Ashley Soto, 21, may have vitiligo, but she isn't letting the bullies who once taunted her stop her from feeling beautiful.
Diagnosed at 12, the condition quickly spread across her body. And after being asked if she "showered in bleach" while at the beach, Soto became self-conscious and only wore long-sleeved shirts and pants afterwards.
"I was so shocked that someone said that to me that I cried and cried, I didn't want to have the condition any more," Soto shared with the Daily Mail on Monday. "It made me want to start hiding away from people and left me covering my skin, as I didn't want people to make fun of me."
But once she got to her late teens, the young woman knew it was time to begin her self-love journey.
Using her knack for art, the Florida resident began drawing on herself to help embrace, and eventually love, the skin she's in.
"I never realized how beautiful my vitiligo was until I traced it with a black marker, it really helps to bring out the different colours of my skin," she said. "I was always trying to find a way to look at my skin in a positive light, I couldn't do that before starting this. Now what others would perceive as an imperfection I have made into something more beautiful and made it more accepted than before."
From there, the student drew a world map on her body and even painted The Starry Night by Van Gogh.
And despite the mean comments she's received in the past, with more than 81,000 followers on Instagram alone, it seems as though many people look at Soto as a work of art as well.
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