Woman Being Bullied for Having Vitiligo Turns Her Body into Beautiful Art

ash soto body positivity vitiligo

Instagrammer Ash Soto is joining a growing movement of women who are embracing their unique beauty via the social platform. From the age of 12, Soto has been affected by the skin disorder vitiligo, which causes patches of skin to lose pigmentation. Once teased for her appearance, at 21 Soto is using her body as canvas to promote body positivity.

As an outgoing child, Soto transformed from a sunny, social cheerleader into an introvert, following her diagnosis. “I excluded myself from everything and everyone. I tried to be happy and smile, but over time I was filled with so much self-hatred for myself that I stopped doing the things I loved,” Soto shares. “It was so bad, I couldn't even look at people in the eye anymore and I just wanted to be inside all the time. I developed anxiety and depression.”

ash soto skin disorder vitiligo

Like many who suffer from the social stigma of vitiligo, Soto covered up in pants and long-sleeved shirts, as she struggled to cope with her changing appearance. Noticing she couldn't find any similar role models in magazines or on social media, she decided to take matters into her own hands.

At first, her Instagram account just showed off her impressive makeup skills, while she hid her vitiligo. But, in May 2016, she decided to make a change. After posting a photo that revealed her condition, she was overwhelmed by the support she received, which has led to bigger projects.

Now, she uses her body as a canvas. She traces lines that highlight her skin and snaps sultry selfies that demonstrate her newfound self-love. In her first series The Marker Chronicles, her body morphs into something like a world map.

“I am my own experiment, I am my own work of art,” is Soto's philosophy. And she's continued to carry this out through more and more elaborate body painting.”I want to continue to bring awareness to vitiligo and the importance of body positivity. I hope to continue doing what I'm doing now which is inspiring others to accept themselves for who they are.”

At first, Ash Soto hid her vitiligo from her Instagram feed. Once she decided to publish photos revealing her condition, she was overwhelmed by the positive response.

ash soto body positivity vitiligo ash soto body positivity vitiligo

She started painting her body as a way to embrace her vitiligo.

ash soto body positivity vitiligo ash soto body positivity vitiligo ash soto body positivity vitiligo

Now a beacon of body positivity, Soto continues to bring awareness to the skin disorder, which causes a loss of pigmentation.

ash soto body positivity vitiligo ash soto body positivity vitiligo ash soto body positivity vitiligo

Ash Soto: Instagram
h/t: [Huffington Post, A Plus]

All images via Ash Soto.

Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Contributing Writer and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
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