By Jessica Onah
19-year-old Chantelle Brown-Young from Toronto has a rare skin pigmentation disorder but this has not stopped her going for her dream of becoming America’s next top model.
Chantelle was diagnosed with vitiligo around the age of four but her natural beauty caught the attention of Tyra Banks who picked her to be one of 14 contestants for this summer’s round.
Vitiligo – the same disease Michael Jackson had, is a disease in which the pigment cells of the skin, melanocytes, are destroyed in certain areas, resulting in depigmented, or white, patches of skin in any location on the body.
Chantelle says she was nicknamed ‘zebra’ and ‘cow’ because of the white patches present on her face and body. However, she has become a ‘vitiligo spokesmodel’ has gone back to her high school to talk to students about the discrimination that she faced.
The exact cause of the condition is unknown, although most experts believe that it is an autoimmune condition in which the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys certain cells. It affects between 0.5per cent and one percent of the global population.
The reality TV series is now in its 21st cycle and will air this summer, featuring guys and girls.
Watch Chantelle’s America’s Next Top Model entry video here: