KUALA LUMPUR: Suffering from vitiligo – which causes pale patches on the skin – has not stopped Siti Nuur Hidayu Muhammad, 33, from modelling and further breaking stereotypes.
Suffering from vitiligo, which causes the skin to lose colour or pigmentation, since she was 19, instead of wallowing in self-pity, she has turned her condition to her advantage.
Working as an assistant manager at a digital economy centre, she decided to use the glamorous field of modelling as a platform to create greater awareness of the disease among the public.
Often sharing her journey as a vitiligo patient through blogging and social media, Siti Nuur Hidayu, who has a Bachelor’s degree in Animal Science from Universiti Putra Malaysia, also wants to inspire people experiencing the same fate to not feel left out or insecure.
“True, it is not easy to face the negative perspective of society. In fact, I have been rejected by a number of people because of my condition, but that only strengthens my determination,” she told Bernama.
She said that due to lack of awareness, some are afraid to approach her because they think the disease is dangerous and contagious.
“Vitiligo is not a hereditary disease because no member of my family has it – instead, it is related to an autoimmune disorder.
“At first, I didn’t even know about it when I noticed a white spot on my hand after being injured by a machete.
“I thought it was normal, but over time the spots spread to other parts of my body,” she said.
Recalling her early involvement in modelling in 2018, the mother of two said that she never expected to venture into the glamorous field since she is a shy person.
She also said that she was a little awkward in front of the camera at the beginning. However, she managed to overcome it through the training given by her agency.
“I remember seeing an advertisement for models with special physical characteristics, so I tried my luck by filling out the form and didn’t expect to be called in for an audition,” she said.
Siti Nuur Hidayu can also be proud of herself for being selected as a stock photo model for iStock and Canva for the international market, and being the face of several local cosmetics campaigns.