Always remember the only person you have to accept is you
Ashley Soto was first diagnosed with vitiligo – a disease that causes the loss of skin in blotches – at 12-years-old.
Within a year, the condition spread to 75 per cent of her body and soon she started hiding herself from the world.
In her interview with the Daily Mail, Ashley explained others reactions to her exposed skin caused her to think she had to cover up.
She revealed how awful she felt when a girl at the beach, who had seen her in a bikini, asked whether “she showered in bleach”.
“I was so shocked that someone said that to me that I cried and cried, I didn’t want to have the condition any more,” Ashley told the Daily Mail. “It made me want to start hiding away from people and left me covering my skin, as I didn’t people to make fun of me.”
But now, the 21-year-old Florida woman doesn’t cover her condition with clothes anymore, she covers the patches with art.
Ashley made the decision in her late teens to find a way to love she skin she was in. So, she began drawing around the patches with a black marker, and began to realise how “beautiful” her vitiligo was.
“I was always trying to find a way to look at my skin in a positive light, I couldn’t do that before starting this. Now what others would perceive as an imperfection I have made into something more beautiful and made it more accepted than before.”
Ashley now embraces her body – and her skin condition – and has gone on to creating other amazing works including Van Gogh’s Starry Night.
“Thanks to doing this I’ve learned to accept myself more than I did before.”