Man who was bullied for vitiligo is now a model who sees his skin as art07/06/2019
Growing up, Mahmoud Hassan was bullied for his vitiligo, a skin condition that caused patches of pale skin on his face and body.
At school he would be called ‘cow’ or ‘zebra’.
Now, at 25, he’s a model. Mahmoud has learned to love his skin, and views his patches as a work of art.
Mahmoud, from Helwan in Egypt, developed vitiligo when he was just 13. When he noticed the loss of pigment in his skin he found it difficult to deal with, worrying he would no longer fit in with his peers.
Mahmoud spent years trying to cover up his differences.
‘It was a really difficult time for me,’ he says. ‘I was embarrassed about it and did everything I could to hide it from my friends.
‘People around me at school and in public would shout ‘cow’ or ‘zebra’ at me because my condition causes light skin coloured patches around my body. I guess they think my skin looks the same as those animals.’
It took Mahmoud years to overcome his insecurities. Being given the opportunity to model made a huge change.
Now, he shares photos of his skin to inspire others to embrace what makes them different.
‘I now treat my body as if it’s a work of art,’ he explains. ‘Showing it to the public in a beautiful and creative way and stepping away from being that insecure ‘cow’.
‘I adore sports and I used to work as a sports advisor and parkour trainer for teenagers and now I’m a ski and snowboard instructor.
‘My vitiligo gave me the opportunity to become a fashion model and that has made me feel the strongest I have ever been before.
‘I want to use this to travel and spread the word that vitiligo is something beautiful, a piece of art and should be embraced.
‘Always be yourself. Truly express yourself from the inside you and you will be awesome from the outside. I believe that this is the secret to happiness.’
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