The awesome reason one girl went from hiding her 'flaw' to sharing it with millions.

When Julia was little, she had a small grey mark on the left side of her face. By the time she turned 13, it had spread across her forehead and cheek.

Since it didn't look like your average birthmark, it worried Julia and her parents, so they went to a doctor to make sure it wasn't cancerous. While the biopsies came back negative, the doctors didn't have a name for the discoloration on Julia's face.

Julia Hernandez. All photos via Dermablend.


So, like any young woman of today, she put a photo of herself on the internet, and someone with the same condition told her what it was. It's a birthmark called Nevus of Ota, which is simply a hyperpigmentation of the skin.

Unfortunately, however, learning her birthmark's name was only half the battle. Now she had to learn how to live with it.

Considering she was also entering her teen years, a time when kids are the most judgmental, that was easier said than done.

"When [people] see my birthmark, they ask me if I have a black eye, or if I got in a fight, or something," says Julia. "That just made me feel, like, not normal."

She tried various coverups to conceal it, but none really did the job.

After years of enduring regular taunts and jeers, she finally came upon a foundation that helped — Dermablend.

Julia applying Dermablend.

"I was so happy because I never thought I would find a makeup that would make my skin look even," Julia says.

Now that she had the choice to cover up her birthmark, Julia decided to take a huge risk and put her whole self out there for the world to see.

She began doing makeup tutorials on YouTube during which she'd expose her skin pigmentation to show people how one covers up a birthmark like hers.  

Showcasing this longstanding insecurity was not a decision Julia made lightly. She was incredibly nervous about what judgments might pop up in the comments. However, to her surprise, no such comments appeared.

Instead, Julia was flooded with messages of support and solidarity from people dealing with their own vulnerabilities. She even came across one girl with the same birthmark who was so grateful for the confidence Julia's makeup tutorials instilled in her.

But makeup isn't just about overcoming insecurities for Julia. It's also about exploring her artistic side.

"My face is like a canvas," Julia says. "I love to paint, so I get to be creative and create whatever look I want that day."

She doesn't feel like she has to cover up her birthmark all the time anymore, but when she does, it's more about showcasing her true self rather than trying to hide it. Dermablend gave her that choice, and with that came a huge dose of confidence.

"At the end of the day, it’s just a birthmark," Julia says. "It’s not who I am."

Check out Julia's whole story here:

Dermablend Reflections: Julia

After hiding her birthmark for years, she now feels comfortable just being able to be herself.

Posted by Upworthy on Wednesday, December 13, 2017
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Comedy legend Carol Burnett once said, "Giving birth is like taking your lower lip and forcing it over your head." She wasn't joking.

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Fortunately, that power can be used for good, and Disney can serve as an example to other companies if they learn from their mistakes, account for their misdeeds, and do the right thing going forward. Without getting too many hopes up, it appears that the entertainment giant may have actually done just that with the new Frozen II film.

According to NOW Toronto, the producers of Frozen II have entered into a contract with the Sámi people—the Indigenous people of the Scandinavian regions—to ensure that they portray the culture with respect.

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Though there was not a direct portrayal of the Sámi in the first Frozen movie, the choral chant that opens the film was inspired by an ancient Sámi vocal tradition. In addition, the clothing worn by Kristoff closely resembled what a Sámi reindeer herder would wear. The inclusion of these elements of Sámi culture with no context or acknowledgement sparked conversations about cultural appropriation and erasure on social media.

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Sámi leaders met with Disney producer Peter Del Vecho in September 2019.Sámediggi Sametinget/Flickr

The Sámi parliaments of Norway, Sweden and Finland, and the non-governmental Saami Council reached out to the filmmakers when they found out their culture would be highlighted in the film. They formed a Sámi expert advisory group, called Verddet, to assist filmmakers in with how to accurately and respectfully portray Sámi culture, history, and society.

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Disney agreed to work with the advisory group, to produce a version of Frozen II in one Sámi language, as well as to "pursue cross-learning opportunities" and "arrange for contributions back to the Sámi society."

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"Disney's team really wanted to make it right," said Utsi. "They didn't want to make any mistakes or hurt anybody. We felt that they took it seriously. And the film shows that. We in Verddet are truly proud of this collaboration."

Sounds like you've done well this time, Disney. Let's hope such cultural sensitivity and collaboration continues, and that other filmmakers and production companies will follow suit.

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