Kerala's leucoderma model wants to break stigma, inspire others

·3-min read

(Eds: Minor edit in last para) Thiruvananthapuram, Nov 13 (PTI): With shapeless white patches on her face and body, Manju Kuttikrishnan may never ever satisfy the conventionalbeauty concepts of society.

But, this young Kerala woman is now a model inspiring many people, who are hesitant to come out of the shell of inferiority complex caused by their physical features.

Manju is a leucoderma model, considered to be the first woman in the country doing modelling with such a skin condition.

Leucoderma or Vitiligo is a skin disorder in which skin tends to lose its natural colour and white patches develop here and there over the body.

Celebrity make-up artist, Jaseena Kadavil, has featured Manju in a makeover photoshoot for her YouTube channel 'Catalyst Scholars' and did an inspiring video with an aim to break the stigma attached to persons having such skin condition, which has now become an instant hit in the cyber world.

From a girl, who had worried about the skin discoloration due to leucoderma, she has now grown to a personality to whom people with similar conditions are looking up for inspiration and a positive vibe.

'We cannot change and break the conventional concepts of society, especially those related to beauty, in a single day. But, change always happens through small steps. My attempt is such a small effort to break conventions,' Manju told P T I.

A journalist by profession, she said she was surprised when Jaseena had approached her through a friend to feature in her YouTube channel.

'My first reaction was why she chose me for the shoot.

But Jaseena's answer cleared all doubts. She said everyone has beauty in them and society should know about it. She also said if my photoshoot and story inspire any other person having similar condition, it would be a great step,' she said.

Jaseena has been featuring several ordinary women as models in her photoshoot series, which aims to break the conventional concepts of beauty.

In the photoshoot, a confident Manju can be seen in different attires-from colourful silk saree and pristine white wedding gown to western dress.

The 42-year old woman said her first ever photoshoot in life was never a tension for her.

But, society's attitude towards people with such skin conditions had upset her mind many times since childhood.

On the disorder, she said the white patch had first appeared beneath the eye in the shape of a butterfly wing, when she was just three years old.

Though a skin specialist later confirmed that it was leucoderma and there was no particular medicine for the condition, she did not know its seriousness at a young age.

However, when a teacher asked other students not to play with her as herdisease was contagious, it hurt little Manju's mind.

There were also many who used tomake fun, calling her a 'pandan dog' (dog having white spots) to viper (a snake variety), which used to force her detach herself from society at some stages.

But, the support of her father, Kuttikrishnan, who used to call her the most beautiful woman in the world, was always an inspiration, she said adding the journalist fraternity also has never shown any bias in the name of skin discoloration.

'This society isolates and excludes those who deviate from its conventional system. If you ask me what is the real beauty, I will say it is the calmness of mind,' the journalist-model said.

Manju also said the new photoshoot has made her more responsible and instilled fresh confidence in her.

'When many people call and text me saying that the photos and video have inspired them a lot, it makes me more responsible. I also feel, it is my duty to share the positive spirit in me with those who are lacking it and make them confident to face this society,' she added.PTI LGK SS PTI PTI PTI PTI