By Candice Fernandez
A young woman who was bullied for her pale ‘ghost-like’ skin has defied the spiteful comments to become a model.
Nontobeko Mbuyazi, 20, was born with albinism – resulting in very pale skin and visual impairment.
She claims she faces discrimination on her social media for her unusual looks and is often targeted by cyber bullies.
Although she is studying to be a Criminologist at University – Nontobeko has also been modelling, and frequently shares her images on social media.
Despite her self-confident captions and hashtags of being proud of her skin, people have tormented the 20-year-old, branding her a ‘ghost.’
However she is determined not to let any bullies bring her down, and wants other albino people to love themselves too.
Nontobeko said: “I am an albino and despite my differences, I have found the confidence to start modelling.
“People online tell me I look like a ghost online, asking where my eyebrows are, and why am I so pale.
“In real life I have never experienced that kind of bullying before, it’s only ever online.
“Cyber bullying has made me doubt myself at times, it’s made me question whether I am beautiful or not.
“But instead of bringing me down, it’s actually ended up doing the opposite.
“It’s made me stand up for myself and because of that, it has made me want to be a better person.
“Ironically, it has boosted my confidence. I think I am beautiful and my skin is beautiful.
“Many albinos out there are experiencing depression because of being discriminated against and bullied.
“I refuse to be one, I am the one that is proud of who I am.”
The criminology student lives in Durban, South Africa, but was born in small town Ladysmith.
Despite a torrent of online abuse being hurled her way on social media – she claims she has come out even stronger.
Having booked photoshoots and developed a presence on social media to express herself – the 20-year-old is now more confident than ever.
Nontobeko said: “People on social media who judge me need to know that albinism is not a disease, it is just a skin condition.
“Since I’ve started modelling, I think I get the jobs because of my pale skin.
“It doesn’t make me any different from anyone else.
“People that are rude to albinos just want to feel better about themselves by making us feel bad.
“A few months ago I was at the hospital with my other albino friend, and we were sat down together and giggling.
“Suddenly some people started calling us a different kind, and asked if we were some sort of other species.
“Other than that one instance at the hospital, I’ve actually been amazed at how nice people can be to me in real life.
“When I go out I can get kind compliments from strangers.
“I love the attention I get, especially from children.
“I think I have a very bubbly personality that people can’t help but fall in love with too.”
Although Nontobeko is proud to be an albino, she claims it was a struggle growing up as one because of the dangers she faced.
She was not allowed to play in the sun, as sun burn can cause albinos to have skin cancer and eye problems.
She added: “When I was growing up I wasn’t allowed to play in the sun with any of the children, which was extremely hard.
“I also had to wear a hat at all times and I hated it.
“I want all the albinos out there who feel like they are not good enough because of bullying, to know that they are beautiful.
“But they must not forget to keep themselves away from the sun as it can be very dangerous.
“I also have poor vision because of it, but I’m not going to dwell on the negatives. I am what I am, so I just want to continue life.
“I have many people ask to take photos with me, and I actually love that kind of attention, it makes me feel special.
“Albinos are beautiful and I want them all to know that, they can be whatever they want to be.”