Adelaja Ewawunmi, a Nigerian lady with vitiligo, a skin disease, says the insult and rejection she gets over her condition inspired her modelling career.
The 20-year-old spoke of her experience grappling with discrimination and quest to motivate others with a similar condition in an interview with BBC Pidgin.
Ewawunmi has vitiligo, a health condition that causes loss of skin colour in patches. She also has freckles — small brown spots that often appear in parts of the skin that is exposed to the sun.
The lady recalled how she wept bitterly after a woman had sent her out of her shop due to her condition a few years ago and how she was mocked by people.
“When people meet me for the first time, I think they have this mindset that when they touch me, they’re also going to have the same skin as mine,” she said.
“There are numerous occasions where people tell me to go and bleach while some would offer me skincare products. I usually ignore them because my mum has spent a lot on drugs, injections and doctors but nothing changed.
“I have a lot of embarrassing moments but the one that made me cry was when I went to out to buy body cream at a shop some years back.
“When I got to the shop, I met the woman in charge and told her what I wanted but she sent me out instead. She told me ‘you’re not human being, I can’t sell cream to you because you look like a spirit.’
“She insulted me till I left the shop. On my way home, I was also mocked by others who repeated the same thing the shop owner told me. That really made me cry.”
The model also narrated how she suffered similar treatment from her ex-boyfriend who lied that he loved her.
Ewawunmi said she has finally loved herself after suffering discrimination for long, noting that her foray into modelling was to help change people’s perception about how those with the condition are seen.
“I don’t know where the confidence comes from but at the moment, I’m very confident with my skin. I have a perfect skin. There’s no one I can’t meet with my skin,” she said.
“I’m very comfortable. I believe I have finally come to terms with the fact that this skin isn’t going anywhere and I just have to admire it. I also believe the way I present myself depends on the kind of treatment I get from people.”