Just two years ago, there had never been a CoverGirl with vitiligo. You didn’t see models with vitiligo in Gap or Venus commercials. And you had never seen a woman with vitiligo walk in a Victoria Secret’s fashion show. Today is a different story. That’s because year after year, vitiligo is making headlines as our culture continues to shatter beauty norms and embrace a diverse array of looks, features and identities. This past year was no different. Here are some of the top moments for vitiligo in 2019.
Winnie Harlow made the spotlight – again
Winnie Harlow, a Canadian supermodel and role model for the vitiligo community, has spent her career breaking barriers for those who look ‘different’ – and 2019 was no exception. In June, Winnie became the first person with vitiligo to be featured on the cover of Vogue, appearing alongside model Shahad Salman, who also has vitiligo, on the cover of Vogue Arabia. She also partnered with celebrity Kim Kardashian-West to launch the KKW x WINNIE beauty collection.
Dove and Getty Images partnered to shatter beauty stereotypes
Dove and Getty Images know that 70 percent of women around the world do not feel represented in the images that surround them. That’s why they partnered to build the world’s largest photo library created by women and non-binary individuals. Featuring 5,000 images of 179 women in 39 countries, the images feature women as they are – ‘imperfections’ and all. And yes, the project includes women with vitiligo. Today the photos are available for viewing and licensing.
Elli the cat with vitiligo made headlines for her patches
This black cat isn’t black anymore. Elli the vitiligo cat has more Instagram followers than most people – 81,200 to be exact. This past year, she made headlines for her story with vitiligo – and continues to get love on her Instagram channel.
This husband explained his wife’s vitiligo on YouTube – and nearly a million people listened
There’s nothing wrong with Manisha, Gaurav Malik’s wife who has vitiligo. Gaurav took to YouTube to share this message – and an interview with his wife – with the world. His hope was to raise awareness for the condition and help others feel better about living with vitiligo. Since the video was published on YouTube in July, the video has been viewed nearly a million times.
Models and actors with vitiligo made the media
Models and actors with vitiligo are appearing in media, advertising and movies even more frequently in 2019. ‘Scandal!’ star Brighton Ngoma opened up about living with vitiligo and vitiligo model Aiesha Robinson talked about her journey from contemplating suicide to gracing advertising billboards.
More than 300 vitiligo advocates gathered in Houston, Texas for World Vitiligo Day
World Vitiligo Day is celebrated every year on June 25th and the U.S. celebrated with a conference in Houston, Texas. During the weekend, 300 patients, advocates, dermatologists and families gathered on the steps of Sugar Land’s City Hall to make some noise.
A grandfather made headlines with his crochet dolls for children with vitiligo
João Stanganelli Junior, a Brazilian man who has lived with vitiligo for nearly half his life, made a crochet doll with vitiligo for his granddaughter – and sparked joy around the world. The popularity of the doll exploded and today he gets requests for dolls with all types of abilities that can help children with self-esteem.
A photographer with vitiligo launched a series to celebrate the condition
Amsterdam photographer Elisabeth Van Aalderen launched a body positivity photo series to celebrate vitiligo as a ‘beautiful painted canvas’ after living with the condition herself. The beautiful portraits earned her praise from magazines around the world, including Glamour. Find her portraits on Instagram.
The world’s most iconic doll showed up with vitiligo
This past February, Barbie posted a picture of a doll with vitiligo on Instagram with the caption “Own what makes you unique, individuality is the best way to shine!” The post grabbed my attention – along with 150,000 others who liked the image. Today, the ‘vitiligo Barbie’ is available for sale on Amazon.
What’s your favorite vitiligo moment in 2019?
Erika Page is a writer and blogger with universal vitiligo. 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.