Alec King is from a small country town called Northamptonshire, where he has spent many years, growing up on a farm. Now, he lives in London and can’t imagine living anywhere else. This is the city that has given him a career in broadcast TV media and helped him outshine vitiligo with modeling.
Alec has walked the ramp in London Fashion Week, was featured in 2 BBC Features and has been the face of many billboards around the city. He continues to be featured in fashion magazines and has been signing many brand endorsement deals lately. The 20-year-old fashion model explains what brought him to London: “I was always very inspired by music and especially fashion films. Growing up, while other teens were buying FIFA packs, I was waiting for the newest editorials from magazines like ID and Highsnobiety. They were a place of belonging and motivation for me. I honestly feel that the art is why I have the confidence and strength to live my true self unapologetically.”
Alec noticed his first vitiligo patch nearly 14 years back. He was just 6 years old at that time. He recalls, “As I got vitiligo so young I had nothing else to compare it to. So, there was never that point really for Me as a before and after. It has always been a part of me. I definitely had struggles and some hardship, but I put that down to ignorance, not the fact of me having vitiligo itself.”
Alec feels now people understand vitiligo more, at least within his work circle. Earlier, he would often get questions like “is it contagious?” or “Will my child get this?”. But, was he the target of bullies for his appearance? We asked him. He replies, “I did experience bullying. But, it was the early years of secondary school. I came to a new school with no friends from the primary. I felt so left out initially, but as time evolved I think people just started giving me a chance and before I knew it I was a quite liked by my peers.”
Alec often receives messages and is frequently asked if he knows about any effective treatment. He always replies but makes it apparent that he has been out of the circle with “cures” and treatments. He rather suggests people to introspect: “If you are looking for a cure, look a little deeper and ask yourself why are you trying to change it. It for me? Or am I trying to change it because of societal pressures of beauty and “normality”? I think my final words would be to just embrace it.”
“Do you ever wish you didn’t have vitiligo?” We asked Alec. He answers, “If you asked me this 7 years ago, I would have jumped at it. But, now I would honestly be heartbroken if it ever disappeared. It’s the essence of me. It opened so many conversations for me to really reflect and grow. It also allowed me to engage with my heritage maybe more so than if I was a mixed race with “normal” skin. As I have been on this journey, the quick wit responses are now mixed with intellect and informative facts as I have grown and learned more. “
It’s great to see more people, including Alec, campaigning for inclusivity in different ways. But, does he think people with vitiligo are underrepresented in popular culture? “We can’t expect to be represented in every piece of media 24/7, but I think it’s important we have something especially for younger generations in books, so they don’t feel as isolated! Also, media representation is needed more, so by the point, youngsters get to say my age they have already found their identities.” Alec makes a point.
Alec really hopes to continue to work for body positivity. He feels there is no reason why one shouldn’t feel beautiful and confident in his or her own skin! Team Unite For Vitiligo wishes Alec all the best for his future endeavors.