Many of us are self-conscious about our skin and the way we look. And too many of us let that hold us back. But not Ash Soto.
Meet 21-year-old Ash Soto.
A post shared by Ash Soto (@radiantbambi) on Apr 9, 2016 at 11:14am PDT
At the age of 12, Ash Soto noticed a small spot on her neck. A few months later, another spot appeared. And then another. Soon after, they covered the majority of her body.
Soto was diagnosed with vitiligo, which causes patches of your skin to lose pigmentation. Now, Soto uses her body—and her condition—to create beautiful art.
In addition to the condition itself, Soto also had to deal with bullying.
Soto became especially self-conscious after a little girl asked her if she had “showered in bleach.” On other occasions, she was called “cow” and was told she “had Michael Jackson syndrome.”
“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,” Soto told the Daily Mail.
For years, she hid her condition beneath layers of clothing.
Soto explained to A Plus, “I remember looking at girls in magazines or on social media and I would be so jealous because they had perfect skin and I didn’t.”
But not anymore.
Using her body as a canvas, Soto turns herself into art, from maps to Van Gogh’s Starry Night.
The 21-year-old from Orlando, Florida calls the project “The Marker Chronicles.”
“When life gives you lemons what do you do?” Soto wrote on Instagram. “Make the best of it. No, I wasn’t born with it, I grew into it which was the hardest thing I’ve ever been through,” Soto explained. “But now I look back and I’m happy that I went through it because I wouldn’t be as strong as I am today.”
Soto wants others to “Be proud to wear YOU.”
Embracing her condition, Soto wrote on Instagram: “They say your body is a canvas, I’m just painted differently. Finally at a point in my life where I can say I love the skin I’m in. It’s a learning experience each day but I’m getting there.”
“The only person that has to accept you and love you is you.”