"Come on, ask me what it is.” Tiffany Posteraro has tattooed herself to shut down body shamers.

Image: Supplied.

“I’ve heard people call me ‘dalmation’, ‘cow’, ‘ghost face’. I’ve been asked if I tanned under a tree. I’ve had reactions like ‘what the hell is that’ or ‘ewww’,” explains Tiffany Posteraro.

The 24 year old from Brooklyn has faced taunts like this her entire life. She suffers from “vitiligo”, a skin condition which causes white patches to develop on her body due to a lack of melanin (the pigment that gives our eyes, skin and hair their colour).

“The staring has always been the most uncomfortable situation for me. Or when people would whisper about it ‘behind my back’ but really they were right in front of me. It made me feel different, weird, and less than them,” she says.


She tattooed the phrase “It’s called Vitiligo” on her arm. Image: Supplied.


"I recently had someone move seats on the subway once they saw my spots. It made me embarrassed, sad, and ashamed. It's caused a great deal of insecurities for me, which I am still currently working out."

After spending years covering up her arms, legs, feet and face with “everything possible”, including “dark spray tans and industrial-strength foundation”, Posteraro decided she wouldn’t be shamed for her looks any longer.

She tattooed the phrase “It’s called Vitiligo” across a patch of splotched skin inside her left arm to give her the strength to accept her appearance and raise awareness for other sufferers. Yes, it’s beautiful.


"I was exhausted of having to hide my spots for the last 17 or so years. I really wanted to live my life without hiding myself but I wasn't sure how to do so because I was afraid of what people would say or think. Getting the tattoo meant putting a name to the condition," she told The Glow.

"It helps them to have a better understand of the condition." Image supplied.


"It is meant to be an open invitation for conversation. I hope people will ask, 'hey can you tell me more about vitiligo or your tattoo?'. And it has definitely changed the way people react to it. It helps them to have a better understanding of the condition."

While Posteraro’s tattoos are certainly spreading the word about vitiligo, she’s not alone in raising awareness.

Posteraro when she was younger. Image supplied.



Winnie Harlow, an America's Next Top Model 2014 contestant, has also used her profile to prove vitiligo is something to be celebrated, rather than ashamed of.


“I am happy with my skin, and I’m proud of my skin, which is why I wear it so boldly,” she told Complex magazine.

Posteraro cites Harlow as a "huge inspiration" as well as her fiance, who has been a big supporter. She also acknowledges that strangers have helped her to embrace her skin.

"I met a woman with vitiligo at Ikea and she told me 'I have vitiligo but vitiligo doesn't have me' and that made so much sense to me," she says. (Post continues after gallery.)

While the public are learning more about vitiligo, how it develops is a mystery that still remains.

According to the Vitiligo Association of Australia, the exact cause is unknown. However, it could be linked to autoimmune diseases (like an overactive thyroid), or diabetes, skin traumas or stresses and a family history of the condition.

One to two people out of every 100 are thought to suffer from the non-contagious condition, but they’re generally very healthy.

While learning to accept her condition for what it is has been difficult for Posteraro, she now wouldn’t change it.

Now she wouldn't change it. Image supplied.


“I believe I am a better person and a more empathetic person for having vitiligo. I don't look at someone and focus on their flaws. Flaws to one person are beautiful to another,” she told Daily Mail.

We couldn’t agree more.

How have you become confident in your own skin?