At the age of 12, Ash Soto began to realize her skin was … changing. First, she found a small white spot on her neck.
It wasn’t long before more spots appeared on her elbows and arms, and they were spreading and getting bigger.
Ash was ultimately diagnosed with vitiligo, a skin condition that causes the loss of pigmentation over time, making sun exposure particularly dangerous. There is no cure for vitiligo.
The kids at school were ruthless about Ash’s condition. She says they treated her like she was contagious, called her names like “cow,” and even called her ethnicity into question.
Throughout her childhood, her circle of friends got smaller and smaller. Her peers “didn’t want to be friends with the weird girl with a skin condition,” she told Barcroft.
Making matters even more difficult was the fact Ash grew up in Florida, where the heat can be brutal. One day at a pool party, a group of kids asked her if she had “showered in bleach.”
From that day on, Ash refused to show her skin in public. Even in the summer she’d wear winter coats and wool hats. And when it came to social media, she’d post photos of only her face.
“I was a shell of the person that I used to be, I didn’t recognize myself anymore.”
Today, Ash is 24 years old — and one simple decision to reveal her skin on Instagram, as nervous and shaky as she was, changed everything.
Due to restrictions, this video cannot
be viewed in your region.