It’s that time of the year again when you look back, sometimes with wonder, sometimes with nostalgia and sometimes just shaking your head sheepishly at the mistakes committed and the regrets therein. But, for all vitiligo fighters, it’s also a time of the year when we look back at the moments that represented vitiligo in the positive light, paving way for a more inclusive world.
Mentioned below are some moments that made the vitiligo community feel included in the long-pending dialogue on inclusivity. Remember the moments mentioned here are not endorsed by any reliable opinion poll but are subjective and may differ based on your opinion.
1. Godavari Dutta wins Padma Shri
2019 kickstarted on a positive note. We saw a veteran Madhubani Painting artist with vitiligo being conferred with Padma Shri – India’s fourth-highest civilian honor. Godavari Dutta, 87, who is often referred to as the Grand Old Woman of Madhubani (also known as Mithila art) has universal vitiligo. Awarded for taking Madhubani art-form to unattainable heights, Godavari is probably the first person with vitiligo to be conferred with Padma Shri.
2. Primark hires a Teen Model with Vitiligo
This year, Primark decided to represent kids and teenagers with vitiligo in their advertising campaigns for its new ranges of active and casual wear. On our website, we have enlisted several brands that are using marketing as a tool to break down beauty barriers. This year Primark too made a bold statement by signing Kaiden Williams, a teen with vitiligo for its retail campaign.
3. Winnie Harlow re-created RuPaul’s Iconic Viva Glam Campaign
From gracing countless magazine covers to landing a spot as an SI Swimsuit 2019 rookie, it right to say that Winnie Harlow is not suffering from vitiligo but thriving with vitiligo. Another testament to it was Winnie’s face on the MAC Viva Glam 25 Campaign. The cosmetic giant celebrated 25 years of Viva Glam in April this year, with Winnie as their brand ambassador.
4. Santosh Kumar Gangwar scores Victory in 2019 Indian General Election
2019 also brought some good news for vitiligo’s representation in politics. As soon as India declared the result of the 2019 General Election, Santosh Kumar Gangwar was named Member of Parliament (MP) from the Bareilly Lok Sabha seat. With his latest win, the veteran politician with vitiligo was elected MP from his constituency for a record, eighth times.
5. Sri Lanka celebrates its first-ever World Vitiligo Day
All World Vitiligo Day (WVD) conferences across the globe got better media coverage this year. Among these, Sri Lanka’s WVD event stood out. In June 2019, Sri Lanka celebrated its first World Vitiligo Day. The event had its own logo, featuring Nadungamuwe Raja – one of the Asian elephants that often get vitiligo freckles around their trunks.
6. Ariana Grande’s music video Boyfriend normalizes vitiligo
The biggest development of August 2019 was Ariana Grande’s music video ‘Boyfriend’. This fun, sweet, yet naughty video was Ariana’s collaboration with the duo Social House (Mike/Mikey Foster and Scootie Anderson). The video fulfilled many vitiligo fighters’ wish to be represented in mainstream music videos.
The video represented vitiligo in a very different light. Interestingly, here the male protagonist (played by Mikey Foster) just happened to have vitiligo and was showcased as an object of desire. Well, that’s what we can call a ‘step forward’.
7. Lujain Salah – the first woman TV channel correspondent with vitiligo
The 2010s couldn’t end better than this. Lujain Salah, a social media influencer with vitiligo, made it as a correspondent on the Abu Dhabi TV channel. The Egyptian beauty first broke the news on her Instagram and thanked her followers, captioning – “You are part the main reason for my support and success because you believed in me and encouraged me.”