Albinism is a rare inherited life-long condition that occurs worldwide across all races and ethnic backgrounds. It results in decreased production of a pigment called melanin in the skin, hair, and eyes, resulting in light color or no color. Sadly, people with the condition are often seen as different and are stigmatized, especially in underdeveloped countries.
A girl with albinism was born in China some 16 years ago, and when her parents saw her snow white skin, they decided not to take her home. Sadly, the little one ended at an orphanage just days after she was born. This sounded horrible, and the staff at the orphanage, who named her Xueli, which stands for snow white and beautiful, felt sorry for her. However, little did they know that she would be adopted by a loving family from the Netherlands who would provide her with a beautiful life.
When she turned 11, Xueli was discovered by a famous Hong Kong photographer who asked her to be part of her campaign featuring different people, all beautiful in their own way.
“She called the campaign ‘perfect imperfections’ and asked if I wanted to join her fashion show in Hong Kong,” Xueli Abbing said in an interview with the BBC. “That was an amazing experience.”
In some parts of the world, it is believed that the bones of those with albinism have medical powers so it happens for some of these people to be disfigured and their fingers, arms, or legs to be cut off.
Knowing this, Xueli says she’s lucky she was only abandoned.
Once the photos of her were posted on the social media, a photographer from London took Xueli under her wing and helped her get on the cover of Vogue Italia magazine for its June 2019 issue.
“At the time, I didn’t know what an important magazine it was and it took me a while to realize why people got so excited about it,” this beauty recalled.
“There are still models who are like eight foot two and skinny but now people with disabilities or differences are featured more in the media and this is great – but it should be normal,” she said in the interview.
“Maybe because I cannot see everything properly I focus more on people’s voices and what they have to say,” she said in an interview. “So their inner beauty is more important to me.”
Xueli is doing all in her power to help raise awareness about the people with albinism.
“I want to use modeling to talk about albinism and say it’s a genetic disorder, it’s not a curse,” she says. “The way to talk about it is to say ‘a person with albinism’ because being ‘an albino’ sounds as if it defines who you are.
“I’m not going to accept that children are being murdered because of their albinism. I want to change the world,” she added.
We are so glad there are people as this 16-year-old beauty out there who teach us that it is the differences that make this world a beautifully colorful place.
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Love and Peace