This Beautiful Model’s Experience With Vitiligo Is a Lesson To All Of Us
Those who are familiar with the long-term skin condition called vitiligo know that it can deeply affect a person mentally. Characterized by the loss of pigment in skin, vitiligo can often cause psychological stress for those who experience stigma brought on by the condition.
One model, who is based out of Rio de JanMeiro, Brazil know’s the stress such a condition can cause because he has it.
Roger Monte is a 37-year-old model with vitiligo.
Speaking to mitú, about his experience with vitiligo, Monte says “I really feel super comfortable being who I am. My spots differ from people and make me unique.” It’s a change from his first reactions to the skin condition that affects 0.5 percent and 1 percent of people worldwide.
Soon after noticing the first white patch that had appeared on his skin at the age of 23, Roger has said that his world completely changed. “Seeing my skin losing pigmentation was terrifying for me. I thought my life, which had barely even started yet, was over at that moment. When I found out that vitiligo can develop because of emotional stress, I blamed myself for it every single day,” he explained according to Daily Mail. “I had a really dark few years and I couldn’t even look at myself in the mirror. I didn’t accept my condition at all and started using makeup to camouflage my spots.”
When he soon came to learn that vitiligo can be exacerbated by stress, Roger found himself even more distressed.
“I had a really dark few years and I couldn’t even look at myself in the mirror. I didn’t accept my condition at all and started using makeup to camouflage my spots,” he explained. “I didn’t like what I saw in the mirror and I wore makeup to cover my vitiligo for ten long years. It felt like I was being held, hostage. I didn’t like going to the beach or the gym or anything that made me sweat. I was terrified that someone would notice my spots even though looking back, it must’ve been quite obvious to anyone who looked closely.”
It took Roger a decade to ultimately come to terms with his condition and, eventually, he learned to stop hiding behind makeup.
Eventually, Roger found himself embraced by friends he met at a gym and discovered the full support of those around him.
“In 2016, I met some incredible new friends who started to make me see my spots as something unique and beautiful. One day, I just woke up, took out my cell phone, took a picture and posted it to Instagram,” he explained. “I had never had a photo of me get so many comments and likes. People I hadn’t seen in years were praising my skin and saying that they had never noticed that I had the disease. I even had a boy who had also been hiding his own vitiligo with makeup contact me to say that my posts had inspired him to stop hiding his skin. Another girl even got in touch to say that my story had helped cure her depression.”
The power of Roger’s influence on social media is clear in the 34.5k followers he has amassed in the past few years. When it comes to giving advice to little boys and girls with vitiligo Monte told us at mitú he hopes they learn to “Take on your colors. The world is already full of more of the same and needs colorful and empowered people like us! Love yourself!
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