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2019’s Top 8 Newsmakers with Vitiligo

On the last day of the year, ‘Unite For Vitiligo’ takes a look at those who made big news in 2019, for representing vitiligo in the positive light and paving the way for a more inclusive world. From strengthening the representation of vitiligo in popular culture to achieving massive social media following, these newsmakers raised the bar in 2019, creating conversations around vitiligo. 

1. Winnie Harlow 

From gracing countless magazine covers to being the face of MAC’s Viva Glam 25 Campaign, Winnie Harlow continued stealing the spotlight this year too. The supermodel was invited to Vogue India’s ‘Women of The Year Awards’ to receive an award under the ‘Global Changemaker of the Year’ category. By collaborating with Kim Kardashian, Winnie became the first person with vitiligo to have a beauty line named after her. The supermodel also created an iconic Marilyn Monroe look on Halloween that went viral on social media.  

2. Mikey Foster

If you loved Ariana Grande’s music video Boyfriend musically, you must have appreciated it visually too. Boyfriend that normalized vitiligo in a fun, sweet, yet VERY naughty way featured Mikey Foster – a music artist with vitiligo from the duo Social House.

The music video fulfilled many vitiligo awareness advocate’s wishes to be represented in mainstream music videos. It is a refreshing take on representation of vitiligo; thanks to Mikey for playing a man who is showcased as an object of desire. 

3. Godavari Dutta 

The veteran Madhubani Painting artist was conferred with Padma Shri – India’s fourth-highest civilian honor this January. Godavari, who is often referred to as the Grand Old Woman of Madhubani has universal vitiligo. She is 87 years old and still very active, artistically. She is probably the first person with vitiligo to be honored with a civilian honor ever in any country around the world.  

4. Shahad Salman

In June 2019, the world discovered another vitiligo beauty. Ace photographer Dan Beleiu shot Winnie Harlow and another girl with vitiligo for the cover of Vogue Arabia’s June Issue. The other woman featured in the world’s most influential magazine was Shahad Salman, a Mecca-based model. Styled by Katie Trotter for the cover, Shahad, shared her touching story of success in the Vogue world exclusive, highlighting how vitiligo hasn’t stopped her from living her dreams.

4. Santosh Kumar Gangwar

Santosh, a veteran politician with vitiligo, caught everyone’s attention, for being elected a Member of Parliament (MP) from Bareilly Lok Sabha (LS) seat after 2019 Indian General Election. Though his achievements in local politics have never gotten press’ attention before, he turned everybody’s head this time for being chosen MP from the same seat for a record, eighth times.

5. Elli the cat 

Elli, 3, has turned from black to white after developing vitiligo. The German cat was originally black with a white tuxedo. She was diagnosed with the skin disorder when she was 18 months old. 

Elli’s before after photos continued being talked about on the internet and netizens across the world couldn’t stop loving her throughout 2019. Her Instagram account, which is handled by her owner Ms. Böhm is now followed by more than 82,000 people.

6. João Stanganelli Junior

João was discovered by the world media this year as a sweet grandpa who crochets dolls with vitiligo. João, 64, has been living with vitiligo for nearly half of his life. He wanted his granddaughter to have something to remember him by. After a suggestion from his wife, he took five days to crochet a doll for Isabella. One of the photos of the very same doll was passed among his social circle and people across the world started asking him to crochet personalized dolls for them. Thanks to the warm response, João kept crocheting dolls with different body types, skin conditions, physical impairments, and hearing aids throughout 2019. 

7. Kaiden Williams

This year, one teenager became the face of inclusivity for kids and teenagers with vitiligo in advertising. Primark signed Kaiden Williams, a teen model with vitiligo for its retail campaign (for its new ranges of active and casual wear). With then help of the apparel brand, Kaiden successfully used advertising as a tool to break down beauty barriers. 

8. Lujain Salah

The Egyptian social media influencer with vitiligo, announced this December that she has finally made it to her dream job — a correspondent on broadcasting TV. Lujain is the first woman with vitiligo who will be a correspondent on the Abu Dhabi channel. We hope to hear more good news like this in 2020 as well. 

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