Photo by Shawna Simmons

Mini Models with Vitiligo Prove Confidence Comes in Many Sizes

Arianna Grace Dorfler and Lilla Helgason might be among some of the smallest models with vitiligo, but their confidence is beyond their years.

This October, Living Dappled teamed up with Washington, D.C. photographer Shawna Simmons to capture Arianna and Lilla’s contagious confidence with a weekend shoot in historic Fredericksburg, Virginia. At 7 and 8 years old respectively, Arianna and Lilla were new to modeling – but that didn’t stop the two girls from giggling the entire day and performing for the camera.

The shoot was also a first for Shawna Simmons, who has lived with vitiligo for most of her life, but never truly embraced it. Shawna previously spent seven years working in New York as a photo editor, photographer and stylist for clients like Anthropologie, Condé Nast, MTV and Sally Hansen. Most recently, she launched her own photography business in 2017 and now works primarily in the equestrian industry.

“I’ve never been proud of my vitiligo,” said Shawna, whose spots are mostly on her feet. “But when I found Living Dappled, I thought it was really beautiful and positive and something I could contribute to.”

The results were inspiring. Here’s a first look:

Photo by Shawna Simmons

Photo by Shawna Simmons

Photo by Shawna Simmons

Photo by Shawna Simmons

Photo by Shawna Simmons

Photo by Shawna Simmons

Photo by Shawna Simmons

Photo by Shawna Simmons

Photo by Shawna Simmons

Photo by Shawna Simmons

Photos by Shawna Simmons. Learn more at http://shawnasimmons.virb.com/.

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Erika Page

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.

7 Comments

  1. Susan Maier

    This is Arianna’s grandmother. Photos! So cool! And a cool title to go with it. Thanks for giving her the opportunity, Erika.

  2. Thank you for Living Dappled! I’ve been searching for a support group or a place to talk to people who also suffer from Vitiligo.
    I discovered my first white spot 21 years ago at the age of 39.
    I was told by my dermatologist that the spot on my arm was Vitiligo and there was no cure. He told me to avoid the sun. I was getting ready for a trip to Florida and should have taken his warning more seriously because I did get suburn on my trip despite using sun screen and every part of my body that got sunburned turned to a large white patch. Over the years, Vitiligo continued to spread on my body until I became more aware that food had a big impact on my Vitiligo spreading.
    It wasn’t until about 5 years ago until I realized gluten is a big cause of the spreading of Vitiligo.
    I am now gluten free and also avoid processed foods, spicy foods and try to eat as much fruit and veggies as I can.
    This has greatly slowed down and also stopped the spreading of Vitiligo. I’m currently trying to reduce the spots on my neck,arms and legs. I also juice and drink carrot and celery juice which helps to bring back the pigment. Even though the Vitiligo is filling in, it’s a very slow process. Everyday I see more pigment spots but they are spots that take time to fill in.
    I don’t mind my Vitiligo in the winter but in the summer when I wear long sleeves in 90 degrees I still find myself getting depressed. I have been more open about Vitiligo in the past few years and wanted to share my story and my discoveries with others.
    Thank you💕

    • Erika Page

      Ronnie, welcome to Living Dappled! Thank you so much for sharing your story. Every voice and story shared is another inspiration for someone else in the community also looking for support and community. Now you are part of that!

      • Ronnie Boyer

        Thank you very much! I’m very grateful to Living Dappled for sharing people’s stories who have Vitiligo! I was also inspired by the young models.
        They are beautiful girls and their confidence is inspiring!

  3. This was such an inspiring story! I have such a special place in my heart for little girls with Vitiligo because I remember my own days. I hope these beauties are able to attend the 2019 World Vitiligo Day Conference! They can let that confidence of theirs rub off on others.

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