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So Inspiring! Nigerian Model Temilola Omobajesu shares her Story on Growing Up & Living with Vitiligo

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Temilola Omabajesu for Fabrique by Fabz Lookbook - Bellanaija - November2014012

There is a lot of stigmatization that  surrounds Vitiligo. The skin condition is caused by de-pigmentation of some parts of the skin and usually occurs when skin pigment cells die or are unable to function. This skin condition is rare with worldwide incidences averaging 1% with most people who are affected being diagnosed before the age of 40.

From being excluded from social activities to being branded ‘abnormal’, those who suffer from the condition often go through a lot to fit in and live life freely.

Aspiring Nigerian model, Temilola Omobajesu is one of those people who decided to be free.

Today, she shares her story on how she discovered she had Vitiligo, growing up with the condition, going into a modelling career and how she overcame the stigma.

***

It all started when I was in secondary school. I noticed one small itchy patch on my leg that gradually expanded little by little. Then I was a little younger and didn’t really know what it was. I thought it was just a phase that was going to pass but instead, it kept spreading and I didn’t know what to do about it.

Some months after, I noticed another patch like the one on my leg appearing on my face, then it became very scary. I became ashamed and timid about it and became a loner because people started avoiding me as if I had a contagious disease and I had to learn to do things on my own. I remember then I had to wear long socks and a big skirt to school to cover my legs, but unfortunately I couldn’t cover the one on my face, so I and my parents started visiting several hospitals for a cure. Some said the treatment wasn’t in Nigeria and others said I had to go to India. The stigma continued till I finally met with a Doctor with medication for about a year that helped get the patches on my face clear. He also used a particular type of soap and cream he made himself. I would rub them on my skin and sit in the sun for hours. Then I learned he passed away. When I found out that he had died, I felt my world had finally crumbled.

Temilola Omabajesu for Fabrique by Fabz Lookbook - Bellanaija - November2014015

My university days were tough, because I had to deal with people calling me all sort of names; “MaryAmaka” is one I won’t forget in a hurry which was given to me because of the way I dressed. Some even called my legs “Map of the world”. It took me 14 years to really accept Vitiligo. Most of my friends really encouraged me though some still laughed at me (there is always a Judas in every 12).

Vitiligo affected my modelling dreams and aspirations. Most Directors and Agents would tell me they couldn’t work with me. Some would even say it to my face that they need girls with beautiful skin not my patches.

Temilola Omabajesu for Fabrique by Fabz Lookbook - Bellanaija - November2014016

On May 30th 2014 my kid sister woke me up and showed me a write up about Winnie Hallow. I was shocked and said to myself if she could do this then I can do it better. Reluctantly I posted a picture of my legs on Instagram, and I was surprised at people’s comments. Even though I’ve had a lot of people talk to me about being confident in my skin, I didn’t heed to their advice, until that faithful day.

A friend of mine who happens to be a designer and had always wanted me to come out of my shell and show the world who I truly am told me she wanted to do a collection and she was dedicating it to Vitiligo. I immediately said I was down with it and started to do photo shoots portraying the parts where I had Vitiligo. And that was how she came up with “Viti-Dence” and here we are.

Temilola Omabajesu for Fabrique by Fabz Lookbook - Bellanaija - November2014012

Although some people who don’t know anything about it would see pictures of me and still say negative things like “if you don’t have a beautiful skin please don’t flaunt it“. The highest form of ignorance is when you reject something you don’t know anything about . I really hope this helps a lot of other people who have the same condition or similar to Vitiligo, to come out and be confident. #InOurSkinWeWin!!! The key is Confidence.

– Temilola Omobajesu.

***

The brain behind Viti-Dence, Ufuoma Erhaboh of Nigerian fashion label Fabrique Fabz said this about the inspiration for the project;

My reasons for raising awareness about Vitiligo was simply because I have seen and met quite a few people with this condition, and in this part of the world not a lot of people are aware about it. I witnessed people talking about it, like it’s a plague that is contagious and don’t want to have close contacts with them. And I know she has a lot of her personal experiences to share.

View the rest of the Viti Dence Images;

Temilola Omabajesu for Fabrique by Fabz Lookbook - Bellanaija - November2014002 Temilola Omabajesu for Fabrique by Fabz Lookbook - Bellanaija - November2014004 Temilola Omabajesu for Fabrique by Fabz Lookbook - Bellanaija - November2014008 Temilola Omabajesu for Fabrique by Fabz Lookbook - Bellanaija - November2014011 Temilola Omabajesu for Fabrique by Fabz Lookbook - Bellanaija - November2014010

Photo Credit
Photography: J Gates Visuals
Makeup: Looks by Daphne
Model: Temilola Omobajesu

 

 

 

Jennifer is the Beauty Editor & Style Representative of BellaNaija.com. Get in touch - Send an email to: beauty(at)bellanaija.com or style(at)bellanaija.com | Follow us on Instagram: @bellanaijabeauty OR @bellanaijastyle | Follow us on Twitter: @bellanaijastyle

30 Comments

  1. Anon

    November 12, 2014 at 2:05 pm

    Humbled.

    Interesting name – Omobajesu.

    • UberChick

      November 12, 2014 at 2:47 pm

      What does it mean?

  2. Juls

    November 12, 2014 at 2:46 pm

    Two thumbs up and more grace to you! I have had to deal with a skin condition this year that caused severe hypopigmentation and had doctors think it was vitiligo, though it wasn’t the physical and emotional turmoil was beyond real and during that period(though I am still dealing with it) I came to have a deep appreciation for different skin conditions and what people go through! So its no small feat to be open and comfortable with your skin when you suffer from any kind of condition. God bless you so much!

    • MT

      November 12, 2014 at 11:00 pm

      Child of King Jesus, I think.

  3. J

    November 12, 2014 at 3:22 pm

    Very deep and thought provoking

  4. Avuu

    November 12, 2014 at 3:44 pm

    Not nice to say…..we should help to keep hope alive. There’s got to be a source of inspiration for every burdened mind.
    May be she got hers from ANTM

  5. Bryt

    November 12, 2014 at 3:47 pm

    Go girl. We gat u covered…

  6. benny

    November 12, 2014 at 3:52 pm

    Beautiful you…

  7. vidaoca

    November 12, 2014 at 4:24 pm

    u r soo mean, watch wat u say to people bcos u r not perfect..wat if it was u haba.you really didnt hv to say anytin. Vitiligo is Vitiligo no matter were it is.. Temi go girl its well with you and your endeavours God will lift u higher even above pple who sit here to say its jus on ur leg… smh.

  8. Egboro Erezi

    November 12, 2014 at 4:31 pm

    Temilola,am proud of u frnd,it takes a whole lot of courage to accept who u are,especially wen u ar bein lukd down on,u ar a source of inspiration nt only to pple out dere living wit vitiligo bt to me as well,acceptance isn’t so easy bt it goes a long way,I admire ur confidence,d truth is we ar who we are,we can’t hide from our shadows,d earlier we accept who we are,we take all d power to make us feel bad abt ourselves…

  9. wayneviction

    November 12, 2014 at 5:21 pm

    Wow…am proud of ya Temi..buh I really dnt even kn wah u guys ar talking abt #theskin. Nothing is wrong with da fresh skin….

  10. Ekene

    November 12, 2014 at 5:39 pm

    @bruno How does telling your story to encourage people translate to playing the victim. If you dont have anything objective to say then don’t say anything at all. salute her bravery to pursue a career in modelling despite the odds.

  11. yemi

    November 12, 2014 at 6:18 pm

    When I read winne hallow story sometimes last yr was wen I knew dat no matter wat GOD has created u to b is off his perfect plan.

  12. Emilia

    November 12, 2014 at 6:55 pm

    I’m her proud friend *whistling* yeah me, right here. So proud of the designer. Her correct name is fabrique by Fabz. IG handle @fabriquebyfabz feel free to follow. Tnx

  13. Queenet

    November 12, 2014 at 7:29 pm

    Temi, U r one lady with a strong determination and vitiligo has only brought u to d realisation of ur true self. While in school hv always wondered why u were always in long socks n gown but ur coming out to flaunt ur skin showed me another beauty inside of u. Feeling real in your own skin in d best part in all. Am so proud of u gal. Am glad being ur friend. Ride on dear!!!!! The sky is ur starting point. Lots of Love!!!!

  14. PurpleiciousBabe

    November 12, 2014 at 7:52 pm

    Rock On BOO!
    At least you are making a move with your life(some perfect people are yet to make a start), VITI has nothing on you.
    More grease to your elbow dear. xxxx

  15. Yowome

    November 12, 2014 at 8:46 pm

    Very inspiring story. Wish you all the best with Gods grace

  16. brownchocolate

    November 12, 2014 at 9:47 pm

    This is what Asa meant by ‘Beautiful Imperfection’. If we focus on the things that matter the ones that don’t will just ‘fade’away. Keep your head high and fly girl. You’ll go places. Those patches on your skin are just what they are; patches. Vitiligo does not define who you are. As a christian I encourage you to wake up every morning and declare that you are vitiligo free. Miracles happen. They have for me.
    😉

  17. Shadie

    November 12, 2014 at 10:15 pm

    Fly awayTEMI God is the wind beneath your wings girl.

  18. solomon

    November 12, 2014 at 10:33 pm

    Temi,,i am really proud of u,u nev allow wat ever name of dat skin disease, 2 affect ur ambition in life..since I hav knw u I knw dat u are a child of destiny and as u hav keep up ur dream,d Almighty God will surly perfect His work in ur life and will surly fufilled purpose.

  19. GREEN.DIAMND

    November 12, 2014 at 10:37 pm

    I DIDNT READ THE SToRY BUT I FIND VITILIGo SEXY AND PS AM A GIRL I CURRENTLY HAVE A DP oF THE MoDEL WITH VITILIGo PRIoR To SEEING THIS AND SHE IS STUNNING AND So ARE YoU EMBRACE YoUR DIFFERENCE DEAR FLUNT THoSE LEGS AND MAKE PPL WISH THEY HAVE IT. IT MoRE DIFFICULT LIVING WITH SUCH CoNDITIoNS HERE AT HoME BUT WE ARE BECoMING MoRE EXPoSED THANK GoD!

  20. Demzy michael

    November 12, 2014 at 11:40 pm

    U are indeed a role model & inspiration to those who really can’t come out and be who they truly are.. don’t care or wanna know abt the vitiligo or whatever it’s called “u are simply a beautiful woman” love the fact that ur keeping it real and following ur dreams. Sky is just the starting point for u sweetheart. May the almighty move u from glory to glory, pain to fame and from a non entity to a famous celebrity.. go on girl #TeamTemi #TeamDemzy

  21. vheeki

    November 13, 2014 at 12:43 am

    Thank God, we’re moving forward! Soar-on temi.
    I see BN has started removing all doz vile comments, nice BN.

  22. Moi

    November 13, 2014 at 9:17 am

    God bless you, Temilola!

  23. sandy

    November 13, 2014 at 11:27 am

    Am so proud of my girl temilola…I still remember those days in sch u refuse to put on anything short bcos u re so ashamed of the viti on Ur skin. Thank God for this great deliverance upon ur life. May God lift u higher in Jesus name. Luv much xxxx

  24. Ifeyinwa

    November 14, 2014 at 3:46 pm

    No one knows better wath it’s like to be alienated because of how your skin looks like I do. I also have a skin condition which i have carried from birth and it is worse than vitiligo. i can count the number of friends i have in one hand. I am sooo inspired by your story. It is well with you

  25. Zee

    November 18, 2014 at 8:58 pm

    Wow, God bless you dear for your courage. Not every one knows how it feels to have a skin condition and have to bear with stares and questioning looks.

    The thing is, there will always be the people who see beyond that and see you, see your heart.
    May God continue to surround you with people like that and cover you with His love.

  26. Etta james smooth

    November 23, 2014 at 9:44 pm

    Temi thanks for coming out of the shadows,I know it has nt been easy for u bt thanks for having the courage.no more black long socks , big long skirts like in our secondary school days.pinky show the world that uve got wat it takes.pals for life

  27. Ogo

    December 8, 2014 at 8:31 am

    I am indeed so happy having her coming out of Nigeria and really flaunting and talking about her Vitiligo.
    More needed, in time we will get there talking Vit

  28. bi

    January 29, 2015 at 2:35 pm

    Beautiful lady… bless you!!!

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