Embracing My Beautiful Scars: Christine’s Journey With Vitiligo

IF you look closely at a tree, you will notice its knots and dead branches, just like our bodies. What we learn is that Beauty and imperfection goes together wonderfully,” said renowned American Actor and philanthropist, Matthew Fox in one of his famous Quotes.

By Michael Gwarisa

The above quote aptly sums how one 21-year-old Christine Tafadzwanashe Matyavira, a young Zimbabwean model from Mbizo, Kwekwe and a University of Zimbabwe Film, Radio and Television Production student has changed the course of her life by accepting her skin condition and using it to her advantage in the modeling industry.

Christine has a skin Condition called Vitiligo which is a disease that causes the loss of skin colour in blotches. Vitiligo occurs when pigment-producing cells die or stop functioning and this loss of skin colour can affect any part of the body, including the mouth, hair and eyes. It may be more noticeable in people with darker skin and treatment may improve the appearance of the skin but doesn’t cure the disease.

Having discovered her condition at the age of Seven when she was still in Primary School, Christine says it has taken her more than a decade to fully accept reality and embrace her unique beauty.

I discovered my Vitiligo at the age of Seven. I remember that day so well, we were in school and you know back then, pupils would we be requested to sweep classes at the end of the day every day.

“I was sweeping and this boy from my classes saw some marks on my knees and he started laughing at me saying I had applied floor polish on my skin. I was shocked. That was the first time I discovered that i had marks on my knees that I did not know about. I just thought maybe these marks were temporal and they had developed over time and they would vanish one day,” said Christine.

Because the Vitiligo spread to other parts of the body as she was growing up, Christine says she was a victim of bullying both in and out school it made feels  lonely and empty growing up. She at some point turned down numerous academic scholarships just for the fear of staying away from her family.

“The situation has been good and at times it has been bad. Starting from when I was young up to when I became a teenager, it was really bad. But now I think it’s been okay. Challenges I experienced growing up include bullying, being called all sorts names, being shunned and stigmatized and being excluded in so many things.”

She says growing up has not been easy especially during the early teenage years when as a girl she was starting to develop into a woman and have new feelings.

“High School was the worst. You know in high school people are busy making friends and you will be growing up and you are developing in many ways and as a girl you will be expecting to get attention from the opposite sex. In High School, this never happened to me and this made me feel invisible, ugly and terrible.

“I would blame myself a lot and to overcome these negative feelings, I would over eat and stress eat just to get over my emotions. I experienced a lot of stress. I am glad to say now that I have overcame the stress and it happened last year in 2020 when I started this whole modeling thing and being out there with other people my age. Through getting support from the outside world and with people telling me that I can do it, I have managed to gather confidence,” Christine said.

Christine has grown more confident and has fully evolved into a beautiful, energetic and vibrant model who is ready to conquer the world. Even though she says she became a model by accident, Christine says she is stopping at nothing.

“I never planned to be a model; I never saw my self as a model but last year in January 2020, I was approached by a certain lady on Facebook Messenger who asked me to feature on a photoshoot on her makeup brand. That was when I had my first photoshoot and those are the some of the pictures that posted on my social media and have received loads of reactions and messages from people from all around the world.”

She has done several photoshoots after the first one and she says she wants to inspire other girls out there living with her condition. Christine paid tribute to her family whom she says have always been her strongest support system since the day she discovered her Vitiligo condition.

“I have managed to stay positive because of my family, my family has been my support system. They have protected me and they even get angry at people who laugh at me more than I do. They really care and look out for me. My family has imparted that positive energy and fighting spirit in me and because of them, I know I can achieve anything in life.”

Christine now uses social media to raise awareness around Vitiligo and she says she wants to impact the world in a positive way and ensure that Stigma and Discrimination against people with Vitiligo come to end.






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