Ashley Soto still feels nervous about people seeing her skin. She has to teach herself that it’s okay to be different. She is still learning to love herself every day. Yet, Ash has done something many of us can’t do – turning our vitiliginous body into a canvas for art.
Ash was diagnosed with vitiligo at the age of 12. Her journey with vitiligo started with a small spot on her neck. At first, she didn’t think anything of the sot at all. After a while, she consulted a doctor and was immediately diagnosed with vitiligo. She started Googling and reading more about the skin condition to know that there is no cure for it. The spots on her elbows and in her arms were now getting bigger and bigger.
Slowly, Ash transitioned from a confident, outgoing, actuated young child to a completely introverted, insecure teenager. She told a Barcroft TV representative about a few bitter experiences – “I’ve had a lot of negative comments with my skin, especially in school. They would act like I was contagious.” This was the time when Ash felt that her identity was being stolen from her. At this point, she was tired of looking at her skin in a negative light. Forthwith, she didn’t want to be sad and wanted to claim her confidence back.
After gathering some courage, Ash posted her first picture with vitiligo on social media. “I was so nervous; my fingers were shaking. I know how cruel social media can be. I just let people know that “hey, I have this skin condition,” “but it’s okay,”” the skin positivity activist shared her thoughts with a media outlet.
Ash received a great response for this honest social post. Soon, others with vitiligo started writing to her to say they also had this skin condition. This was the moment when Ash realized she is “not alone.”
One day, Ash started to trace on her arm. By the time she finished, she traced her whole body as much as she could see in the mirror. This changed her perspective toward life and vitiligo. Since then, Ash has been nothing but an inspiration for all young girls with vitiligo. She continues to inspire people by being herself, by not being afraid of accepting challenges that life with vitiligo throws at her. That makes us very proud of our very own – Ashley Soto.