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Vitiligo Crusaders | Page 60 | She breathes Art

“Vitiligo showed me that I’m different. Maybe the hard way, but I wouldn’t change a thing about it. It’s a way my body communicates with me,” says Annabell Bianchini Blamey, a future Art Therapist from Frankfurt, Germany.

Annabell Bianchini Blamey, a 26 years old Media Designer from Frankfurt, comes from German and Chilean ancestry. As soon as you go through her website, ibreatheart.de, you realize that it’s not blood, but art that’s rushing through her veins. Believe it or not, vitiligo has something to do with that.

Annabell’s first vitiligo spot appeared at the age of 15, shortly after she was traumatized by a rape. The kids at school avoided touching her. They told her to keep her distance because they feared she could infect them with her vitiligo. Annabell would wear long sleeve shirts all summer long and cover up her spots with waterproof makeup. Some of it had to do with the fact that she grew up in a small town where people perceived vitiligo as a supernatural punishment. “As a teenager, you worry about every single change in your body. I remember seeing my body as my enemy causing me unwanted attention through vitiligo,” she recalls turbulent times.

It took Annabell some years to realize that she is not alone. She says social media helped her to feel like a part of a huge family. “It really changed my view. What inspires me daily are the vitiligo beauties on social media drawing on their spots or sharing their story with the world. I can’t even count how many times I’m like: Ugh, she’s AMAZING, or Wow, he’s truly art alive. Today, I see a lot of people celebrating vitiligo which makes me really happy,” says the artist who is now quite comfortable with talking about being a rape survivor and having vitiligo.

Annabell feels there should be more representation of vitiligo in the popular culture. The absence of enough representation indicates that vitiligo is not normalized yet. And, this lack of normalcy often reflects in assumptions and unwanted conversation. Annabell shares a few incidents, “Most of the time people assume that I’m suffering from vitiligo. Many try to comfort me, which leaves me feeling super awkward. Others want to touch my skin because they expect it to feel different. I even had people stopping me on the street, just to tell me that I am so pretty, and they feel sorry for me.”

Annabell says her vitiligo is strongly connected to emotional stress. Whenever she struggles with her mental health she gets new spots. But, it is art that comes to her rescue every time. “Art helped me a lot. I started drawing at a very young age and it always helped me cope with difficult times. Being able to express your feelings through art heals your soul. That’s why I’m becoming an Art Therapist. I also gained a lot of strength from my family and friends. I never thought I’d be able to say that, but I actually love my spots now. It upsets me whenever some of them fade. I changed my view, and now I feel like Art alive. Like a living canvas and God painted on me,” the artists pours her heart out.

When Annabell started her Instagram, she hesitated from uploaded pictures that showed her vitiligo. But, soon she got annoyed with that  fake perfection. Today, she has an increasing follower base on social media. Everyone loves her for being a free-spirited, creative force. No wonder, if she is seen as a true inspiration by many girls. “Some Vitiligo Beauties contacted me, asking how to cover up their spots. I always focus on telling them how beautiful they are and how important it is to accept yourself the way you are. I want us all to find that inner peace and love,” shares the artist who just finished four years of psychological treatment for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), which taught her to love herself unconditionally.

We wish Annabell all the best for the future and are honored to have her featured among all Vitiligo Crusaders. We wish her to remain the way she is – a beautiful, confident artist who considers vitiligo nothing, but a piece of art.

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