In today’s world, we are all constantly reminded of our imperfections. Now, one Brazilian model is standing up against all of that.
Mariana Mendes, 24, was born with a birthmark that covers a large portion of her face. She was always told that her birthmark, called a congenital melanocytic nevus, was ugly.
Mendes is taking a different stance, though. She knows her birthmark makes her look different but prefers to see it as something that makes her unique, not ugly.
When she was only 5 years old, Mendes underwent laser surgery multiple times to reduce the appearance of her birthmark.
Her mother feared that she would be bullied but then, at age 6, Mendes decided she didn’t want the surgeries any more.
“My mom was worried,” Mendes told Brazilian newspaper O Globo. “She didn’t want me to suffer any bullying, but I don’t remember ever having any problems in school.
When I was 6, she asked me if I wanted to continue with the birthmark removal procedures that I did in Sao Paulo.
I told her no.” Instead of getting the birthmark removed, she chose to embrace it. She hopes her self-confidence will help others find their own.
“I feel more beautiful and totally different from other people because I have a nevus,” she told Metro UK.
“Having a nevus that is as large as mine is not common, so of course there are many people who stare and who don’t like it, but I don’t care.”