By Shannon Lane @Shannonroselane

An Aspiring Model Whose Vitiligo Is Slowly Fading Hopes That It Never Disappears

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Videographer / director: Marcus Hessenberg
Producer: Shannon Lane, Ruby Coote
Editor: Josh Halil

Bashir Aziz, from Tooting, London, was born with vitiligo, a skin disorder characterised by small, white patches on various parts of the body caused by the loss of natural pigment.

Growing up, Bashir’s body, face and head and even his hair was covered in white patches.

The 23-year-old told Barcroft TV: "My vitiligo is different because with everyone else they start off fully pigmented or fully with their color that they are supposed to have.

“In my case it’s different because I started off with vitiligo.

“On my skin itself, it’s affected down the middle - and my hair as well, it can affect your hair and some people don’t know that."

Since he was a child Bashir has gone to doctors and dermatologists to find a treatment for his vitiligo.

He said: “There were treatments that they gave me for vitiligo, I did go to dermatologists for a long time.

“One guy was like ‘because it’s quite extensive, why don’t you go all white?’

"Trying to tell me to change race, literally trying to tell me to change my identity. I’d rather - if anything - represent both races."

As there is no known cure for vitiligo, being different is all Bashir has ever known.

But over the years, the diversity activist noticed a change in his skin.

He explained: “I was born with vitiligo, like say 80 percent on my body, but now my skin pigments over the years just come back to life.

"So now it’s like 40 percent or 50 percent now.”

Bashir has received questions from his peers his entire life, from the good to the bad.

He said: “I receive all sorts of questions, like 'is it a burn?' 'Is it a birthmark?' 'What happened?' 'Is it skin cancer?' Some people just want to know, some people just literally just curious and I don’t blame them for that like, they just wanna know.”

But now that he is finally comfortable in his own skin, he wants to hold on to the one thing he once wanted to disappear.

He said: “I’m happy that basically it’s doing the work that it’s supposed to do biologically, but at the same time, I’m unhappy that I’m not special anymore.”

As a child, Bashir’s mum would often cover the white patch on his face with make up.

He said: “I did wear a lot of make up, and maybe I might have been too young to understand that maybe I am different. Maybe it was easier for my mum.

“Obviously I don’t know if it was for my sake or if it was for her sake but she just did it to make the staring less, to fit in to the crowd I guess.

“Less pressure on me and her maybe.”

Bashir now proudly flaunts the skin he is in, especially on social media - receiving many positive comments.

“When it comes to Instagram comments, I do get good ones and I do get bad ones. From ‘You literally look like artwork’ or ‘What colour is your private part?’" Bashir laughed.

“I was bullied for a bit. People would call me a cow, or zebra. All the name calling did have an affect on my confidence, just as bullying does.

“When I got older it affected me in loads of different ways; getting girlfriends, socialising, talking, opening up, just doing new activities that required me to show my skin.”

However as Bashir got older, he started to think differently about his appearance.

He said: “You have to be yourself, you have to love yourself. If you don’t love yourself, how the hell do you expect people to love you?

"If I were to continue with the attitude that I hate the fact that I’m alive, I hate the fact that I’m short, I hate the fact that I have two coloured skin, whatever that excuse may be - I would not be as happy as I am."

Bashir’s friend, Rudy, said: "I would say that what Bashir looked at once as a disadvantage in life, is going to end up being his biggest tool.”

As Bashir finally learns to love his vitiligo, he is hoping that it won’t change too drastically in the future.

Bashir added: “My final conclusion about it is that it just stays the way it is.

"I have a feeling in 10 years you’ll see a different pattern.

"Hopefully it’s still as nice as this one.”