Browsing Instagram one day, Bianca Schönhofer got a notification – she had a new comment from Ground Glass Media about a modeling gig. Just a few days after submitting her application, Bianca was invited to do a Skype interview. Five days later, she was on a flight to Mexico for filming – as Gillette Venus’ first model with vitiligo.
“I’m so happy to be the first model with vitiligo for Venus,” said Bianca, a 25-year-old biology student from Vienna, Austria. “Venus is a big deal.”
Launched in October, the commercial is part of Gillette Venus’ My Skin My Way campaign committed to celebrating women of every skin type. And that’s a message that Bianca can get behind. After getting vitiligo at the age of five, Bianca struggled with her spots.
“Middle school was a difficult time for me,” said Bianca, reflecting on her early years with vitiligo. “I was an outsider. Everybody called me a cow.”
Today, things couldn’t be more different. Bianca now sees her spots as part of her life and modeling has become a way for her to show others with vitiligo that they aren’t alone.
“It’s important that ads show all the ideals of beauty,” said Bianca, who raises awareness for vitiligo through her Instagram account. “Ads should include all women, whether small, tall, curvy, slim, with disabilities… and of course with vitiligo.”
Featured in the opening scene of the commercial, Bianca is shown painting a seawall with another model and later shaving on a sunny beachside. The two-day shoot was intense, shared Bianca, who said that she shaved under her arms for what felt like ‘1,000 times.’ Yet despite having some nerves about the process, Bianca found the experience to be empowering and welcoming.
“I’m really thankful for this experience,” said Bianca. “I got to know so many women who were strong and beautiful in their own way.”
Photo by Gillette Venus.
Erika Page is a blogger, speaker and self-love advocate with universal vitiligo. After living with vitiligo for two decades, Erika founded Living Dappled to create a community of inspiration and hope for girls and women living with vitiligo.