By Alyssa Shapiro
We believe that all skin is normal.
We cast our latest campaign with this notion in mind, because Youth To The People is skincare for all. Featured here is the 23-year-old model Yvesmark Chery, whose vitiligo casts him apart from the rest. Through time, he and the industry have come to appreciate how special his skin condition is. Chery’s personal experience has shed valuable light on one lesson in particular: the life-changing power of perspective.
What do you stand for?
When a model portrays confidence, one can better feel the emotions and message being portrayed in a photo. I look at this modeling industry as a platform to tell my story. Being a male model with vitiligo, I can bring a new perspective. Through each photo that is captured, I plan to tell my story and send a message to others about confidence and accepting who you are.
Why do you feel it’s important to make your voice heard?
If you don't stand for something, then you stand for nothing. Silence is deadly.
Can you speak about your experience with vitiligo?
My experience with vitiligo has been a roller coaster ride. Growing up in an urban community was tough. I remember seeing the mixed expressions on people's faces. Some expressed disgust, and others, confusion. I experience the same with people, even to this day. The difference between then and now is that my mindset has completely changed: I love my vitiligo and I fully accept that it is a part of me.
Is there a moment in your memory when you changed your mind about what it means to have normal skin? Or realized how important it was to show people what it means to have normal skin? What happened then?
Growing up I always wanted to remove any traces of vitiligo on my face because I wanted to look "normal." I didn't mind my vitiligo appearing anywhere else on my body because it could be covered with clothes. Towards the end of my high school career, my definition of "normal" expanded as I attended college tours and met different people from across the nation. In these colleges tours, differences were highlighted and praised. Being in such a supportive environment, I realized that differences make each individual an individual. This was one of the many moments that led to the mindset I have today.
If you could get the world to change its collective mind about one issue, or adopt one way of being, what would it be and why?
I would get the world to be more open-minded. Perspective is a powerful tool that increases interpersonal connections and can help create unions. I believe if people are more open-minded, it would allow more opportunities to learn from one another and ultimately help us gain new perspectives.
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