Youssef Elsafoury had his first encounter with vitiligo in his early teen years. He noticed his first white patch in 2012. Just like many vitiligans around the globe, Youssef too was bullied. He shares, “Yes, I was bullied a lot. But I overcame that struggle by changing my mindset. Once I stopped assuming everyone was staring at me, I accepted myself and became proud of my appearance. This change in mindset helped me have inner peace.”
Vitiligo is a misunderstood skin condition. While living this visual difference, we all have to face people’s assumptions who most often assume it to be painful and contagious. Perhaps, that’s why it took Youssef a while to feel comfortable in his own skin: “I am not going to lie and say it was easy. It took me a while to get my self-confidence back. After one point, I assumed that I would never be able to sing in front of an audience. But, once I got over those speculations, it got easier to be myself. Today, I am committed to my dream of becoming an international Egyptian music artist. I would like to be known as someone who did not care about his appearance.”
Youssef tried many medicines and treatments for vitiligo. However, all efforts to re-pigment failed. For now, he has given up on all treatments and has surrendered all self-doubts to God. He explains why “I love myself in my current form and see myself as a special one. I understand the importance of being chosen by God. So, I spend my time inspiring and educating others on this skin condition.”
It looks like Youssef’s life experiences with vitiligo have helped him explore a variety of emotions – sadness and joy and everything between them – something he says helps him understand music better. Youssef loves inspiring stories and draws inspiration from Egyptian celebrities such as Mohamed Salah or Tamer Hosni. One of his favorite books is The Secret. Youssef also adores the collection of books by Dr. Muhammad Taha, a well-known psychiatrist. In his free time, he enjoys watching sports movies that according to him teach an important lesson on success. An Indian musical film, Rockstar (2011), is also very close to Youssef’s heart.
Other than singing live for the audience, Youssef is currently studying music in his home city Alexandria. He has recently acted in some TV series and movies. He is also the subject of a ‘vitiligo awareness‘ documentary that will soon be available online.