Black woman, 42, with vitiligo reveals strangers ‘fixate on her like she’s an animal’

Black woman, 42, who has slowly been turning white for 17 years due to vitiligo says strangers ‘fixate’ on her like she’s an ‘animal’ – and her own community accuses her of bleaching her skin

  • Grandmother Iomikoe Johnson, 42, from Texas, now adores her ‘unique’ skin 
  • But this wasn’t always the case – with Iomikoe feeling suicidal when diagnosed
  • Iomikoe revealed that she is still ‘fixated on like she’s an animal’ by strangers 










A black woman with vitiligo has revealed the cruel taunts she receives online – including from her own community who accuse her of ‘bleaching’ her skin.

Iomikoe Johnson, 42, from Texas, now adores her ‘unique’ look, however this wasn’t always the case – with the grandmother feeling suicidal when first being diagnosed with the skin condition, aged 25.

And despite now thriving – with modelling opportunities being offered to the mother-of-four – Iomikoe revealed that she is still ‘fixated on like she’s an animal’ by strangers and branded a ‘Dalmatian or cow’ by online trolls. 

Keeping positive, the entrepreneur, whose body is 70 per cent covered with pigment-free patches, insisted: ‘People with this condition are the most unique people on the face of this earth. There’s no one else who looks like us.’

Iomikoe, pictured recently

Iomikoe Johnson, 42, from Texas, now adores her ‘unique’ skin (pictured right), however this wasn’t always the case – with the grandmother feeling suicidal when first being diagnosed with the skin condition, aged 25 (pictured left, before being diagnosed)

And despite now thriving - with modelling opportunities being offered to the mother-of-four - Iomikoe (pictured) revealed that she is still 'fixated on like she's an animal' by strangers, and branded a 'Dalmatian or cow' by online trolls

And despite now thriving – with modelling opportunities being offered to the mother-of-four – Iomikoe (pictured) revealed that she is still ‘fixated on like she’s an animal’ by strangers, and branded a ‘Dalmatian or cow’ by online trolls

She said: ‘Over the years, I have learnt to love and embrace my skin. But at the start, it made me feel depressed and suicidal as I had lived as a black lady for 25 years and then suddenly my skin colour began to change.

‘According to my dermatologist 70 per cent of my body is white. There are white parts I can’t reveal because that would be inappropriate. 

‘I have accepted that one day, my skin will be fully white and that is OK. It is other people who have a problem with it.’

Iomikoe first noticed two white pea sized spots on her body aged 25 and feared it may be cancer. She was then diagnosed with vitiligo, and told there was no cure.

The mother recalled how she has faced discrimination from people who believe she is ‘bleaching’ her skin.

Keeping positive, the entrepreneur (pictured), whose body is 70 per cent covered with pigment-free patches, insisted: 'People with this condition are the most unique people on the face of this earth. There's no one else who looks like us.'

Iomikoe, pictured

Keeping positive, the entrepreneur (pictured), whose body is 70 per cent covered with pigment-free patches, insisted: ‘People with this condition are the most unique people on the face of this earth. There’s no one else who looks like us.’

Iomikoe (pictured) first noticed two white pea sized spots on her body aged 25 and feared it may be cancer. She was then diagnosed with vitiligo, and told there was no cure

Iomikoe (pictured) first noticed two white pea sized spots on her body aged 25 and feared it may be cancer. She was then diagnosed with vitiligo, and told there was no cure

The mother (pictured) recalled how she has faced discrimination from people who believe she is 'bleaching' her skin

Iomikoe, pictured

The mother (pictured) recalled how she has faced discrimination from people who believe she is ‘bleaching’ her skin

She said: ‘At the start, I was scared about changing colour. I have been a dark skin lady my whole life and then suddenly my skin became white. It was scary.

‘There is nothing wrong with being white but that isn’t who I am. Every day, I am accused online of bleaching my skin and called names such as cow or Dalmatian.

‘Those comments don’t hurt me anymore, they used to. The black community haven’t really accepted me as they think I am bleaching my skin.

‘It hurts so bad when a comment comes from someone from my community – as a black person, they should know how it feels to be discriminated against.

But it isn't just negative backlash, the grandmother (pictured) receives positive feedback too and has even landed modelling opportunities

But it isn’t just negative backlash, the grandmother (pictured) receives positive feedback too and has even landed modelling opportunities

The mother-of-four pictured in her early twenties before her skin condition diagnosis, aged 25

The mother-of-four pictured in her early twenties before her skin condition diagnosis, aged 25

‘All races can suffer from vitiligo and it can happen at any point in your life but not just black people have vitiligo. It seems people fixate on me like I am an animal.’

But it isn’t just negative backlash, the grandmother receives positive feedback too and has even landed modelling opportunities.

She added: ‘My skin condition has slowed down tremendously since I first got it. But it has to run its complete course so eventually I will be white. There isn’t any medication to make it stop.

‘People with this condition are the most unique people on the face of this earth. There’s no one else who looks like us.’

WHAT IS VITILIGO?

Canadian fashion model Winnie Harlow is a known sufferer of vitiligo

Canadian fashion model Winnie Harlow is a known sufferer of vitiligo

Vitiligo is one of the most common autoimmune skin diseases and is caused by a lack of melanin, the pigment that gives skin its colour.

Late singer Michael Jackson always said he was blighted by a rare skin disease called vitiligo – but his claim is shrouded in controversy as many experts are adamant he wasn’t a sufferer.

Canadian fashion model Winnie Harlow is a known sufferer.

The body’s immune system attacks the pigment cells, mistaking them for foreign invaders.

This causes painless white patches on exposed areas such as the face and fingers, although they can also appear on the wrists, around the eyes, groin, armpits and inside the mouth.

The disease affects around one in 200 people, and about 50 per cent develop their first symptoms before the age of 20, though it’s not clear why.

However, ‘stressful’ events, such as childbirth, hormone changes or even cuts to the skin, may trigger it — there is also a genetic link.  

There is no cure, but some treatments can reverse pigment loss if used early enough.

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