My name’s Denisa and I’m from France. I am 14 years old. I wanted to write you an email to tell you that I have the same “problem” with my skin. I’ve searched for two years for the name of my skin disease and one week ago I finally found it on your blog. I asked a lot of doctors in Paris what’s going on with my skin and no one knew. Sometimes I do like you and I draw some flowers or stars or hearts or names on my skin and when my friends see what’s happening with my skin they are scared, haha. But I have a question, how and what can I do to not have this skin “problem” anymore. The doctors here don’t know and I really wanna be a “normal” person and don’t have this “problem” anymore. You may have a lot of emails but it’s very important, if you could answer me I’ll be really happy. Thanks for reading.
I got this email from Denisa a couple weeks ago. I shared my knowledge of managing dermatographia symptoms (which I wrote about previously on SkinTome), and we got to know each other a little bit. Turns out Denisa is an aspiring model. She shared some of the gorgeous photos from her modelling portfolio along with photographs of her skin.
Denisa expressed to me that she prefers to keep her dermatographia hidden from people at photo shoots. But I think it could actually be a great thing to bring on set. There are so many aspiring models out there, by setting yourself apart and showing off your uniqueness, you could become even more memorable. And with so many ‘normal’ people out there, why not be yourself, even if that makes you appear ‘abnormal’?
By embracing your supposed flaws and sharing them with those around you, you become a role model for self-acceptance. You can spread the word about dermatographia while showing off what makes you unique. It forms community, and others feel like they can open up to you in return for your openness. I have experienced this firsthand since I started making photographs of my dermatographic skin. It’s been amazing, and so rewarding! I’ve gotten to know awesome people like Denisa from all over the world. Maybe some people think I’m weird because of my skin, but that has nothing to do with me!
So, maybe bringing up the cool thing your skin does that makes you ‘abnormal’ could actually help you become a successful model? It’s worth a shot ;’)
Here’s the interview I did with Denisa:
Ariana Page Russell (APR): Please tell me a little bit about yourself, where do you live, what do you do, etc.?
Denisa Ardelean (DA): My name’s Denisa, I’m 14 and I live in Paris. I’m doing some photoshoots because I wanna be a model. I have holidays because it’s summer and I’m in Romania… And I take a lot of photos, haha. I love taking photos :’) I can’t live without my phone, ok, that’s a little bit weird… lol. I really wanna meet someone with dermatographia.
(APR): Well, now you know someone–me! ;’) How long have you had dermatographia?
(DA): I have had dermatographia for 2 or 3years, I think…
(APR): How did you find out you have it?
(DA): I was at gym and then I scratched myself and I saw something weird… it had inflated. I thought I hurt myself or something like that but every time I scratched myself the same thing happened. I went to the doctor and he told me he didn’t know what is happening to me. A few months ago I found your blog and now I finally know what is happening to me, haha. I went to a lot of doctors in Paris and no one knew what’s happening to me :’)
(APR): Wow! Well, I’m glad you found SkinTome–welcome! Do most people know you have it?
(DA): Yes. My whole family knows I have it and most of my friends know too.
(APR): What are your symptoms?
(DA): When I scratch or hurt myself my skin swells. And it deflates after 10 or 15minutes.
(APR): How do you treat your symptoms (take antihistamines, or something else)?
(DA): I don’t do anything… But I think I’ll try coconut oil.
(APR): Coconut oil is magic–I love it! What do you think about your skin? Do you find it annoying, cool, weird…?
(DA): Sometimes it’s cool and funny because I can write my friend’s name on my skin (like I wrote my name on the photos I sent you). But sometimes it’s annoying because when I hurt myself or something hurts my skin it swells. Sometimes it swells on my face and it’s really ugly. Every time I meet a new person I take care to not hurt myself and don’t scratch myself because I don’t want my skin to swell. I’m embarrassed, perplexed.
(APR): Yeah, getting a scratch on your face is the worst! Sometimes people think I have a black eye and I have to explain that it’s just a skin condition. What do other people think about it?
(DA): My best friend thinks it’s funny. Some people think it’s funny like my best friend but other people think it’s weird… I mean they’ve never seen it before. My cousins are always like “Please write my name on your skin!” or “No please write mine! please, please”. My cousins love my skin “problem”, lol.
(APR): That’s cool your cousins like it so much! It’s good to have fun with dermatographia, if you can. What do you love about your skin?
(DA): The fact that when I wanna make someone laugh and I don’t know what to say I just have to write “Hi” on my skin and then this “someone” laughs or when I wanna apologize I just have to write “sorry” on my skin :’)
(APR): That’s a great idea! I’ll have to try it. Has your skin inspired you?
(DA): A little bit, I mean… Sometimes I make drawings on my skin… And I decided to put some photos of my skin “problem” on my instagram (@osnapitzpalvin) and maybe I’ll find someone like me, I mean with dermatographia to talk with 🙂
(APR): You’re always welcome to talk with me about it! Thanks so much for sharing your story Denisa, and please keep in touch. I’d like to know how your modelling career goes!
All images courtesy of Denisa Ardelean