BY NICOLAS FERNANDES
An accountant with a ‘port-wine stain’ covering more than half her face has found acceptance thanks to online birthmark buddies and now she never wants to get it removed.
Anne Antonelli, 43, of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA, shared her first professional photo shoot online in two-years-ago and ever since then she has had a big presence on various social media platforms.
The gene mutation, affecting one in 3,000, is caused by the formation of capillary blood vessels near the surface of the skin, leaving a permanent pink, red or purple stain.
In Anne’s case, her face, neck and chest are affected.
After receiving positive comments from other users and making friends who have the same birthmark, she started feeling comfortable showcasing the markings on a regular basis.
She soon began to love her birthmark, realizing that it makes it easier for her to identify which people are worth her time and which ones are not.
In addition, she believes she has been let go from jobs in the past due to her discolored skin and has learned to not be bothered by it anymore.
The accountant now feels confident about going out in pubic nearly every day.
Anne said: “I got a huge response from posting my pictures online and because of that response, I became aware that a lot of people actually have a port wine stain.
“I have so many more birthmark buddies now and it’s really fun. I didn’t have that when I was growing up.
“I would see someone with a port wine stain once in a while and I would just look at them because I didn’t know how to react. Now when I see someone else with one, I give them a high five.
“My birthmark tells me who is comfortable with me, who is not, who is worth my time and who is not. I never want to get rid of it.
“There are tons of people who spend months and even years in a bad friendship or relationship before seeing the person’s true colors. I can see them in five minutes. That is truly a gift.
“I’ve been giving and getting a lot from others by sharing my story and what I’ve gained from that is self-acceptance.
“It takes a lot of energy and self-esteem to go out in public, but now I’m at the point where I have more good days than bad.
“I’ve learned that other peoples’ reactions have nothing to do with me. I’ve had jobs as an adult where I can tell things are not right and it just tells me I don’t need to work there.”
Anne, who is currently single, is not at all bothered by the fact that she hasn’t fallen in love yet.
Referring to herself as a “strong female,” she says she is instead focusing her energy on her career goals and not paying much attention to men.
She said: “I still have goals and dreams that I’m more focused on at the moment. If I meet someone who is worth my effort, that may change.
“It’s not easy for anyone. If it were easy, we all would have met someone years ago. I know my worth and I refuse to settle.”
While laser surgery for removal is a thing of the past for Anne, she plans to start getting more treatments in order to maintain the birthmark.
She said: “I think it’s important to keep getting treatments for health reasons, but definitely not for removal. I love my birthmark.”