may avoid company, become shy, self-conscious and can even end up being depressed.
The condition is a little unpredictable. It may cover large areas of the face and body and it may continue to accelerate throughout life. It can even come to an abrupt stop. It’s the uncertainty that causes some anxiety in people like Mariah. Medical science has yet to find out the cause of vitiligo.
The teenage years were hard for Mariah who felt self-conscious and different from the rest of the crowd. She used make-up to cover up her discolored patches. Wearing makeup to school every day was not something she looked forward to. It took her 45 minutes to apply her make-up. When she went to sleep over at her friend’s place, she would make sure she went to bed with makeup on and wake up before everyone else just to fix her make-up.
Now we all know how harmful it can be to go to bed with make-up. More than anything it was simply exhausting for Mariah to be worrying about hemakeupup every waking and sleeping hour. This additional stress just made the vitiligo worse.
It was during her teenage years that Mariah felt she wasn’t cute or looked beautiful. But her pictures say otherwise.
When Mariah started going to college, her life changed for the better. She found that her college mates were more accepting of her skin condition. They encouraged her to go without make-up and just be herself. She was thankful that her secondary school years were left behind.
Mariah looked up to the model, Winnie Harlow, herself a sufferer from vitiligo. However, that didn’t come in the way of her dreams. She’s a successful model and a brand ambassador for a clothing brand. Harlow talked openly about vitiligo and how she was harrowed when she was in school. Some called her a cow or a zebra.
Being bullied through her teenage and young adulthood years, Harlow decided to come out stronger. She has been featured in a youtube video – Vitiligo: A Skin Condition Not a Life Changer. She is comfortable with the multiple patches that she has on her face and body and philosophizes that God meant her to have both black and white skin.
Following Harlow’s footsteps, Mariah decided to come out from behind her heavily made-up face. In front of the camera, she wiped away all her make-up for the first time and revealed to the whole world what she really looked like.
Harlow and Mariah have shown the world that beauty is indeed only skin deep and there’s more to a person than just their skin.
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