This dancer struggled to feel beautiful. Now she commands the spotlight.
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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.

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."

A young boy tried to grab the Pope's skull cap

A boy of about 10-years-old with a mental disability stole the show at Pope Francis' weekly general audience on Wednesday at the Vatican auditorium. In front of an audience of thousands the boy walked past security and onto the stage while priests delivered prayers and introductory speeches.

The boy, later identified as Paolo, Jr., greeted the pope by shaking his hand and when it was clear that he had no intention of leaving, the pontiff asked Monsignor Leonardo Sapienza, the head of protocol, to let the boy borrow his chair.

The boy's activity on the stage was clearly a breach of Vatican protocol but Pope Francis didn't seem to be bothered one bit. He looked at the child with a sense of joy and wasn't even disturbed when he repeatedly motioned that he wanted to remove his skull cap.

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