After being born with what is known as a port wine stain on her chin, a New York girl has suffered severe bullying at every stage of life. However, after 40 different procedures and $15,000 spent trying to fight the massive birthmark, she’s developed into quite the beautiful young woman just 25 years later – but not for the reason you may think.
Celina Leroy, from Brooklyn, New York, has always had a red mark just underneath her mouth for as long as she can remember. In fact, the unique attribute since birth has been responsible for its fair share of misery as it virtually scared away any potential friends during her younger years.
“I’ve had some cruel comments over the years, when I was in school a girl told me I was pretty but because I had a birthmark I would never be popular,” she explained. According to Mail Online, Celina suffered from what is known as a port wine stain (PWS), a harmless red or purple mark caused by widened blood vessels underneath the skin.
Once she was old enough for makeup, Celina desperately began to try to cover it up – a habit she would maintain for many years. Her parents also began laser treatments for her at just age one to lighten the color of her birthmark, and she would eventually get two operations at age 17 to try to make her lips appear symmetrical, as seen in the picture at top of article on the right-hand side. In all, her procedures have cost a whopping $15,000 total.
Although her procedures were able to help a little bit, they never really got rid of the mark that had haunted her for so long. Making matters worse, Celina went to work as a model – an industry well known to be discriminatory of involuntary blemishes.
“I’ve never wanted to hide my port wine stain, but I felt like I had to, especially while working as an actress because I’ve only ever seen people with birthmarks portraying villains,” she would later explain. However, things have most recently taken quite the turn. As it turns out, Celina has actually come to terms with her birthmark and has decided to embrace her self-image in a positive way.
Now, she simply wants to empower others who may feel the way she used to about herself, and she’s since ditched the makeup to do it. “I’m hoping through modeling with my birthmark out I can show others that you can be beautiful and be yourself without needing to hide,” she said. “Now I want to be that role model and show others they have nothing to hide by being more open about my birthmark and celebrating having one.”
Even better yet, Celina states that since she’s become comfortable in her own skin and stripped away the makeup, she’s getting a lot more positive attention from men and women alike. Of course, the best part in all this comes as this beautiful woman has transitioned into exactly who she was meant to be – herself.
In the end, it only took this incredible woman 25 years to make a major emotional change that has left her unrecognizable from before. “Now I know I’m beautiful because of my birthmark,” she declared.
One can only imagine what Celina experienced growing up, but it’s nice to see that she’s using the lessons she’s learned through life to help others. This world can be an extremely cruel place at times, especially when it comes to beauty standards, but this world is a better place with people like Celina in it.