We all love a cookie that tastes good while some of us speculate the taste of cookie based on its appearance. All our lives, us, people with vitiligo are judged based on the skin we are in. We all wish to not take the skin condition seriously, but very few of us can do it. The ones who do it are upheld as inspiration for the community. One such inspiring figure is a 23-year-old model Yvesmark Chery.
Some of Yvesmark’s high profile gigs have been with Adidas, Puma, and GQ Turkey. The young man was on the second-largest billboard in New York City, patterned by Tracee Ellis Ross. He was recently featured in a campaign for ‘Youth To The People’. He was cast for the brand’s latest campaign because ‘Youth To The People’ is skincare for all. Through time, the beauty industry has come to appreciate how special all skins are.
Yvesmark was born in Brooklyn, New York, but was raised in Philadelphia. His first vitiligo spot was a little speck on his face. He was bullied growing up. At times, he would hand money to people on the cash register as some of them didn’t want to touch his hands. Experiences like these were daunting, but today Yvesmark Chery stands tall as a model that portrays confidence. He looks at the modeling industry as a platform to tell his story. Being a male model with vitiligo, he brings in a new perspective. With each modeling assignment, Yvesmark plans to tell his story and send a message to others with a visual difference about confidence and accepting who they are.
However, Yvesmark’s experience with vitiligo has been a roller coaster ride. Growing up in an urban community was tough with mixed expressions on people’s faces. Some expressed disgust, and others, confusion. Growing up, he always wanted to remove traces of vitiligo on his face simply because he wanted to look “normal.” Towards the end of his high school career, Yvesmark’s definition of “normal” changed as he attended college tours and met different people. In these college tours, differences (visual or physical) were praised and being in such a supportive environment made Yvesmark realize that differences are what make each individual an individual.
Yvesmark’s personal experiences shed valuable light on one lesson – one’s power of perspective. The young model with vitiligo says he still experiences awkwardness with people, even to this day. The difference between then and now is his mindset, which has completely changed: “I love my vitiligo and I fully accept that it is a part of me. A perspective is a powerful tool that can help create unions. I believe if people are more open-minded, they have more opportunities to learn from one another and gain new perspectives.”