As those with vitiligo continue to share their stories publicly, collaborate with brands and celebrate their skin in there own way, we are collectively raising awareness and re-directing the negativity often associated with a visible difference in to something positive. Its a truly wonderful feeling.
With that, 2020 has seen some great wins in terms of collaborations and innovative ways of showing a more inclusive and diverse society. Here are some of the moments that we celebrated, welcomed and for us, felt like a major breakthrough…
In January, Mattel, one of the biggest toy distributors launched a new range of diverse barbie dolls including a Barbie with vitiligo. The first of its type, the range was an instant hit on Instagram, with the prototype receiving more than 60’000 likes on social media.
This was an incredible breakthrough for so many reasons, but most importantly it was a way of redefining beauty and showing society the importance of representation and diversity. The doll, which had vitiligo on its face and hands, was accurately represented thanks to Mattel working closely with a dermatologist to ensure the pigment was aptly reflected.
Like the majority of the vitiligo community, I was excited to see such a diverse range being introduced into the market and which also included a Barbie with no hair, a prosthetic leg and in a wheelchair. Since the Barbie doll was first introduced more than 60 years ago, the standard design has been the same – white, blond hair and the longest legs meaning children were exposed to the idea that only one type of beauty existed. With this new range we are showing children that we are all being represented and giving a truer reflection of the world we live in.
On June 25thwe celebrated World Vitiligo day for the 9thtime and what a celebration it was. Every year the desire to raise awareness and publicise the beauty in our skin, seems to get bigger and 2020 was no exception. I watched closely online as we globally celebrated, shared photos, captions, personal snippets of our story and for some, bravely sharing their spots for the first time because they felt empowered by others. For me, it was testament to just how unified and supportive everyone is….how we come together, encourage each and remind ourselves that we are not alone. It was an incredible filled with such positivity and really proved that the stigma around vitiligo really is starting to die out. Being part of such a strong and open community online, continues to make me very proud!
In 2019, Gillette Venus, successfully championed the importance of women feeling comfortable in their own skin, by launching ‘My Skin. My Way’ a campaign that was created to challenge beauty stereotypes from across the globe. In August 2020, they went one step further and launched 250 digital characters for fans of Animal Crossing, a game for Nintendo Switch. The characters, which featured conditions such as vitiligo, cellulite, stretch marks and eczema were created in collaboration with designer, Nicole Cuddihy. On August 31st, Gillette hosted an Animal Crossing beach event on YouTube in celebration of its launch.
In other news…
Living Dappled, a platform created for women and girls with vitiligo launched the Dappled Darlings community, which brings together a small group of women into a safe space, allowing them to share their challenges and learn from each other’s experiences. Its honestly been one of the most enlightening and special groups to be part of. If you want to know more or would love to join, you can do so here.
In December, The Vitiligo Society hosted their first online summit with guest speakers, Dr John Harris, Dr Alia Ahmed and Dr Viktoria Eleftheriadou and in October, My VitiligoTeam hosted a live virtual panel where leading doctors, Dr John Harris, Dr Amit Pandya, Dr Pearl Grimes and Dr Seemal Desai answered all your vitiligo related questions. Last but not least, Winnie Harlow was voted as one of the most successful models of 2020….
Lastly, Happy New Year to you. Wishing you health, happiness and positivity in 2021….