Islandista model with vitiligo Chantelle Brown-Young on America’s Next Top Model

She’s proudly Caribbean, repping her parents’ native island of Jamaica wherever she goes.

She’s a pretty darn proud Canadian and Toronto native too, as a glance at her Instagram account will show.

But perhaps most importantly, Chantelle Brown Young is a proud spokesperson for those who like her, are living with vitiligo.

The 20 year old Toronto model had a very hard time of it when she was younger, as her vitiligo started to show up from the age of about 4 with the first patch of depigmentation appearing on her stomach.

By her teens, the condition had affected a great deal of her body with the pale patches on her face, arms and legs attracting both stares and jeers.

But rather than withdraw from the world or even try to cover up her condition, Chantelle took the opposite tack, boldly embracing her condition and using it to her advantage by turning to modelling when she was about 16.

One of Chantelle Brown-Young's modelling shots. (photo via instagram)

One of Chantelle Brown-Young’s modelling shots. (photo via instagram)

She had been gaining attention and work, mostly in Canada in recent years when Tyra Banks’ people reached out to her to ask her to be a part of Cycle 21 of America’s Next Top Model.

Now her platform has become way larger with interviews in People Magazine and on tv shows like Access Hollywood Live and E News.

In every interview she has been a gem, talking frankly about the bullying and verbal abuse she endured at school because of her condition, which pushed her to drop out of high school and finish her GED at home.

Chantelle doing bad at Caribana 2014.

Chantelle doing bad at Caribana 2014.

But at the same time, Chantelle has never wallowed in victimhood and is instead insistently upbeat, confident and positive. She clearly takes her role as a self-appointed advocate for those with vitiligo very seriously and takes great joy in interacting with and encouraging fans with the condition.

“I get a lot of mixed feedback,” she told the National Post in Canada, adding:

“There are a lot of people who are very happy, very proud, and very surprised, of course, to see someone that has the same skin condition as them going after their dreams of modelling. I actually read a comment yesterday that said: ’I always wanted to be a model and I never thought it was possible with vitiligo.’ And I’m like: ’Hey, I remember when I thought the same thing.’ I’m happy I’m going for my dreams and showing people that they can go for theirs as well.”

 

2 comments for “Islandista model with vitiligo Chantelle Brown-Young on America’s Next Top Model

  1. August 24, 2014 at 5:13 pm

    My teen nephew has the same condition and I would share this with him as he is extra beautiful in my eyes. Continue to go after your dreams my dear. You are beautifully and wonderfully made.

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