Bullied for being an albino, now I'm a prize-winning model

Terrorised teen is crowned alternative beauty queen

Daily Mail, United Kingdom, 6/2/2014

A woman picked on for her extremely pale skin and hair has managed to overcome adversity and find success, and self-confidence, as a model.

Born with Albinism, a congenital disorder characterized by the complete or partial absence of pigment in the skin, hair and eyes, Sarah Wright was subjected to a horrific campaign of bullying at school.
Often being pelted with stones and drink cans by fellow students at school, Sarah’s self-esteem plummeted to an all-time low and it was only discovering – and winning - a national competition for alternative models that restored her faith in her own beauty.

Born albino, Sarah, 18, from Whitby, North Yorks not only had the snow white hair and skin characteristic of the condition, but was also almost blind due to her eyes being under developed.

‘People kept telling my mum I wouldn’t be able to do the things other kids could.  But she refused to listen and encouraged me to take part in all the normal childhood activities.’

As the years went by Sarah’s vision slowly improved and she didn’t give her looks much thought until she hit puberty at secondary school. That’s when she realised her looks were unusual.

‘Girls would sneer and ask why I was so pale as they changed for PE,’ she recalls.

Every day Sarah would carry the social stigma of being different.
She had chips spat at her as she walked into the school canteen and was even pelted with stones and empty drinks cans when she went into town.

Sarah was also a victim of cyber bullying.

Friends told her that unbeknown to her one of her tormentors had taken a picture of her on their mobile. They then posted it on Facebook with the caption ‘Freak’.

This sustained bullying continued for years leaving Sarah feeling ugly and worthless.

‘I didn’t feel like a person, only a condition. ‘My mother told me not to listen to them, that I looked striking and one day my chance to shine would come. But I didn’t believe her and covered my face by hiding behind my long hair.’ Then a friend showed her how to experiment with make up. ‘It made her feel like a different person and when I wore it my confidence increased.’

Sarah left school at 16 and started A-levels at college. With her hair cut into a bob and new found makeup skills the bullying subsided and a newly confident Sarah came across auditions to find the UK’s Alternative Model of the Year. Despite her nerves, and with her mother’s encouragement Sarah entered the competition. ‘When the day arrived (last September) I was petrified as I stepped out onto the stage at the Live Theatre in Newcastle.’

But Sarah’s misgivings were soon alleviated when a huge cheer erupted when she walked on in a black latex catsuit and full make up with her hair coaxed up into an outrageous style.

She went on to be crowned Alternative Model of the Year and be given a modelling contract. ‘Mum couldn’t stop hugging me.  ‘I told you you’re day to shine would come,’ she told me. ‘And I’m glad I’ve proved my bullies wrong. For years they made my life hell. But in a way they did me a favour because never in million years did I think I’d get to where I am today.

‘Now I know longer feel the need to hide, instead I’m proud of who I am.’