- Reham's vitiligo prevented her from attending numerous social events and ruined her joyful memories until she started to love her unique look about six years ago.
- Soon after, she was pleasantly surprised when she was approached by a modelling agency, which wanted to feature her in a skincare brand.
- Even though she had been told she looked like Meghan Markle with vitiligo, she had not expected to become a model.
Vitiligo advocate Reham Soliman (34) from Cairo, Egypt, was diagnosed with vitiligo at 14-years-old. Reham’s vitiligo started with a dot on her neck and spread to over 60% of her body. Growing up, she was bullied for her skin condition and grew to resent it, feeling unconscious of her skin.
Reham’s vitiligo held her back from many social occasions and tainted the happy moments of her life. She was bullied in school for her skin condition making her more conscious of her look.
Reham only gathered the courage to accept her vitiligo six years ago and decided to be herself in all respect and gained a newfound confidence.
Her friends often commented that she looks like Meghan Markle with vitiligo but little did she know that her look would earn her an opportunity to be a model.
She was pleasantly surprised when she was approached by a modelling agency in 2020, which wanted to feature her in a skincare brand.
She had not expected that at all, even though she had been told she looked like Meghan Markle with vitiligo.
Speaking of the modelling opportunity, she says, “I was so surprised when a skincare brand approached me for a modelling opportunity. It was an unbelievable experience, and I have seen how it has encouraged so many other people to accept their differences.”
Reham has gained a lot of confidence through modelling and advocating vitiligo, however, it has not always been a great experience.
“A while ago, I was approached by a modelling agency that wanted to feature me as a diverse model. However, when I went to their studio, they had me in for a completely different photo shoot in a different category called TODAA.," says Reham, adding that they were classifying people with unique characteristics and just using the veil of diversity for publicity.
“I asked them not to use my pictures, and I was very disappointed by the agency as a whole after that incident. I have vitiligo, but I am still a human being, I do not like being pigeonholed and categorized and locked in a corner.”
Overall, Reham believes her being so confident in her own skin has encouraged others to accept their own flaws.
“I get a lot of positive feedback from people all over the world for my pictures that I did not accept,” she says. “And not just from the vitiligo community but from anyone that does not fit into society’s standards of beauty. People with weight or health problems approach me to say that seeing me makes them feel alright with being different. “People can be different and still live their lives and be happy.”
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