Life is full of ups and downs, but when you have a chronic illness, it becomes even more challenging. Twenty-seven-year-old Celia Martinez, 27, from Guadix, Spain, knows this all too well. She suffers from psoriasis – a skin condition which has affected up to 90% of her body.
She was first diagnosed with the condition when she was 16 and red sores began to appear on her stomach. Over time, they began to spread, including to her face, and they grew more painful, something which caused her to feel very self-conscious about her appearance.
In the video below, Celia explains how the condition has affected her life:
Now, she has learned how to embrace her condition and is encouraging other people with psoriasis to do it too on Instagram where she proudly displays her skin, even during her worst flare-ups. Her confidence has seen the aspiring model amass over 100,000 followers on the app.
However, despite being incredibly popular online, the aspiring model has revealed that she’s been discriminated against in the modeling world, with casting agents refusing to book her for shoots because it would take a lot of work to edit her sores out of the final shots.
“In terms of my work as a model and in photo sessions, it’s true that sometimes they’ve even said, ‘Celia we can’t work with you because of your skin condition. You don’t have the requirements, you need to have perfect skin and it’s going to be a lot of work to edit it’,” she revealed.
Celia hasn’t just been hurt professionally by her condition either. She has consistently received cruel comments from other people, the most hurtful of which involve remarks that she looks “disgusting” and questioning about whether or not her condition is contagious.
Instead of letting this negativity destroy her, the brave 27-year-old wants to use it to further her career.
“When I’m in the street and people look at me badly, when they said horrible things, at that moment I said, ‘I’m going to be on top of this, I’m not going to let anyone humiliate me, or let anyone speak badly about me’,” she continued.
“I think that this has made me accept it even more and to cope with it better.”
Even though Celia has such a positive attitude now, she has had to come a long way to see her condition in this light.
When Celia was first diagnosed at the age of 16, she admitted that psoriasis made her feel “like a freak”.
It is worth noting that the majority of people affected by psoriasis only experience it on small parts of their skin. Sadly, Celia’s experience of the illness is particularly severe.
Speaking about what her first sore felt like, Celia said, “To give you an idea, it felt like a drop of oil had fallen on my skin and it had burnt me.”
“From there the marks kept getting bigger, it hurt more and got itchier. After two or three days it usually starts to bleed, it starts to dry out and of course, it starts feeling even more painful and even itchier.”
The exact cause of psoriasis is unknown, but there are a number of factors which can cause flare-ups including a person’s diet and anxiety.
“In the future, I hope and I believe that I’ll finally get the right treatment for me,” Celia said. “Of course it’s a disease that lasts forever, but if some of the symptoms that really make me feel bad can be reduced a bit, it will allow me to fully live the normal life that I want.”
“It’s gotten to a point where I really don’t care. It irritates me and it hurts but physically it’s not something that bothers me at all.”
“When my doctor said that this would be for life, I made a promise to myself that I would love myself more than ever.”
We hope that in going public about her story Celia encourages casting agencies to hire her as a model. All body types should be celebrated in the modeling industry and promoting her will help others suffering from the disease to embrace their skin the way Celia has.