The premiere of “America’s Next Top Model” on Monday came with a surprise, in the unique skin of 19-year-old Chantelle, a black aspiring model with a skin condition. As she comes to the stage, in front of the jury, she shows symmetrical white patches of skin that make not your typical supermodel.
“I found you”, Tyra told Chantelle. “I saw you on social media”, she continued. “I’ve actually never seen vitiligo that way. It’s like symmetrical fantasticness!”
The Toronto, Canada native shared her struggle growing up with a condition that is not fully understood, or accepted by society. Diagnosed at the age of four, she faced severe bullying while in school and she had to drop high school. Some of the parents at school, less educated, thought that their children could catch her disease.
Coming to this competition, Chantelle says she wants to help people see and accept unconventional beauty, whether that comes with a disability, a mark, or a scar.
But even though Tyra was impressed by the Chantelle’s “symmetrical fantasticness”, she wanted to clarify that the skin condition will not affect the jury’s decisions along the way. “If you get into this competition, I will not soft tread”. “I didn’t think you would”, Chantelle responded.