in ,

Vitiligo Crusaders | Page 7 | A young man on a mission to look beyond vitiligo

Meet Haider Razzaq, a 21-year-old aerospace engineering student, whose answers to our questions will leave you impressed with his clarity of thought.

Haider Razzaq

When one of our staff writers was going through Brock Elbank’s vitiligo series, she stopped over a photo. This shot featured a young man who had a unique vitiligo pattern on the right side of his face. After little navigation, she finally found the man featured in the photograph – Haider Razaaq. When we got in touch with him, he agreed to a quick Q&A session. But, what surprised us was not Haider’s exotic white patch, but his maturity beyond his age and philosophy toward life.

Haider was diagnosed with vitiligo when he was around 11 years old. He had just started secondary school, which made it even worse as he was stepping into a big school with loads of new faces around him. “It started as a small patch on my face before spreading to cover the right side of my face,” Haider explains.

It was a lot more difficult for Haider as a teenager. With so many things changing at that time, vitiligo felt more like an additional burden he had to carry alone. This was the time when Haider didn’t know anyone else with vitiligo or someone who he could relate to. The other challenge was people’s ignorance. “I don’t think it is widely known that vitiligo affects the hair too. A few people commented on how my hair is ‘graying’ already or point out my beard being half white without making the connection to the fact that it’s on the parts of my face where my vitiligo is present.” the young vitiligo crusader recalls.

Haider is now completely fine with his vitiligo. He feels his vitiligo helps him stand out from the crowd. “When I was first diagnosed with vitiligo we tried using topical steroid creams to no success. I did take up the offer of using the skin ‘camo’ (makeup) and did use it once, but other than that I didn’t see the point. My philosophy has always been a stubborn one – one that refuses to change for others’ expectations of me and not “covering” myself up to blend in. It is a part of me.”

As Haider grew older, he learned more from observing people’s reactions to him. From then, it took a few years to where he is now – worrying and caring less about what others think of him. He shares, “I still get stares from people observing my face, but I have completely stopped caring and being self-conscious about what the few hundred random people, whose paths will likely never cross with mine again, think about my vitiligo. I focus on myself only and try to better myself.”

When we asked Haider if vitiligo is under-represented in popular culture, he replied,” I think the representation is getting better. We did have Michael Jackson, which everyone mentions when I say I have vitiligo, and now we have Winnie Harlow.”

Haider isn’t just wise and pragmatic; he is incredibly optimistic at this young age. “I am beginning to notice a lot more people with vitiligo being shown online. Brock Elbank, who photographed me, has been doing an amazing job, capturing a multitude of different vitiligo subjects which, in turn, will only beckon more people to come forward and see their vitiligo as an interesting quirk rather than a disease,” he concludes.

Haider lives in London and is due to start working as an intern in the spacecraft industry for a year before completing his masters in spacecraft engineering. We wish him a successful career ahead!

Leave a Reply

Exit mobile version