A woman with vitiligo has become a model after years of bullying and harassment she had been subjected to because of pale white patches on her skin.
21-year-old Storm Dove Frederick is a New York-based biology student and model who was just 7 years old when she developed white patches across her body, including her face, feet, and hands, due to the condition known as vitiligo.
While she had long been subjected to cruel harassment because of her unique looks, the girl has finally proved haters wrong as she kicked off her modeling career.
As Storm revealed, she was suffering from anxiety and stress while growing up because people, including her classmates, would often mock her and question the origin of the white patches on her skin.
According to the 21-year-old, some bullies even went as far as accusing her of bleaching herself in an attempt to whiten her skin.
In 2016, a decade after she developed vitiligo, Storm landed her first modeling gig as she was chosen to pose for a photoshoot. Three years later, after receiving loads of support from her family’s side, Storm secured a position in a professional modeling campaign which provided her with the confidence she needed to pursue her passion and truly accept her looks.
“I got vitiligo around the age of seven or eight, so I went from being a little kid and not really caring about my appearance to suddenly having to care at a young age,” the model recalled.
“I wasn’t just dealing with the vitiligo but also with other people around me bullying and mocking me, making me aware that I was different. It was hard to basically get harassed on a daily basis.
“If people don’t know what vitiligo is, they’ll assume that I’ve got burnt or that I bleached my skin. Sometimes people will yell out at me and it’s not even just kids, it’s adults too. It’s a lot to go through when you’re so young, to have a grown person say ignorant things about you.”
As Storm admitted, she eventually overcame her insecurities and learned how to ignore bullies and rude comments.
While becoming a model opened a door to more promising opportunities, the 21-year-old admitted that social media presence also comes along with trolls who continue to mock her appearance.
“I respond by not responding because the not so nice comments are coming from the people who are ignorant and have a lot of insecurities and they are trying to bring others down to their level,” Storm said of the haters.
“Instead, I use my energy toward responding back to the positive comments and responses. You have one life to live so why not live it loud, proud and be unapologetic in yourself.
“It might not be easy to overcome your insecurities, but don’t hide or cover your who you are because there is no greater feeling than loving and accepting yourself for who you are.”