Brazilian woman with vitiligo reveals it has turned her almost completely white

A Brazilian woman who has the rare skin condition vitiligo has opened up about how modeling has helped her regain her confidence after her body turned almost completely white.  

Radiology technician Stephanie Yashinmura, 28, from Rio de Janeiro, discovered a white spot above her eye when she was 14 years old. Within a matter of months, the white spot started to spread across her face, arms, torso, and legs.

After visiting a doctor, she was diagnosed with vitiligo. Those affected by vitiligo have a lack of a pigment called melanin in their skin that causes white patches to appear in affected areas.

As a teenager, Stephanie was incredibly self-conscious and was scared that her vitiligo would lead to her whole body turning pale white. She began to cover up her skin by wearing long-sleeved clothing and putting on lots of makeup to avoid drawing attention to herself at school.

Rare: Stephanie Yashinmura, 28, from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil has vitiligo, a condition in which a lack of melanin in the skin causes white patches to appear in affected areas

Rare: Stephanie Yashinmura, 28, from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil has vitiligo, a condition in which a lack of melanin in the skin causes white patches to appear in affected areas

Changing minds: The radiology technician has turned to modeling with the hope that showing off her differences can help others

Changing minds: The radiology technician has turned to modeling with the hope that showing off her differences can help others

Looking back: Stephanie first discovered a white spot above her eye when she was 14 years old

Looking back: Stephanie first discovered a white spot above her eye when she was 14 years old

When out in public, Stephanie caught strangers constantly staring at her, which made her feel uncomfortable.

Despite trying a range of different creams and phototherapy in which her skin was exposed to fluorescent light bulbs, nothing prevented Stephanie’s vitiligo from spreading. 

By the age of 20, 80 per cent of her skin had lost its pigment. Stephanie felt helpless and frustrated that there was nothing she could do to remedy her condition.

In October 2020, Stephanie was approached by a famous local makeup artist in Rio de Janeiro who had seen her in the gym and invited her onto a photo shoot. Wanting to keep a record of her skin condition, Stephanie cautiously agreed.

After the photos were posted on Instagram, Stephanie was bombarded with positive messages from strangers. Many of these messages were from others living with vitiligo who told the radiology technician how inspiring it was to see Stephanie post pictures of her skin.

The responses she received were overwhelmingly positive, and that encouraged her to pursue modeling. She has since begun to post pictures of her skin online with the hope that showing off her differences can help others suffering with low self-esteem.

Condition: Within a matter of months, the white spot started to spread across her face, arms, torso, and legs

Condition: Within a matter of months, the white spot started to spread across her face, arms, torso, and legs

Hard to handle: Stephanie was incredibly self-conscious and tried covering her skin with makeup and long-sleeve clothing

Hard to handle: Stephanie was incredibly self-conscious and tried covering her skin with makeup and long-sleeve clothing

Hard to handle: Stephanie was incredibly self-conscious and tried covering her skin with makeup and long-sleeve clothing

Attempt: Stephanie tried a range of different creams and phototherapy in which her skin was exposed to fluorescent light bulbs to try to stop the spread, but nothing worked

Attempt: Stephanie tried a range of different creams and phototherapy in which her skin was exposed to fluorescent light bulbs to try to stop the spread, but nothing worked 

Stephanie caught strangers constantly staring at her which made her feel uncomfortable

Stephanie caught strangers constantly staring at her which made her feel uncomfortable

Struggled: Stephanie said she would catch strangers constantly staring at her, which made her feel uncomfortable

‘I discovered that I had vitiligo at the age of fourteen when a spot appeared on the skin just around my eye,’ Stephanie said.

‘I remembered feeling very afraid that the spots would spread.

‘I tried lots of different treatments to help with my skin condition, but nothing worked which was incredibly frustrating.

‘Last year, my vitiligo continued to spread and turned almost all of my body completely white.

‘I got an invitation to be photographed by a makeup artist who had seen a picture showing my vitiligo online.

‘Although I was apprehensive, I wanted to have a record of the way my skin was changing.

‘After the photos were posted online, I received several messages from people with vitiligo telling their stories and saying that it felt good to see me proudly showing off my skin.

‘This motivated me and still motivates me to always show the world how beautiful vitiligo is.

‘I also get lots of messages from women who do not have vitiligo but have a problem with self-esteem.

‘Fortunately, I’ve never had trolls say anything horrible to me but I do have people staring at my skin wherever I go.

Look of love: Stephanie's boyfriend Patrick Ornelas, 28, has been incredibly supportive and acts as her photographer

Look of love: Stephanie’s boyfriend Patrick Ornelas, 28, has been incredibly supportive and acts as her photographer

Goal: Stephanie hopes to 'redefine beauty standards' by posting her modeling photos online

Goal: Stephanie hopes to 'redefine beauty standards' by posting her modeling photos online

Goal: Stephanie hopes to  ‘redefine beauty standards’ by posting her modeling photos online

Proud:  'I hope that my photos can show people with vitiligo that they are still beautiful and sexy even if their skin is different,' she said

Proud:  ‘I hope that my photos can show people with vitiligo that they are still beautiful and sexy even if their skin is different,’ she said

‘People are afraid of the unknown and that is why I think it is so important to show ourselves more and more regardless of the differences we have.

‘I hope that my photos can show people with vitiligo that they are still beautiful and sexy even if their skin is different.’

Stephanie’s boyfriend Patrick Ornelas, 28, has been incredibly supportive of her and constantly tells her that her skin is beautiful. He also acts as her photographer at home and has helped Stephanie build up the confidence to post her pictures on social media.

She hopes that by continuing to represent those with skin differences, she will help redefine beauty standards in the modeling industry and show just how wonderful being different can be.

‘My boyfriend Patrick supports me a lot in relation to my vitiligo,’ Stephanie said.

‘He says my photos are beautiful. He thinks it is great that I show myself and he always takes pictures of me.

‘Never accept less than a guy who thinks you’re wonderful.

‘Working as a model has been amazing.

‘Discovering that the world of modeling – which has always set standards – is increasingly open-minded and interested in the non-standard shows just how much the world has changed.

‘I have no doubts for the future that I want to continue showing how wonderful being different is.’

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk