Inspirational People: Ashley Soto

Ashley Soto is a lady who has Vitiligo. Vitiligo causes white patches to develop on the skin due to a lack of pigmentation. The exact cause of the condition is currently unknown but experts have linked the condition to the body’s immune system. 21-year-old Ashley developed Vitiligo when she was 12 years old. After Ashley was diagnosed she began spending her time indoors and wearing long sleeved clothing, even in 40-degree weather in her home Orlando, Florida. Ashley refused to wear a bikini or go swimming after a stranger approached her and cruelly accused her of “showering in bleach” when she was 13 years old. Ashley told the Daily Mail “When I first got vitiligo it was just this little spot on my neck and I was at the age where I was still trying to figure out who I was,I got a lot of mean comments and people staring so it was really hard. The worst comment I got when I was a kid was when I went to the pool. I was in my swimming costume and I knew people were staring but I tried to not let it get to me. I was just about to dive in and this girl said, “I think she had a shower with bleach.” I just ran into the bathroom and cried. It made me afraid after that and I didn’t ever go swimming again.’

Despite this and after years of battling anxiety, Ashley decided to embrace her appearance. Ashley began sharing images of her Vitiligo to people all around the world. Initially, she started sharing beauty tutorials but not long after she bravely uploaded her first image revealing her Vitiligo. Ashley said “Before my account was just about make-up and I would never show my body, just my face and selfies, I was too scared to show my body; I learnt how to cover my face. But I had seen other girls putting themselves out there and I had read lots of positive comments. I was really afraid, I was preparing myself for nasty comments but it was really positive.”

As Ashley began posting images of her Vitiligo she began to notice her confidence growing. Ashley said: “I started slowly – I stopped wearing sweaters and I would go to the corner stop without long sleeve to see how I feel, It went little by little and I went to wearing tank tops which was something I would never do. And recently I went to theme park and I forced myself to wear a swimsuit. It was so weird at first but I just don’t want live to go back to what it was before. I realize that I may be different but I am unique and I should be proud of who I am. I have finally learnt to love myself. I am so much happy now I am able to do something or my own. Now I hope my Instagram page can help others too.”





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