A Saskatoon girl who was bullied for having a rare auto-immune disorder says she was “super inspired” by a Canadian supermodel to love the skin she’s in.
Like Winnie Harlow, Shayne Taylor, 11, has vitiligo — a condition that leaves parts of her skin without pigment.
It’s something that Shayne first noticed as a speck on her stomach, and at the age of five, she was diagnosed with the disorder.
Shayne’s mother, Denise Taylor, told Global News that doctors said that in the city, they hadn’t seen a case like the one her daughter developed.
“We had no idea what it was,” Denise said. “The doctor wrote it down on a piece of paper — this is what she has.”
Once the condition became more noticeable, Shayne became a target for bullies.
“People bullied me because I was different,” she said. “They called me names like cow and stuff.”
Her mother said that Shayne was “super embarrassed” to have vitiligo at first.
“Long sleeves everywhere, long pants everywhere she didn’t want people to look at her different,” Denise added.
A turning point for Shayne was seeing fellow Canadian, Winnie Harlow, and her success. The now 24-year-old supermodel from Toronto first made her appearance on “America’s Next Top Model,” and has quickly become one of the fashion industry’s biggest names. Just last week, she walked in Victoria’s Secret’s iconic runway show.
“[Shayne] went out and bought a bikini when she was 7, so that was huge that she wanted people to look at her now,” Denise said.
Shayne also found support online, eventually joining a Facebook group for kids with vitiligo. Some of those kids became Shayne’s pen pals.
In March, she also got to meet other kids with the condition in Boston for World Vitiligo Day.
Now, much like Harlow, Shayne has found self-acceptance and is using Instagram to help inspire others.
“It doesn’t matter if you are different or not,” she said. “I love the way that I am.”