Dorcas Kemp began to notice her first vitiligo patch in 2001. She was just 14 years old at this time. The telecommunications professional recalls early diagnosis days, “Vitiligo has been more difficult for me in my late teens into adulthood. I never quite understood what it was. At first, I thought I was lacking iron until I noticed that the spots began to spread. So, I then sought out consultation, and I was diagnosed with vitiligo.”
Fortunately, Dorcas never experienced bullying in school; however, there was one guy she dated, who in a heated argument threw jeers at her about her skin condition. “I cried. It made me feel so low to hear how someone that I truly loved, tell me how he really felt about me. I also had a family member tell me cruel things about my skin. A lot of people would mistake my vitiligo for burns, some even asked if these spots are painted on. Eventually, I weaned it all off,” Dorcas pours her heart out.
While Dorcas let vitiligo imprison her for almost 2 decades, within that time, she was hiding behind serums, creams, pills, ointments, fluids, herbal teas and plant mixtures, diet change, and tons of money on makeup, never seeing a bright positive side to all of this. “For years, I have tried tons of treatments, medicines, whether they were creams, pills or oils or any oral liquids. Nothing worked. I believe because everyone’s immune system is so different, not everyone’s skin will respond the same way to the many different treatments that are available out there. As we speak, there are people inboxing me, asking me to try treatments or telling me about treatments they are developing for people with vitiligo to use. I turned them all down. I don’t care to have my spots removed anymore,” Dorcas says it all.
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Comfortable in my own skin. Not perfect, flaws and all; but what constitutes as perfection? Unique in my own way & embracing who I truly am, inside & out. Model: @deeskemp Photographer: @242vc ♥️ #roadtovitiligo #242vitiligo ♦️#242vitiligomodel #model #art #melanin #vitiligosociety ♦️#embracevitiligo #TeamVitiligo #courage ♠️#strength @imaaron_shad @raqueloptimistic @gerardsmith1_242 @iamvelmanique @delan242 @vitiligo.icon @vitiligosociety @dma_models @imgmodels @elite_milan @elitenyc @elitemiami @elite_paris @elite_london @elitemodellook @elitetoronto @stormmodels
It took Dorcas years and years to learn to accept and embrace her vitiligo. “I’ve had vitiligo from 2001 and as of 3 weeks ago, I was encouraged and motivated to come out about it and love who I am. Having vitiligo now doesn’t bother me at all. I don’t regret having it at all. To be honest, if I were to lose my spots, I would be devastated and lost. It’s a part of me and I am loving every minute of it,” 31 years old vitiligo crusader shares.
Aside from using models like Winnie Harlow and Faried Molai, as motivations, Dorcas had amazing people pushing and egging her on – her photographers, a few close friends, and one amazing cousin. “I am so thankful and blessed for the people in my life who have encouraged me from day one until now. With a great support system, I was able to embrace my truth, and now, I am free and I am no longer a slave to fear.”
When we asked Dorcas to leave us with a message for fellow vitiligo fighters, she indeed had something thought-provoking to share: “I just think that there is still little awareness about the skin condition. Some people may have a parochial take on it, but hey, many will always hate or fear what they do not understand. I want individuals who have vitiligo to know that they are not victims, but survivors. I want them to know that they don’t have to be afraid anymore, they don’t have to hide anymore. We are all unique and should embrace the body that has been given to us all.”