Many people think birthmarks are something to hide - they cover them up with make-up or have them surgically removed - but model Yulianna Yussef isn't like that and she proudly shows off her many birthmarks in the photos she posts. The Ukrainian-Lebanese beauty has birthmarks that cover much of her skin because of a rare condition called congenital melanocytic nevus (CMN). As a kid, no one wanted to hang out with her and she was a target for bullies. She told the Daily Mirror, "It wasn't only comments, parents of other children didn't let me play with their kids because they thought that I was contagious." Because of that, Yulianna spent her days inside so she wouldn't get teased, only going out in the dark of night.
Yulianna said, "I was a Dalmatian, a giraffe, a cow. I was dirty and people thought that if they spoke to me my birthmarks would jump at them." It was clear that many of the reactions came from people who didn't really know what CMN was. As she grew older, Yulianna realized she had nothing to hide, but she also had a lot to teach, so she started an Instagram page featuring photos of herself and her birthmarks, educating followers about her condition. Yulianna explained, “I understood that if they all knew maybe my life and lives of the other kids and adults with CMN would be much easier."
The 25-year-old stated, "I want to be happy, healthy, feel beautiful and confident and sexy in my own skin and I am now. But it’s been a long way to this.”
She clearly has many supporters, with over 100,000 people following the account.
Among the topics Yulianna has addressed on her page are how the birthmarks are "fluffy" and have hair on them, but they can also be very "itchy." She's also explained how her birthmarks are not treatable nor are they contagious or inherited.
Her condition does increase her chances of getting melanoma, something she thinks about often. Yulianna revealed, "Some days I wake up in fear spending hours checking each and every birthmark, looking for any changes in color, thickness, growing spectrum, because truth is I worry, of course I do."
Things are going well now for Yulianna. She recently posted, "My aim has always been to show you that yes you can live a sort of normal life no matter what the condition, despite all the struggles I have faced and still do face behind the scenes."
She also said, "I love my skin, I love my cellulite (yes I have), I love my stretch marks (have them as well ), I love my birthmarks. And Yes, I feel like a perfect angel with my ‘imperfection,’ And how about you?”
You can follow Yulianna here.