Creating art and confidence. An Orlando, Florida, student started turning her vitiligo patches into artwork after she was bullied for her appearance.
Ashley Soto, 21, told DailyMail.com that she was diagnosed with the condition that causes loss of skin color at age 12, and it quickly spread. After a girl at the beach asked her if she had “showered in bleach” when she saw her in a bikini, she began to hide her skin with long-sleeve tops and pants.
“I was so shocked that someone said that to me that I cried and cried. I didn’t want to have the condition anymore,” she told the website in an article published Monday, March 13. “It made me want to start hiding away from people and left me covering my skin, as I didn’t want people to make fun of me.”
By her late teens, Soto started trying to embrace her uniqueness. “I never realized how beautiful my vitiligo was until I traced it with a black marker,” she said. “It really helps to bring out the different colors of my skin.”
She realized that when she outlined the patches, it looked like a map. “From there, I decided to start painting actual pieces — I did a flower one and after that I had a world map,” she told DailyMail.com. “Next, I tried The Starry Night by Van Gogh. I tried to incorporate my skin into it as much of the painting as possible. It’s such an iconic piece that I needed help from my cousin to do it.”
Through her art, Soto finally began to see that her skin is truly beautiful. “I was always trying to find a way to look at my skin in a positive light. I couldn’t do that before starting this,” she said. “I will continue creating different pieces of art with my skin and hope it inspires others in the process.”
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