Woman dubbed ‘Dalmatian’ and ‘cow’ due to rare skin condition becomes model
A British woman has been cruelly labelled a “Dalmatian” and told to “go back to the dog kennels” by trolls due to her rare skin condition.
But, she’s grown confident in her looks and now works as a model.
Baillie McGloin, from Manchester, who is also a dancer, developed vitiligo when she was just eight years old.
The condition causes sections of the skin to lose their pigment leaving behind stark white areas.
Supermodel, Winnie Harlow, from the US, is a well-known sufferer of vitiligo who also made a name for herself partly due to her uniquely patterned skin.
But when Baillie, 23, was growing up she found dealing with the skin condition difficult.
Baillie explained: "When I got my first patches on my hands and knees, my mum took me to the doctors and then I was referred to the hospital where I was offered radiation therapy but my mum declined at that time.
"I don't remember too much but I do remember when I was old enough to be allowed on the internet I was Googling how to get rid of it.
"The hardest part about having vitiligo was always the stares."
She continued: "If people ever got the opportunity to ask me questions, they would just be simple questions but they would have a negative tone to them and it would be ones like 'Oh, it's not contagious is it?' or 'What is that?' or 'Are you related to a cow?' That upset me.
"People would say, 'Go back to the pound you Dalmatian' and 'Your stomach looks like a pancake with bubbles.’”
She added: “The stares were the main thing though. It was one of the main reasons I would put foundation on my knees or wear jeans in the summer – especially because nobody knew what it was really back then. I just received confused and disgusted looks.
"The comments that affected me the most were the ones that attempted to be polite such as 'It's not that bad' or 'Put sunscreen on so you don't get more spots.’”
After leaving school, Baillie met more open-minded people.
She said: "I had a complete change in thought process when I just realised I don't have to be sorry for not looking normal, I wasn't offending anyone by having my knees showing.
"If people wanted to look at me disgusted, it would be something they would feel and I would be completely unaffected by the way another looks."
Now, Baillie works as a model and thinks that the fashion world has done well promoting awareness of vitiligo, but that there’s still a way to go.
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She commented: “Although the modelling and fashion industries are opening up now, it is still very hard to live with vitiligo and I would like anyone seeing it on the street to just not stare.
"Even if you're staring as a compliment, it causes a lot more damage than you would think.
"Comments made are always going to be both negative and positive, so you need to take both as what they are, opinions.
"People giving dirty looks will always happen especially outside of the western societies, the only thing you can do is understand that people would also stare at anything that isn't ordinary, it's ok and it lasts a second.
"Continuing to educate people is the way to tackle this issue.
"Once people know what vitiligo is, they're going to be less surprised by what they see."
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