Yulianna Yussef has amassed a large following on Instagram, thanks to her unique birthmarks. She often writes to inspire her more than 69,000 followers with stories of acceptance and connection. But in a new post, she’s sharing some of the struggles that come along with her condition, like body hair and even melanoma.
Yussef was born with CMN, or congenital melanocytic nevus, a disorder that leaves much of her body covered in painful birth marks. Her Instagram following is built on a projection of beauty and confidence, but in her latest post, Yussef lets her fans into the darker side of her photos.
“On my social media feed I try to post fancy photos that showcase how confident I am about my birthmarks, self acceptance and how I’ve learned to live with my giant Nevus,” she wrote. “But I want to be honest with you and tell you a little bit more about how I actually physically feel and give you some more information about birthmarks.”
She goes on to detail the side effects of her birthmarks, like the body hair that makes her birthmark-covered back feel “fluffy” and the intense itching that even wakes her up at night.
“There is no solution besides growing up and learning how to control yourself,” she wrote. “It’s a part of our ‘difference’ and we should learn to live with this.”
Yussef has worked hard to accept her differences — her beautiful photos prove that she’s not shy about showing off her birthmarks — but she tells Yahoo Lifestyle that the journey to acceptance is a few steps forward, a few steps back.
“I’m tired of being bullied and hiding from people and from all these clothes that I wear at summer,” Yussef tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “I just asked myself why people react at me like that, and the answer was — they didn’t know what it is, some are just curious in a positive way, but lot of people think that I could infect them!”
When she was growing up, some parents didn’t want her to play with their children. Now, Yussef deals with stares in public. To combat the negative attention, she started a hashtag campaign called #perfectionofmyskin to show off her confident moments.
Yussef wants others to know that she’s “struggling every day” with acceptance: “I’m not a model, I want it to be clear,” she tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “But maybe I’m a role model for those who have CMN or another kind of differences.”
Read more from Yahoo Lifestyle:
- Biracial woman with red hair inspires conversation on identity and ‘otherness’
- Viola Davis won’t let her daughter dress up as a Disney princess unless she wears her natural hair
- This teen looks like Disney’s Esmeralda, and the internet can’t handle it