Roger Monter is a 37-year-old model based in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The special feature that makes him stand out in the crowd and has also caused major life challenges is vitiligo. It’s a rare skin disease that causes pigment loss, leaving large white patches all over the body.After the first white patch appeared on Roger’s skin at the age of 23, the world as he knew it shattered into pieces. It took a decade to accept who he really is and stop hiding behind makeup and avoiding any situation that would reveal his secret. He kept blaming himself for his skin condition after learning it can be aggravated by stress. Strangers avoided getting too close to him as they believed it was contagious, while others showered him in ill-mannered remarks about his appearance to the point that he couldn’t stand looking at himself in the mirror and was suffering from severe depression.

Only after he found genuine support in 2016 in a group of new friends he had met at the gym, he started to embrace his uniqueness. One day, he made a first step toward accepting his natural beauty and shared his raw photo on Instagram. No makeup. No filter. Inspired by the overwhelmingly positive and inspiring response, he continued to share his story on social media and eventually caught the attention of photographers who wanted to capture his out-of-the-ordinary appearance. Roger finally learned to love himself and ignore the negative comments.

But the true power of his influence on social media with 34.3k followers is the fact that by sharing his personal story of struggle and acceptance, he is able to help other people around the world to stand strong and embrace their true selves.

More info: Instagram

A 37-year-old model from Rio De Janeiro, Roger Monter, has a rare skin condition called vitiligo

Image credits: rogermon

Lack of melanin causes white patches to appear on his golden skin

Image credits: rogermon

Image credits: rogermon

As a child, Roger didn’t suffer from vitiligo; it only developed at the age of 23

Image credits: rogermon

He blamed himself every single day after discovering the condition can be caused by emotional stress

Image credits: rogermon

He thought his life was over and spiraled down into severe depression

Image credits: rogermon

During his darkest few years, he couldn’t look in the mirror and wouldn’t accept his condition

Image credits: rogermon

Image credits: rogermon

He used to cover his white patches with a thick layer of makeup to hide his condition from the world, avoid the beach and the gym

Image credits: rogermon

Strangers steered clear of Roger, thinking his vitiligo was contagious, or made hateful comments because of the way he looked

Image credits: rogermon

His life changed in 2016 when a group of new friends at the gym convinced Roger his skin is unique and beautiful

Image credits: rogermon

On January 14 of 2017, he posted his true face on Instagram and it was liberating: “This is me, no makeup, no filter. This is what I see when I wake up and before I go to sleep”

Image credits: rogermon

Image credits: rogermon

He received an overwhelmingly positive response from his friends and strangers

Image credits: rogermon

Image credits: rogermon

After finding out that his story inspired a boy to stop hiding his skin with makeup and helped another girl battling depression, he decided to post more pictures

Image credits: rogermon

Image credits: rogermon

With this new confidence, he continued posting photos on social media and soon caught the attention of photographers

Image credits: rogermon

Image credits: rogermon

Image credits: rogermon

Roger hopes that by sharing his story and photos, he will be able to help others to embrace their natural beauty

Image credits: rogermon

Image credits: rogermon