Some time ago, I did a beauty editorial for Guardian Life Magazine. We wanted to capture raw beauty and visually depict how we are not different simply because our skin isn’t the same colour. Hence, the name ‘Essence‘.
When the pictures came out, I thought to myself “Wow. What an awesome opportunity to share some thoughts.”. So, here I am, ready to share some thoughts on what the word ‘essence’ means to me.
For as long as I remember, people have said things like “you’re pretty for an albino” and “you don’t act like other albinos” to me. I’m always very quick to tell them that they actually aren’t paying me a compliment. What they are assuming is that albinos are generally not pretty or supposed to be beautiful or act a certain kind of way because of the colour of our skin. You’d be surprised to learn there are people who think albinos can’t have sex, as well as being vampires who only venture out of their homes when the sun has set.
Thankfully I grew up in a semi-sheltered setting. Sheltered in the sense that I was blessed with a mother who went above and beyond to make sure I was properly cared for – physically and emotionally. Not so sheltered in the sense that I still had to deal with a lot of the things albinos deal with growing up. I got to play outside with people, even though my mum constantly warned me about “rough play”. Basically, I grew up knowing my albinism is not a limitation to any sort of life I want to live.
I am who I am because I choose to be. I decide where I go, when I go. I decide to be whatever I want to be when I want to be it. I embrace every experience life throws my way because I am emotionally capable. I laugh and I cry and I do not melt when I eat food that has salt. I stay grateful for the people see my true essence and embrace that, instead of limiting their minds to what someone with my skin should be able to achieve.
The idea of albinos being expected to act a certain kind of way is just ludicrous. We are first and foremost people. And, as people, we can do everything non-albino people can. This is why I started this section of the blog. So I can help people understand a little bit more about albinism and people living with albinism. Over time, I hope to have more people come on here and share their stories and themselves with all of us.
Male Model – Temitope
Pictures – Kene for H3Kenny
Makeup – Jumoke for Eyesome Beauty
Creative Direction – Chidera for House of ZETA