How Becoming a Mom Helped “Vitiligo Queen” Tanesha Brown Find Confidence
If you’ve ever seen an interview with self-named “Vitiligo Queen” Tanesha Brown, you can’t help but be inspired by the contagious confidence that surrounds her.
Truly comfortable in her own skin, the 32-year-old girl and mother with vitiligo uses her vitiligo as a mission to help others overcome low self-esteem and bullying by sharing her own story. She’s been featured by media such as NBC News, Daily Mail and Barcroft TV – and today we get to share her story.
LD: When did you first get vitiligo and did you pursue treatment?
TB: I’ve had vitiligo since I was five years old. My mom didn’t know what it was, she just happened to ask one of our neighbors who was a nurse. All we knew was that Michael Jackson had it. When I was twelve, we tried UV treatments, but the doctor said there was a possibility of getting blisters. I decided that getting blisters wasn’t worth the treatment.
LD: You had two twin boys thirteen years ago. How did become a mother change things for you?
TB: Well everything really changed for me. At that point, I had lost most of my pigment. Because I had been through almost every phase of living with vitiligo, I realized that I knew what it was all like. There wasn’t any next step – I had done it all. So that helped me get more confident. And having kids, I realized that they were going to ask questions and they’re friends were going to ask questions. I asked myself, “how am I going to respond?” I can’t be telling my kids to be confident and then have them see me as someone who isn’t confident. So it was time for me just accept this mission – I have vitiligo and that’s my mission in life.
LD: On social media, you call yourself the “vitiligo queen.” Where did that name come from?
TB: [Laughing.] I don’t know, it just kind of happened. I think I just said it one day and changed my social media names to “vitiligo queen” and it went on from there. I see as a way for me to stand up for those who are also enduring bullying or battling self-esteem. I can’t take it all, I’m still human. But for the most part, I’m okay with being the person that others can look at and say, “I’ve been there.” And the “queen” part reflects the way I carry myself. I like to have fun and live life and treat people with the same amount of respect that I would want to receive.
LD: What would you tell girls with vitiligo about finding confidence?
TB: Building confidence isn’t something you just do one time. You grow your confidence like you grow a tree – it’s a seed you plant and continue to water and feed and help it grow – that’s how confidence works.
Erika Page is a writer and blogger with universal vitiligo. Her first spots appeared on her spine when she was seven years old and today vitiligo covers her entire body. Based just south of Washington, D.C., Erika founded Living Dappled to create a community of inspiration and hope for girls and women living with vitiligo.