Reham Soliman is a 34 years old Egyptian woman who is an advocate for vitiligo. She spent the last 10 years of her life in Dubai with her husband and 3 little kids. She has a bachelor’s degree in Law in which she practiced at one of the leading banks in Dubai. She resigned after her daughter was born in 2020. Now, she dedicates most of her time to her children and raises awareness regarding the numerous myths and misconceptions about Vitiligo and the concept of accepting others.
Soliman always knew that she was different. It started when she was 14 years old when spots started to appear on her neck. As a teenager, it was difficult for her to not let the looks of colleagues and people on the streets affect her. She expresses that feeling different is not always a good thing. The more spots began to spread, the more she became more distant from people, and her fear of facing society increased. Soon, she started to hide the spots with makeup. Soliman shares that she wasted so much energy every day hiding the spots, not to mention the struggles of finding the perfect foundation for her skin color. When she was pregnant with her 2nd child, Ryan, something switched in her, she felt like she could no longer deal with her life anymore. Putting on makeup every day became overwhelming for her and since then, she decided to stop putting makeup on her body and start to ignore the way that people looked and thought of her. It became so easy as each day went by, and ever since then her view on life has changed. She became more powerful and self-confident.
“There were days in the past when I had prayed and hoped for normal skin but now, I believe that God makes no mistake, he put me in this skin for a reason and no matter how we look or how different we may seem to other people, we are all unique and beautiful in our own special way, so embrace who you are and go out and be everything you were born to be. Real beauty lies within, and the fact is that nothing can defeat a woman who embraces her natural beauty and accepts herself for how unique she really is.”
At some point in her life, Soliman felt so isolated and a little depressed going through all the hardships she went through. Struggling to just get out of the house and deal with strangers commenting on her body was tough. Soliman has been through a lot in her journey to self acceptance, self love. However, with the unconditional love from her family and friends, she managed to survive it all. Soliman shares that her husband played a prominent role in her life. He accepted her for who she was and did not care about her skin. He was very understanding and supportive of all her choices, he stood by her side through all the hardship as she searched for and completed her treatments journey. Soliman further explains that her children made her more determined to want to be a real example in their life to coexist with people different from them. In parallel, she strives to be a role model helping those who are not self-confident with their bodies or appearance, to accept who they are. She hopes that telling her story and using her voice to raise awareness in societies will bring about the importance of acceptance and inclusion. Soliman eventually got to the conclusion that one must love themselves as they are, this was key.
“Once you can embrace your natural beauty; you will always be able to embrace the world around you and accept that you are perfect just the way you are.”
Another important factor that helped Soliman was the power of social media. She started to follow influencers who were raising awareness about vitiligo. Seeing that made her no longer feel alone in this world. They inspired her to accept her skin and love herself for who she is. Soliman expresses that she truly believes that if they can do it, she can do it too. She then decided to use all the negativity as a source of strength to do something amazing in this world despite being different. Soliman hopes that her sharing her story and experience will inspire those who suffer from the same condition as her or may have a lack of self-confidence because of their bodies, to have the confidence in themselves and their abilities, that they can do anything no matter what skin they’re in or what they look like.
“I was interested to be featured in Valiance Magazine because I found it to be a great platform where I can shed light on the struggles that I face in my daily life. Living with Vitiligo is very difficult and recently I took on a mission to be an example to those who are feeling shame with their bodies and don’t have enough VALIANCE to face it. I feel like this platform it’s the right place for me to share my voice and my story so people can know what life with Vitiligo is really like. I want to be the voice who amplifies the call for everyone to stand up for vitiligo.”
Follow more of Reham Soliman’s journey @reham.a.solimans