Model who was called 'zebra' for his skin condition, doesn't want it to be cured

Model who was called 'zebra' for his skin condition, doesn't want it to be cured

Aziz struggled for a long time before he finally accepted himself.

British salesman-turned-model Bashir Aziz suffered from vitiligo -- an autoimmune disorder that leads to the formation of white patches all over the body, face, and hair -- as far as he can remember.

Aziz was born with vitiligo. (Picture: Barcroft Images)(Youtube/Barcroft Images)

But living with the condition wasn't easy in any way.

For Aziz, vitiligo is a blessing in disguise. (Instagram)

"Growing up with vitiligo has been challenging. As a child, I was so self-conscious when I was doing normal things, simply because people would stare at me. I used to wear a lot of caps, there was no way you could miss my hair walking down the street. I'd even wear a T-shirt to go swimming. It certainly damaged my confidence levels from a young age," Aziz told I-D Vice.

All his childhood, Aziz was bullied for his skin condition. (Instagram)

Born in Tooting, London, Aziz, 23, had a harrowing time growing up with the condition.

Aziz also used makeup to hide his skin patches. (Instagram)

“I was bullied for a bit. People would call me, like say, a ‘cow’ or a ‘zebra.’ It did have an impact on me, like all the name-calling because it would affect anybody’s confidence, just as bullying does,” Aziz divulged in an interview with Barcroft.

"The hardest part was dealing with anyone who seemed a bit close-minded, not knowing the difference between a burn or a birthmark for example. The only way I overcame that was by learning to accept myself," he explained further.

The 23-year-old is now proud of his skin.(Instagram)

All his life, Aziz tried to appear as "normal" as he could, with his mother even using make-up to camouflage the white patch on his face.

"I did wear a lot of makeup, and maybe I might have been too young to understand that maybe I am different. Maybe it was easier for my mum.Obviously, I don’t know if it was for my sake or if it was for her sake but she just did it to make the staring less, to fit into the crowd I guess," he stated.

All of his teenage years were spent visiting numerous doctors and dermatologists to find a cure for his condition as it had begun affecting his social life too.

He was born with skin covered almost fully with white patches.(Facebook)

However, as Aziz turned older, he experienced a radical shift of thought that made him think differently about his appearance. Slowly but surely did Aziz learn to accept his imperfections and embraced his standout features whole-heartedly.

Aziz regularly posts inspiring messages on his Instagram profile to accept yourself the way you are.(Instagram)

"As the years have gone by, I've just naturally learned to love my spots and patterns. I realized I'm actually blessed. Of course, people stare. But you'll never know if it's 'what's that?!' or 'I'm in love!'—which I can now smile about, either way," Aziz asserted.

Several social media users defined his symmetrical patches of pigmentation as "art in living form"— that even brought him attention from numerous modeling agencies across the globe, thus opening the gates of glamour and modeling for him.

“The man in the mirror is much happier, positive and sexier than he was five years ago. When you start accepting the things that may seem like imperfections, they turn out to be perfect in the end,” Aziz told Replay I blog.

"The fact that society nowadays is more understanding has given me a boost, to love myself more, to be confident and to showcase what's naturally beautiful out there in the world, amongst others. There's nothing to fear, if anything, the world becomes bigger and brighter once you just accept shit and do you," he stated further.

But soon, Aziz began to notice how his skin began returning to its normal colour—something he isn't too happy about now. His vitiligo, which covered almost 80% of his body at the time of his birth, has faded to almost half of that since he first noticed the gradual fading.

Today, Aziz models regularly and is content with his life.(Facebook)

"I was born with vitiligo, like say 80% on my body, but now my skin pigment is coming back to life. So now it affects like 40% or 50% of my body," he was quoted as saying by The Metro.

Now, as the vitiligo continues to fade, Bashir feels slightly disheartened but comforts himself with the knowledge that it’s just his body at work.

Aziz has featured in several modeling campaigns. (Facebook)

In the wake of his current reality, all he is trying to do now is holding on to his condition for as long as he can.

"I’m happy that basically, my body is doing the work that it’s supposed to do biologically, but at the same time, I’m unhappy that I’m not special anymore," he rued.

Aziz is now holding on to vitiligo till it lasts. (Youtube/Barcroft Images)

Vitiligo or not, Aziz isn't letting his skin condition affect his ego anymore and encourages others to keep loving themselves fiercely, no matter what may come and go.

"You have to be yourself, you have to love yourself. If you don’t love yourself, how the hell do you expect people to love you?," he captioned one image on Instagram.

Preach, Aziz.

Watch his story here:


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