When Rita first discovered she had vitiligo, family and friends rushed to offer treatments and advice. Despite the best of intentions, their efforts left her feeling even more self-conscious. Today, she’s set aside self-doubt and found her voice. Her love of all things beauty led her to create her own YouTube channel where she allows her vitiligo to be a natural part of her everyday makeup routine, seamlessly weaving it into her products reviews, vlogs and demonstrations of her everyday routine. For Rita and her viewers, vitiligo is just a part of her everyday life.
We sat down with her to talk about her beauty must-haves, fake-it-til-you-make-it philosophy and life with vitiligo.
Name: Rita Adams
Hometown: Tampico, Mexico, living in Houston, TX
Number of years with vitiligo: 15
LD: Hi Rita, tell us a little bit about yourself.
RA: I’m married to the love of my life, Michael. Together we have three furbabies, two cats and one dog Romulus, Remus, and Pinto. I work as an account manager for an online business. As my hobby I have a beauty YouTube channel and Instagram.
LD: Social media has allowed so many people to open themselves up to the world. What inspired you to start your own YouTube channel and beauty-focused Instagram account?
RA: Nothing really to do with vitiligo. To this day, I still don’t see myself as “Rita the girl with vitiligo.” I see myself as Rita. Makeup has always been an interest and hobby of mine and watching all these girls on YouTube I thought: “I should be doing this. I love makeup. What’s stopping me from being one of them?”
LD: We love that perspective. What types of topics do you cover and how would you describe your channel?
RA: I post makeup reviews and fashion and makeup hauls. I also try on new makeup and I just started doing weekend vlogs with my husband. I am so passionate about makeup and love talking about it. I hope people enjoy it and find it useful.
LD: Does having vitiligo affect your approach to style or the way you do makeup?
RA: Makeup has always been something I loved even before vitiligo. I’ve never really thought about using makeup to cover my vitiligo, but it came hand in hand with my love of cosmetics. Ever since I started my channel, I’ve never wanted to hide the fact that I have vitiligo, so if needed, I mention it casually. I usually mention it when doing foundation or concealer reviews or when doing a “get ready with me” video and I demonstrate what I’m using to cover my vitiligo.
It has always been a part of my videos and will continue to be. I don’t make content to cater to people with vitiligo, just to makeup lovers like myself. But if someone with vitiligo happens to find my channel and is inspired or finds a foundation they love because of my recommendation, even better. Lately my facial vitiligo has developed more and fully covering it has been harder. I do enjoy doing my makeup for me – not to cover myself – but I still do sometimes wish my face could be one color.
LD: When did you first get vitiligo?
RA: My vitiligo first appeared on my left arm as a round halo on a mole. It was very hard at first with family always trying to get me to see doctors or pursue treatments. I consider myself a strong person so I’ve always tried to “hide” how much vitiligo truly affected me. I felt ugly and different in a bad way. Today I don’t give it much thought. I’ve accepted it as part of me but not as something that defines me. But I still have some hard days and the uncertainty of vitiligo still affects me some days, especially when discovering a new spot.
The biggest thing that helped me accept it was knowing there is no cure. Why keep wishing and being upset about something I cannot change? I think I’ll always try to hide how it affects me. I have always thought, “fake it till you make it, fake the confidence, and it will come naturally.” It really has.
LD: What advice would you give to other women with family members who mean well, but recommend doctors and treatments they’re not ready to pursue and to readers who have vitiligo themselves?
RA: My biggest advice for someone with vitiligo will probably be to voice their needs. After all these years, there are still a few comments about “medicine” or treatments” and I simply reply, “I’m good like this and have no interest in being ‘cured.’” And for family members that mean well, try to be there and assure us that you’ll be there whenever we are ready to talk or seek help.
LD: That’s the perfect advice. I think our readers can also relate to the uncertainty that comes with new spots appearing and changing shape. You’re so confident on your channel, how do you cope with those changes?
RA: There are bad days, especially when I find a new spot, when vitiligo brings me down. Then I think to myself “Why? Why let my skin upset me?” So I decide to work with my mind and just ignore it and the confidence comes once I decide vitiligo won’t define me. I realize my skin is much more than a couple of shades of color and I’m coming to terms with the fact that this is the skin I will be for the rest of my days.
LD: Your most popular video is your review of the Charlotte Tilbury Love Filter Lipstick Collection. What’s your go to beauty product that boosts your confidence, the one product you can’t live without?
RA: Charlotte Tilbury is my favorite brand. So most of her products are among my favorites. I can be bare faced, but with some mascara, brow gel and lipstick I feel confident enough to take on the world. There is also something about a red lip that just gives me the most confidence.
LD: Yes, a red lip really screams confidence. You can’t hide in a red lip, so there’s something about it that really gives you a boost. Where do you see your channel going in the future?
RA: I would love for my channel to grow and get more attention, as I do put so much effort into it but growth comes differently for everyone. I will always love makeup and talking about it, so having a platform that allows me to do so is a big part of my happiness.
Makalah Moore is a writer based in Massachusetts who has lived with vitiligo for sixteen years. In her free time she enjoys reading, photography and spending time with friends and family. Find her on instagram @the.moore.you.know.