Fitness model Ninu Galot promotes self-love, championing the cause of spreading awareness about vitiligo
Redefining the conventional standards of beauty, fitness model and entrepreneur Ninu Galot believes in being ‘happy in your own skin’. Galot, who suffered from vitiligo for 15 odd years and who is spreading awareness about the skin condition to fight the stigma with Ninu Galot Foundation, opens up about her challenges, why one should not suffer in silence and more. Excerpts:
Q) World Vitiligo Day was on June 25. What is your message to those having this skin condition?
One must be positive in life. So, whatever makes you stand out, makes you unique. Vitiligo can occur because of stress. From my experience and that of countless others, I believe we must do something to stop people suffering in silence.
Q) What motivated you to embrace your body with vitiligo?
I decided I had to change my outlook towards the skin condition. I turned to health and fitness to make myself physically and mentally stronger. I’m a strong believer of self-love and I believe that happiness is attained when you start accepting yourself the way you are. I want to be remembered for having brought about a change in society and walking down the road less travelled, by addressing the cause. I'm happy and smiling as I've set myself free by being open about it. I've learnt to accept my flaws and realised it's my trademark; a fashion statement that can't be bought in Harrods. It is not about blending in, but standing out.
Q) How challenging was the journey?
The battle was more internal as I found it hard to accept. It was hard when people asked me about it. I used to be embarrassed. It all started when I was 11 years old and I developed my first patch of vitiligo behind my neck. This patch remained there through my school and university days. Fortunately, since it was behind my neck and I had bob cut hairstyle, no one saw it. It was when I left university that I had a sudden outburst of vitiligo in other parts of my body.
Q) Why did you decide to get into fitness competition?
Entering a fitness competition in London was the best thing I ever did. Honestly speaking, I did it for fun. When I was on stage, I embraced my vitiligo and flaunted it like an asset. I finally felt free and the vitiligo no longer had any hold over me. It was then that I decided to speak about my challenges and help others in the process.
Q) Is the outlook towards Vitiligo different in India compared to the West?
Yes, in India it’s very different from the west. When I spoke about vitiligo in the media about a year back, I received immense love. People who had been suffering from vitiligo loved that finally, somebody was speaking about it. Many people messaged me on Instagram and told me about the stigma attached to Vitiligo in India. People in India still believe it’s contagious. Society treats people with it as outcasts.
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