In today’s world, we are all constantly reminded of our imperfections. Now, one Brazilian model is standing up against all of that.
Mariana Mendes, 24, was born with a birthmark that covers a large portion of her face. She was always told that her birthmark, called a congenital melanocytic nevus, was ugly.
Mendes is taking a different stance, though. She knows her birthmark makes her look different but prefers to see it as something that makes her unique, not ugly.
When she was only 5 years old, Mendes underwent laser surgery multiple times to reduce the appearance of her birthmark.
Her mother feared that she would be bullied but then, at age 6, Mendes decided she didn’t want the surgeries any more.
“My mom was worried,” Mendes told Brazilian newspaper O Globo. “She didn’t want me to suffer any bullying, but I don’t remember ever having any problems in school.
When I was 6, she asked me if I wanted to continue with the birthmark removal procedures that I did in Sao Paulo.
I told her no.” Instead of getting the birthmark removed, she chose to embrace it. She hopes her self-confidence will help others find their own.
“I feel more beautiful and totally different from other people because I have a nevus,” she told Metro UK.
“Having a nevus that is as large as mine is not common, so of course there are many people who stare and who don’t like it, but I don’t care.”
She frequently gets comments and questions but she chooses to look at that in a positive light, too.
“A lot of people ask me about my birthmark, sometimes they think it’s makeup or a tattoo but I don’t mind and explain it to them.”
Mendes receives a lot of negative comments but brushes them off with ease. “I’m proud of having a nevus, it’s a part of who I am and how I learned to like myself,” she said.
She also hopes to inspire other people with similar birthmarks. “I find living with a facial nevus very easy because I like it a lot and I want others to feel as confident as I do about their nevi,” she noted.
Mendes’ birthmark is not the only thing that makes her beautiful. Self-confidence is her best accessory!