Rozella Marie Mahjhrin is an upcoming musician from Malaysia. Rozella was born with a facial birthmark. Because of the prominent look of her birthmark, Rozella received lots of stares, attention and comments from strangers whilst growing up. Rozella was even approached by strangers, salespeople and even family members who offered to “fix” her birthmark. Rozella told The Sun Daily: “From a very young age, I was going for whitening and laser treatments, facials, and trying different supplements, but nothing worked. They made me feel worse – as if there’s something wrong with me that I had to be fixed.” Recalling an insensitive comment from a date Rozella said: “They would say, ‘You’re actually pretty and slim – if only you didn’t have the birthmark.”
Although many of the comments Rozella received weren’t intentionally hurtful the musician’s self-esteem took a knock. This caused Rozella to stay away from the limelight, despite having a great talent for singing. Speaking of growing up in a house filled with music Rozella said: “We’ve always had music at home. I had my first cassette when I was five, and my first CD at 11. I sung and hummed melodies in my head, and wrote songs just for fun. Music has always been my coping mechanism.” Because of her great talent, Rozella was encouraged to perform in front of her class. Rozella said: “Kids being kids, everyone started laughing. I was already very shy, awkward and insecure. So I got so traumatised by that.”
Nowadays Rozella is a lot more confident after taking a chance and relocating to Kuala Lumpur after electropop artist Darren Ashley agreed to collaborate. Rozella and her band also decided to enter Tiger Jams, a competition for musicians. Rozella was coached by Darren Ashley during the competition and even went on to win. Rozella said “Moving here was probably the best decision I’ve made. There’s not a lot of opportunities in Sabah because the scene is really small, and the bands there are more cover-centric. Here, there are many open-mikes and venues which support original music.”
Because of Rozella’s musical involvement, she was able to overcome her fears leading her to embrace her true self. Rozella also took part in a photography project called True Complexion which is a page that features inspirational people who have physical, mental and emotional characteristics to challenge society’s perception of beauty and normality.