This dancer struggled to feel beautiful. Now she commands the spotlight.
True
L'Oreal Dermablend

Mariah wasn’t concerned at first when an unusual spot appeared on her finger.

"I didn’t even notice until it started on my face, around my nose," she explained.

But as it progressed, she was diagnosed with vitiligo, a condition that causes the loss of skin color across her body. It started when Mariah was just 13, and she’s had it ever since.


All images via Upworthy.

"I wasn’t happy when it started," she said. "I already didn’t think [I] was perfect or good enough. I didn’t have the confidence to be seen."

Being seen, though, is a big part of Mariah’s life. That’s because Mariah is a dancer, with aspirations to dance professionally.

"I was always worried that having the skin condition that I do, I wouldn’t make it as a dancer," she confessed.

"I didn’t want to be the girl with the skin condition ... I was worried that people weren’t going to watch me.”

Coping with the condition was difficult for Mariah at first. But that began to change for her when, while browsing the makeup counter at the mall, she was encouraged to try Dermablend. For the first time, Mariah could feel comfortable in her skin.

"[It] gave me the confidence to begin to pursue dancing like I did," she explained. "I wasn’t a dancer who’s dancing with vitiligo; I was one of the dancers."

Throwing herself into dance, she said, helped her confidence grow. Slowly stepping out of the background and into the spotlight, she was able to learn who she was and find her own happiness.

Through that process, something amazing happened. Instead of feeling like she had to wear makeup, she started deciding when she wanted to wear it and when she did not. It was her choice.

"It doesn’t define my beauty ... [vitiligo] actually adds to the uniqueness, and it adds something to the look," she said.

Defining beauty on her own terms, Mariah is now able to pursue her passions with confidence.

Check out her story below:

Dermablend Reflections: Mariah

Growing up, she worried that her skin condition would keep her from her dream of being a dancer.

Posted by Upworthy on Tuesday, November 14, 2017

"I always thought I deserved to be in the background," she admitted. "Now, I realize that I do deserve to have my spotlight."

Mariah has embraced that spotlight, using her journey and her art to encourage others to tap into their own inner beauty. She is unafraid to take center stage. She now has ambitions to dance alongside some of the biggest artists in mainstream music.

"I can confidently say that I feel beautiful with and without makeup," she said, "because I’ve learned that Mariah is a beautiful person."

Today she uses makeup to enhance her features and embrace what she loves about herself.  Now she wears make-up when she chooses to. Gone are the days when she would hide behind foundation: Now her journey is all about showing up in the world without apologies.

True

If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.

Keep Reading Show less
Images via Canva and Unsplash

If there's one thing that everyone can agree on, it's that being in a pandemic sucks.

However, we seem to be on different pages as to what sucks most about it. Many of us are struggling with being separated from our friends and loved ones for so long. Some of us have lost friends and family to the virus, while others are dealing with ongoing health effects of their own illness. Millions are struggling with job loss and financial stress due to businesses being closed. Parents are drowning, dealing with their kids' online schooling and lack of in-person social interactions on top of their own work logistics. Most of us hate wearing masks (even if we do so diligently), and the vast majority of us are just tired of having to think about and deal with everything the pandemic entails.

Much has been made of the mental health impact of the pandemic, which is a good thing. We need to have more open conversations about mental health in general, and with everything so upside down, it's more important now than ever. However, it feels like pandemic mental health conversations have been dominated by people who want to justify anti-lockdown arguments. "We can't let the cure be worse than the disease," people say. Kids' mental health is cited as a reason to open schools, the mental health challenges of financial despair as a reason to keep businesses open, and the mental health impact of social isolation as a reason to ditch social distancing measures.

It's not that those mental health challenges aren't real. They most definitely are. But when we focus exclusively on the mental health impact of lockdowns, we miss the fact that there are also significant mental health struggles on the other side of those arguments.

Keep Reading Show less
True

If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.

Keep Reading Show less
True
Gates Foundation

Once upon a time, a scientist named Dr. Andrew Wakefield published in the medical journal The Lancet that he had discovered a link between autism and vaccines.

After years of controversy and making parents mistrust vaccines, along with collecting $674,000 from lawyers who would benefit from suing vaccine makers, it was discovered he had made the whole thing up. The Lancet publicly apologized and reported that further investigation led to the discovery that he had fabricated everything.

Keep Reading Show less
via Budweiser

Budweiser beer, and its low-calorie counterpart, Bud Light, have created some of the most memorable Super Bowl commercials of the past 37 years.

There were the Clydesdales playing football and the poor lost puppy who found its way home because of the helpful horses. Then there were the funny frogs who repeated the brand name, "Bud," "Weis," "Er."

We can't forget the "Wassup?!" ad that premiered in December 1999, spawning the most obnoxious catchphrase of the new millennium.

Keep Reading Show less