We’re all hiding something, aren’t we?
When we step into the office, we
hide the rain clouds hovering above our heads by bantering about the “lovely
weekend” we had with fake plastered smiles and forced chipper
We shell out our hard-earned cash for some gloop-in-a-bottle that “magically” hides our blemishes, scars,
We rummage through stores – on foot and
online – for clothes that hide our imperfections from the world.
We suppress our painful past by keeping
our lips locked while our secrets insidiously eat us alive.
But while all of us spend so much time and money hiding who we are, and stifling our true identities to
synthesize seamlessly into society, there are a select few who have
broken free from the mechanical, monotonous motion of the masses.
These are fearless individualists who have learned
how to transform their defects into dollars – their insecurities have become their income.
Take Winnie Harlow, for example. She’s
a breathtaking model known for her spectacularly symmetrical spots,
and she revolutionized the beauty industry by owning her
unique complexion. But rewind back to when she was a young
girl in school, and Harlow used to be bullied for her vitiligo. “The
bullying started in middle school,” Harlow
told Tyra during an audition of America’s Next Top Model, Cycle
21. “They were like ‘cow’ and ‘moo.’ I ended up dropping out
of high school because the bullying was that much.”
In an interview with Elle, Harlow details how she developed confidence from within:
“I [used to] feel like I had low-self esteem or I wasn’t the prettiest girl. But I realized that wasn’t really my opinion of myself, I was just paying attention to what other people were saying. I had to sit myself down and be like, ‘I actually don’t feel that way and whatever they say really isn’t relevant.'”
Had Harlow cowered under the biting words of others and doused herself with makeup, she wouldn’t be known as the standout, unique model she is today.
Harlow’s unique, patchy visage can be seen in
prestigious magazines such as Harper’s Baazar, and you can spot her
catwalking for distinguished brands such as Dior and Coach, according
And what about Ashley Graham? The
body-positive model disrupted the stick-thin model aesthetic with her
luscious, plush curves, but like Harlow, she didn’t
always have thick skin. She
used to tell herself, “You are so ugly, you are so fat, this is
disgusting,” according to an interview Graham had with Yahoo
Style. But Graham had a breakthrough and began changing how she
perceived her body. “I am beautiful, and I do have
a great body,” she began telling herself in a mirror.
has blessed many renowned fashion designers with her voluptuous
presence, including Dolce and Gabbana, Christian Siriano, and Michael
Kors. She was also the
first full-figured woman to grace the covers of Sports
Illustrated and Vogue.
She’s now poised to launch a
second wave of her
plus-size denim collection in collaboration with Marina
Rinaldi – cha-ching!
Had Graham drowned her figure in sweats, no one would have heard about her. Now think about it – what industry hasn’t heard about you and your awesomeness, as we speak, because you’re too busy hiding your flaws?
Harlow and Graham had to go through some serious
introspective personal development to become today’s confident models
who are rising into prominence, and their new-found courage has helped them
transform their so-called “defects” into dollars.
article, however, isn’t about Harlow and Graham. It’s about you.
are you hiding? What
is your allegorical“vitiligo”?
What is your metaphorical
“chubbiness” that you’re trying to shy away from the world? And how can you turn that insecurity into something
that you can embrace?
How can you turn your flaws into a career journey that will not only
deepen your pockets, but also make an positive impact on those who
share your same struggles?
I’ll tell you what I’ve been
hiding – my keloids. Keloids are unsightly clusters of overgrown
collagen that can disfigure one’s appearance. I’ve got three big
ones: my back shoulder, bikini line, and chest. I’ve also got small
ones on my jawline. They grew spontaneously onto my skin during my
tried all my life to hide them. I haven’t worn a V-neck t-shirt in a
decade, and I wouldn’t dare wear a swimsuit. I’ve spent thousands of
dollars trying to rid of them through surgery, laser procedures, and
nitrogen freezing, but all of my keloids grew back with a vengeance.
in depression, I began blogging about my keloids, and surprisingly, I
received a flood of “I know how you feel” responses from all over
the world. But here’s what really had my jaw dropping to the floor –
a UK-based TLC producer found my blog, and told me she’d like to
consider me for a TV series documenting people with hidden
conditions, and how they reveal their “secret afflictions” to
love interests in the dating world.
spent so many years trying to hide my skin imperfections, and the
minute I started opening up about them, opportunities started flying my way.
some apprehension, I eventually agreed to do the show. The TLC
producer said that while their monetary resources have depleted for
now, they plan to keep me in mind for future seasons.
what I want you to do, dear reader, is to start opening up about your own insecurities. “Live your
truth,” as many say. Launch a YouTube channel discussing the one
thing you’ve always tried to
hide. Start a blog and pour your heart out about an insecurity that
plagues your life. Go on Instagram, like Harlow, and proudly show off
your flaws (that is, by the way, how she got discovered by Tyra
world where everyone is trying to maintain an image of perfection,
you’ll develop a following of people who will breathe a sigh of
relief to finally see someone embracing their “sins” and
this sudden new wave of followers, the possibilities are
endless. Whether you’re embracing a unique part of your body or a
painful past, you can make an impressive imprint on the world –
touching people’s hearts along the way – while turning your defects