Accepting every bit of our bodies ain’t easy. But when we see someone like beauty blogger Ash Soto, who has vitiligo, a skin disease that lightens patches of the skin, publicly flaunt what her mama gave her, we can’t help but be inspired. We’re holding our own head a little higher already.
When Soto was 12 years old, doctors diagnosed her with the disease. “I remember my mom sitting there crying and I just sat there confused and scared. I didn’t know how much my life would change from that moment on,” Soto said in an interview with A Plus.
Shortly after that, the Florida native says she stopped wearing shorts, covering up her marks with pants and hiding under long-sleeved shirts. “I excluded myself from everything and everyone. I tried to be happy and smile, but over time I was filled with so much self-hatred for myself that I stopped doing the things I loved,” she said. “It was so bad, I couldn’t even look at people in the eye anymore.”
But now, at 21, Soto is learning to love and accept what makes her different. Using Instagram as a vehicle to spread her body positive message, the makeup artist is painting her skin like a canvas. The results are moving.
I accidentally deleted this picture while going through my feed, I’m actually so upset right now that I can’t recover it, but this was #markerchronicles part 2 🖊 remember it doesn’t matter what color you are, we’re all the same on the inside, we’re all equal. Don’t let your skin tone define you, it’s who you are on the inside that matters ✊🏻✊🏽✊🏿 Black, white, or whatever skin tone you may have we are ALL BEAUTIFUL 🌎
Exposing her skin in its natural state like this didn’t come easy. “It took me a long time to share my true self. I decided to post when I felt like I was strong enough and mentally able to handle the reaction, which ever way I was meant to receive it,” Soto told A Plus.
But the reaction from the Internet has been wildly supportive and full of praise. Many of Soto’s 85,000 followers pointed out that the outlines on her skin, which she traced around in paint, looked like a map. And so Soto has one painted onto her flesh, captioning the photo “the girl with the world painted on her body.”
Paint chronicles 🎨 It was fun being her canvas. Everyone is art, not everyone sees it but with time you will. Confidence doesn’t happen with a switch it takes time and you can get there if you just start believing it. Believe you are beautiful. Believe you’re worth it. Believe that those quirks that make you who you are is what makes you different. Remember to always stay #bodypositive 🦋
Soto is proof that the same things that make us different are often the same things that make us one of a kind.