Cassandra Bankson is an American Model and YouTuber. Much like Elaine Mokk, Cassandra has suffered from the skin condition cystic acne. During her childhood, Cassandra endured cruel bullying for the appearance of her acne, it was then how Cassandra practised with makeup and learnt how to conceal her pimples. Because of Cassandra’s talented makeup skills, she was able to conceal her skin so well that her Acne was hard to detect. In Cassandra’s portfolio shots, her skin appeared “flawless” which lead to Cassandra becoming a model.
Cassandra also decided to start a YouTube channel and shared a video showing how she applied makeup to conceal her acne. She told the Daily Mail: “I got my first pimple in the third grade and it progressively got worse, I had to work out how to deal with it. I filmed the video last November but it took me a month to post it, I thought I was going to get the same hate I got at school over my skin. But I thought if it could help one person, one girl or guy with the same condition, it would be worth it.”
Since posting her video Cassandra’s helpful tutorial and story has been shared all around the world by various websites and news stations helping many other with the same condition. Today Cassandra is still sharing videos on her YouTube channel however, her channel has grown massively with over 800k people subscribed and over 122 million views on her videos.
Elaine Mokk is a YouTuber from Canada. In the past, Elaine suffered from severe cystic acne. Cystic acne is a condition which causes very painful, large, red pimples. Usually, when you get a pimple it is caused when a pore in the skin becomes blocked. This is usually caused by dead skin cells. When bacteria gets trapped this is often when the swelling and redness occurs. With Cystic acne, the infection goes deep into the skin which causes a tender red pus filled bump to appear. Cystic acne can be a very painful and itchy condition. There is also a chance of more breakouts occurring if a cyst bursts as this spreads the infection. Cystic acne not only affects the skin, it can also affect confidence due to its appearance.
When Elaine first started her YouTube channel she focused around her skincare and makeup routine. She bravely shared videos of herself using clever makeup tricks and techniques to hide her spots and scars in a bid to help others who were also dealing with the painful skin condition. Her channel has received over 64 million views and many have found her advice inspiring and very helpful. Today Elaine’s Acne has improved dramatically due to undergoing treatment for her skin. Elaine continues to share makeup reviews and skincare tips on her channel but also features some of her other interests.
Dara Torres is a USA Olympic medalist who is the only woman to have represented America five times. Shortly after the 1993 Games, Dara was diagnosed with the condition Psoriasis. Psoriasis is a condition that causes red flaky patches to develop on the skin. Psoriasis is a chronic condition which means that it is long term but the condition often involves periods where symptoms calm down followed by periods where symptoms flare up. The condition is caused when there is an increased in the production of the skin cells. The results in a build up of cells which create patches. The full cause of the condition isn’t fully understood but problems with the immune system are said to be linked.
Although Dara has spent a lot of her time in a swimming costume she spent years feeling ashamed to bear her skin. She told the Daily Mail: “You just feel embarrassed, I dreaded putting on my bathing suit – and I work in a bathing suit! The worst was going to the beach and feeling like people were scared to touch me. Lots of people thought it was contagious, even though it isn’t. But I just had to get on with it and work with my dermatologist to keep it under control. It is possible, but so many people still don’t know that.” Despite the condition Psoriasis being around for centuries, it is still a poorly understood condition. Dara however, hopes to change this by starting a campaign to explain the condition.
We recently received some fantastic feedback from Daniella, a lady who has been using Veil Cover Cream on a daily basis to conceal spider veins and dark undereye circles. Here is what Daniella had to say about Veil Cover Cream:
“As you are aware from my order history I use Veil products every day. It’s the one item I can not live without and will not travel without it. I use the Veil cream to cover up the spider veins I have on my cheek area and the dark circles under my eyes. I have to say once I have Veil on my face I look and feel great.”
Patience Hodgson is the lead singer of Australian indie rock band, The Grates. Patience was born with a Port Wine Stain birthmark that covers half of her upper body. Port Wine Stain birthmarks develop when there is abnormal development of the blood vessels within the skin. This occurs when there is a genetic change when the baby develops in the womb. Port Wine Stains are not caused by done or not done by the mother during pregnancy.
Despite having a birthmark Patience does not let her Port Wine Stain hold her back. Recently Patience teamed up with Natalie McComas, a photographer and artist to take part in a project called “In This Skin” where an image of Patience went on display in Sydney, Australia. The aim of the project is to open up the conversation about birthmarks.
Speaking about her birthmark Patience told ABC Australia “It’s red when I’m warm, and it covers my entire left arm, my left breast and my left shoulder blade, and then goes up onto my neck. When I’m cold it turns a vivid purple. Some people are just genuinely really openly inquisitive. What I really want to happen from Nat’s exhibition and in general, is that I would just really love people to understand that there are options. You could get it laser removed or you could cover it with makeup — or you could just leave it,and you’re just going to live a total life. A life that’s probably going to be more unique to what your life would be anyway — and that it’s just not going to be a problem. It’s really about how you react to these things.”
Kristen Luong is a fashion designer from New York. Kristen was born with a unique birthmark around her right eye. Kristen’s birthmark is called a Nevus of Ota and appears blue/grey in colour and is frequently mistaken for a bruise. Nevus of Ota is caused when melanocytes (the cells that produce the skin’s pigment, melanin) become trapped in the Dermis (the middle layer of the skin.)
Because of her birthmarks appearance, Kristen is often approached and asked questions about her Nevus Of Ota. Kristen told the Daily Mail “There are times when I would get asked at least once a day when I go outside of my apartment. It can get bothersome at times when people yell out or cat call me. People ask me if I got punched in the eye a lot, Some men would try and be protective about it and say they would beat the guy who gave me my black eye, not knowing it’s just a birthmark.”
Despite being pestered about her birthmark Kristen refuses to have her birthmark removed. She said, “I embrace my birthmark for its uniqueness and it makes me proud to be who I am.”
April Star is an 11-year-old from Florida. April was diagnosed with the condition Vitiligo when she was just 6 years old. Vitiligo is a condition which causes white patches to develop on the skin. These patches develop due to a lack of the chemical in the skin called Melanin. Melanin is the pigment that gives the skin its colour. There is no clear evidence as to what causes a lack of Melanin in the skin, however, some research suggests that the condition has been linked to the autoimmune system.
Although young, April has big ambitions. Rather than letting her condition hold her back, April is redefining stereotypical beauty standards. Much like her role model Winnie Harlow, April is following her fashion dreams and pursuing a career in modelling. April also has an Instagram account which is followed by over 115k people. On her account, April shares untouched modelling photographs as well as inspirational quotes. Since pursuing her career as a model April has worked with the online children’s clothing store Love My Alannah as well as featuring in a fashion spread inside the pages of Essence Magazine. April told Buzzfeed that being confident is “being yourself and never being afraid of showing anyone the real you.”
Ciera Swaringen is a young lady from North Carolina. Ciera was born with a rare condition called Congenital Melanocytic Nevus which causes mole like Birthmarks to develop on the skin. Ciera’s mole like birthmarks cover more than two-thirds of her body and since she was a young child, she has endured cruel taunts from both children and adults. Ciera told the Daily Mail “Teenage boys are usually the first ones to comment when they see me, they say things like, “You look like you’re dirty, take a wash.” But I’m so proud to be different and, at the end of the day, we all have something about us that’s unusual, whether it’s on the inside or the outside. Everyone is born to look different, and we should all feel beautiful in our own skin.”
Ciera added “One day I remember being on the school bus and hearing a young boy laugh at me and call me a spotty dog. That really knocked my confidence, I was only young and it made me feel different to the other kids like something was wrong with me. Over time I’ve learnt to brush off negative comments and remember that most people stare and say cruel things because they’re not used to seeing someone with my condition. People in my town don’t bat an eye when they see me now, as they know me. But if I go somewhere new, it’s not so easy.”
Today Ciera has developed a positive outlook on her condition. Through research, she also discovered online groups run by Nevus Outreach. Nevus Outreach is an association that supports people who have been affected by the condition. Ciera said, “Discovering groups on Facebook has helped me realise that I’m not alone, I’m hoping I will be able to attend a Nevus Outreach conference, so I can meet other people with my condition.”
Harley Dabbs is a young lady from North Carolina, USA. When Harley was two years old she was left with 85 percent burns across her body after being in a house fire. Harley was given a two percent chance of survival but defied medics despite having such extreme injuries.
Unfortunately growing up Harley was a target for bullies due to the scarred appearance of her skin. This lead to Harley suffering from depression and even suicidal thoughts. Harley told the Daily Mail: “At 14 I started getting depressed – I hated the way I looked and wanted to die. I contemplated suicide numerous times. I couldn’t stand looking in the mirror at myself.” She also said “At the time I didn’t feel okay with myself, going to school or just out in public was very hard for me. I would even wear coats and pants during the summer. I just didn’t want to be seen. I couldn’t handle the stares and comments people would make.”
However, nowadays Harley is keen to inspire others who are going through tough times. She said “I got tired of feeling the way I did about myself and realised this negative person wasn’t me and what happened to me, happened for a reason, God allowed me to live and I believe He allowed this – I’m supposed to help others, burned or not, realise they’re beautiful regardless of what society portrays.”
Harley also credits her boyfriend Joshua for his support which helped her to have a new positive outlook on life. She said “He makes me feel beautiful on the days I don’t think I am. And when I can’t be strong, he stays strong for the both of us. He’s definitely held me up especially on my darkest days. Now I’m a warrior, I’m tough. I am who I am because I fought to be this person. I went through hell just to come out on top and I will every time. I hope my story will help others who battle with their scars or birth.” Harley one day hopes to become a nurse and motivational speaker to help others.
Giorgia Lanuzza is a young lady who has the condition Psoriasis. Psoriasis is a condition that causes red and flaky patches on the skin. The patches often appear silver in colour and patches normally appear on the elbows, knees, lower back and scalp, however, Psoriasis can appear anywhere on the body. In many cases, patches are itchy and sore. Giorgia was diagnosed with Psoriasis when she was 13 years old and the condition affects 97 percent of her body. Giorgia’s Psoriasis was triggered when her father passed away.
She told the Daily Mail: “The condition is often triggered by trauma, and when I lost my dad I felt like the world had ended. My world went to pieces – we were so close when I was growing up, and I couldn’t bear losing him. I was just a teenager and all I wanted was to be like other girls my age… Instead, giant patches of my skin were red and unsightly – I felt like a freak compared to other girls my age and did everything to cover up. Grieving was difficult enough. Then, when these flaky patches started appearing on my skin, I had no idea what was happening. At first it was just on my arms and scalp, but gradually, it spread across my entire body – even my face and hands. I tried not to itch the dry patches but, even so, in class other girls would point at my scab-covered arms and say that I was “infected”.”
For many years Giorgia struggled to accept her condition. Schoolmates and strangers avoided touching Giorgia as they thought her condition was contagious. Recently Giorgia launched a campaign to embrace the way her body looked including the sore patches. She said: “I put together a portfolio of photos of myself in bikinis and other skimpy clothing, to show I wasn’t going to hide my psoriasis any more. The wounds are red and scab-covered in the photos, but I won’t hide them away or edit them. I’m proud of them now – they remind me that I’m strong.”
Giorgia is now following in the footsteps of Winnie Harlow by breaking down stereotypes surrounding beauty. Giorgia hopes to encourage other women with her campaign and help those also suffering from Psoriasis.