Having a skin condition does not have to prevent you from achieving your dreams!
America’s Next Top Model contestant Chantelle Brown-Young was four years old when white patches appeared on her skin but that hasn’t stopped her from taking on the modelling world.
When Brown-Young was eliminated from the show on Monday night, the 20 year old said her friends and family weren’t happy.
“[There was] an uproar on social media,” she said according to the New York Post.
“I said, ‘Calm down. It’s just a show – and a reality show at that.’ I was cracking up.”
Besides, what they didn’t know was that the Toronto-born model had already been offered a contract as the face of Spanish brand Desigual’s fall campaign.
“Desigual stands for being unusual and unique and atypical, so they figured I’d be the perfect person for that,” she said.
Brown-Young was diagnosed with the skin pigment disorder vitiligo when she was four years old.
Vitiligo is a condition in which the pigment is lost from areas of the skin, causing whitish patches, according to the Vitiligo Foundation Australia.
The model’s first white patch appeared on her stomach and over the next few years she watched as more began to show up all over her body.
From an early age Brown-Young experienced what it was like to be different.
She told Today that in second grade two of her friends suddenly stopped talking to her.
“I asked them why and they said their parents told them not to play with me because they could catch my skin condition. I explained it’s not contagious but not everybody is going to understand.”
This lack of understanding followed her through middle school and into high school.
She said she was called a lot of names, including a “cow” and a “zebra”.
“I started to go through puberty. You’re already having changes you don’t understand, plus this skin condition that I didn’t ask for that has to do with other people’s opinions and other people’s bullying,” she said.
Despite the bullying, Brown-Young decided to embrace her appearance.
“I just decided I’m going to tell myself that I am beautiful and this is how I may be for the rest of my life. I need to accept it, embrace it and enjoy it,” she told People.
At 16, a Toronto photographer encouraged her to model, reports Bustle. She posted her pictures on Instagram and it wasn’t long before judge, Tyra Banks, asked her to compete on America’s Next Top Model.
Landing in the bottom two this week, contestants were asked to create an optical illusion that would trick the eye, while being photographed by An Le.
Brown-Young says she was surprised to be eliminated.
“I don’t feel that my picture was the worst of the bunch, so I didn’t expect to leave so early,” she said.
“I hope I’ve shown America that your flaws can be something that you can turn into something that’s very beautiful.”
Everyone could relate to being different, she said.
“It’s not just me trying to be a role model. It’s my genuine opinion that it’s those quirks that make you gorgeous. Let whatever quirks you have shine.”