Most of us were not very happy with the changes that took place in our teenage years—pimples, transforming body and whatnot. Though change is not bad in and of itself, it causes issues that are very hard to deal with when one’s a teen. It creates self-confidence, self-acceptance issues and a whole plethora of other problems. Most of us had these challenges when we were growing up; however, some had it worse than others.

Stephanie Yashimura was 14 at the time she spotted a white spot around her eye. It concerned her, so she went to a doctor. The doctor had some uncomfortable news: she was diagnosed with vitiligo, a skin condition which depletes melanin and causes the white spots to occur, and it’s very hard to reverse. And so began Stephanie’s unexpected journey of self-acceptance and body positivity.

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Meet Stephanie Yashimura, a girl from Rio De Janeiro with vitiligo who took up modeling to regain her self-confidence

Image credits: stephanieyashimura

She found a white spot around her eye when she was 14, and was soon diagnosed with vitiligo by a doctor

Image credits: stephanieyashimura

Image credits: stephanieyashimura

Vitiligo is a disease which causes a lack of pigment called melanin, which makes white patches appear on the skin

Image credits: stephanieyashimura

As a teenager, Stephanie was very self-conscious. She wore long-sleeved clothing to avoid drawing attention

Image credits: stephanieyashimura

She tried curing her vitiligo with all kinds of remedies, but to no avail

Image credits: stephanieyashimura

By 20, 80 percent of her skin had lost its pigment

Image credits: stephanieyashimura

Image credits: stephanieyashimura

At one point, she decided to fast-forward her vitiligo to complete the transition from one skin tone to another

Image credits: stephanieyashimura

“I underwent treatment to accelerate the disease and I went all white! Yes, I was dark and the stains were what was left of my birth color. I realized that it had been silly not to show me more with the stains, the way I really am.”

Image credits: stephanieyashimura

But she realized that she’d be erasing a part of her own identity, so she decided to keep her dark spots

Image credits: stephanieyashimura

In 2020, Stephanie was approached by a famous local makeup artist who invited her to a photoshoot. She reluctantly agreed

Image credits: stephanieyashimura

Image credits: stephanieyashimura

The positive encouragement gave her confidence and motivation to pursue modeling

Image credits: stephanieyashimura

Image credits: stephanieyashimura

Image credits: stephanieyashimura

She began posting pictures of herself online to help others suffering from vitiligo

Image credits: stephanieyashimura

“Today I am happy, secure, I feel beautiful and I want to be an example for those who are discovering vitiligo now to accept and be happy with themselves.”

Image credits: stephanieyashimura

She’s now very proud of who she is and is inspiring not only those who suffer from vitiligo, but from self-confidence issues in general

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Stephanie, who works as a radiology technician, is 28 years old now, and it’s been 14 years ever since her diagnosis. She’s a completely different person now compared to then, but not because of her looks only. She managed to positively change the way she perceives herself and her condition, and took up modeling to encourage others who struggle with similar issues.

Image credits: stephanieyashimura

Stephanie changed her life around from shying away to showing off her unique looks

Image credits: stephanieyashimura

Image credits: stephanieyashimura