Nikole: An Equal Opportunity For Self-love

“I live in Manta city, Ecuador. It’s very intimate, congenial, and warm here. It’s a fishing port so it’s known for the delicious food and beautiful beaches. A mix of traditional and liberal people live here, and as for beauty standards, there’s a great emphasis on height and healthy skin. Those are the two things that make you more physically attractive here. On the other hand, when it comes to attractiveness, race and size aren’t actually that much of a thing which is a huge advance. However, there are still many social stigmas that need to be eradicated. That’s part of the reason I got into the skin positivity movement. The skin positivity movement captivated me because it galvanizes others who have been labeled by a superficial society as defective. It gives people with acne the opportunity to pursue have self-esteem and self-acceptance.”

“Skin positivity promotes the honest skin of real people, and I love that sincerity because it creates alliances as well as a new world where people actually desire to show their reals forms. It fights for inclusion and for a space that is free from the beauty standards imposed by society. It even caused my own perspective of acne to change radically. Being misunderstood because of acne really affected my confidence because like anything, most of the time, people don’t understand what you’re going through until they’ve experienced it themselves. And, most people just believe the typical things that people say about acne: You don’t drink water. You have bad hygiene. You don’t exercise.”

Nicole leans her head into her shoulder and smiles sweetly.

“Through the skin positivity movement, I got back my confidence because it gave me a new story about acne to identify with, but this time the story actually had a positive meaning. It gave me networks to connect to people who share my experience, and along with psychotherapy, the movement helped to better remember my abilities. I am competent and capable with acne. I see now how mental health plays an important part during one’s skin journey so taking care of it is key. As for me, my journey with self-confidence has definitely been a long process with ups and downs. In the beginning, I lost confidence when I saw that my skin was changing and I also job opportunities because. I was just too anxious about how people would react to my skin reacted. Plus, I felt as if the interviewers would be classist, and likewise, count me out as someone from a lower social level just because of my acne.”

I told my family and friends about the interviews and my new skin, but they told me that I was still a valuable and extraordinary person. Ultimately, I’ve learned to be more compassionate, to be more empathetic with the rest of people, and to appreciate the small moments in life. "Throughout life, our egos will rise and fall in various circumstances, so you must learn to focus your energy on what is really important. You must try to forget the superficial scenarios imposed by society in order to live in the moment and dedicate your life to build the best version of yourself instead of always pleasing others. "

Nikole Andrade Tubay
Photographer and psychology student
Skinpositivity activist