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Mariana Mendes, age 24, is from Brazil and was born with a birthmark that covers a large portion of her face. Despite that, she has recently modeled for a photo shoot that is beyond stunning. Her mission is to make a statement about what beauty really is.
The birthmark is called congenital melanocytic nevus and affects about 1 in 20,000 births in the world. An increased amount of pigment causes the birthmark, which occurs beneath the skin. Mendes underwent laser surgery at age 5 to lessen the appearance of her birthmark.
Now a stylist, Mendes says she’s proud of her differences and isn’t afraid to explain her birthmark to people who ask. Some have called her ugly, but Mendes doesn’t let that get her down.
Born with a Birthmark
Mariana Mendes was born with a large birthmark on her face, called a congenital melanocytic nevus.
At age 5, Mendes’ mother had her undergo laser surgery to prevent bullying as she got older, due to her birthmark.
Mendes says that the surgery didn’t have much of an effect on her birthmark.
Surprisingly, Mendes says she’s glad the surgery didn’t work.
Makes her Unique
“I feel more beautiful and totally different from other people because I have a nevus,” says Mendes.
“I have been told by a few people that it’s “ugly” or “strange”, but it doesn’t bother me,” she adds.
Part of her Body
Mendes says, “I don’t get upset if a person doesn’t like my nevus, to me it’s like any other part of my body.”
“I’m proud of having a nevus, it’s a part of who I am and how I learned to like myself,” Mendes shares.
“I will never be ashamed of my nevus and feel good having it,” declares Mendes.