Ash – ‘Stay strong and continue to fight. You don’t know how beautiful and resilient you are”

We interviewed the beautiful, inspirational, self love warrior Ash Soto on learning unconditional self acceptance, body positivity and life with vitiligo. Ash has a huge social media following which she uses to inspire many all around the globe. 
First name: Ash Soto –
Also known as the girl with the world painted on her body.
Age: 22
Nationality: I’m Puerto Rican. 100% boricua!
Profession: I’m a social media body positive influencer who fights to inspire people every day. Every day I try to share my light and love with the world. I’m also a student at the moment, you’re looking at a future emergency technician.
What’s your favourite quote? 
My favorite quote has to be one I came up with on my own when I first revealed my vitiligo to the world. It was “they say your body is a canvas but I’m just painted differently.”
What does empowerment mean to you?
Empowerment to me means everything. It means learning to accept yourself regardless of what today’s standards of beauty are. To love every inch of you because it’s exactly how it’s supposed to be. A beautiful work of art. It’s to teach your mind to love and respect it, not only that, but be kind to yourself. Mental health is just as important and empowering yourself everyday is what is going to help you reach a level of self love you never thought possible, as long as you believe in yourself always.
What part of your body do you love the most? 
I don’t have a specific part of myself I love more than the other. I’ve taught myself to appreciate and embrace every single part of me. My perspective has changed so much since I was younger because I no longer let my condition determine how I’m going to live my life. I embrace my skin to the fullest. My outlook on life is much more positive and I see the world in such a different way – a way I never thought I’d come to see it. Vitiligo is the most beautiful thing in my eyes. It’s a representation of the struggles I’ve gone through and tells my story. It represents strength to me.
What is your favourite quality about your personality?
My favorite quality about myself has to be that I’m the most understanding person you will ever meet. I try to see the good in everyone and I take the time to listen and understand everyone. Even if it’s negative I try my best to look within and really try to see the person’s point of view. I’m also a very lively person. I’ve spent so much of my life hiding my self and becoming a shell of a person that I love to explore and experience life because we only live once and instead of hiding I choose happiness and that’s living a fuller life.
When you were growing up, can you remember becoming aware of what you looked like? Were you influenced by anything in particular?
Being diagnosed at such a young age, at the time I wasn’t really focused on how I looked. But as I started getting into my teenage years watching my vitiligo progress, being different caused me to reach the lowest confidence possible. To the point of hiding my self head to toe in long sleeves and leggings so I would be considered normal. It wasn’t until I started getting more mature mentally and I realized that I didn’t want to live this way and that’s when I started to see myself in a different light.
What insecurities have you over come that were previously holding you back? 
My vitiligo was always my main insecurity like I mentioned before being diagnosed at 12 I feel like that’s such a prime age where you start caring about the way you look. It’s stopped me from so many things. Experiencing life. I was basically a prisoner in my own body, that’s exactly how I felt.
Who do you look up to and why?
I look up to the people that share their stories with me on social media, the people who also fight everyday to reach self love. Those are the stories that I keep close to my heart and the strong beautiful people who share them with me.
What advice would you give to your 12 year old self?
I would tell myself that it will get better. You won’t always be in this dark place, you’ll see the light eventually. To stay strong and continue to fight because you don’t know how beautiful and resilient you are.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I love art. I love admiring it and creating beautiful works of arts as well. I’m also the biggest book worm you will ever meet. Books to me are like therapy, it takes me into a different world. I literally have more than 500 books downloaded on my phone.
What advice would you like to share with other women?
Don’t give up. Ever. I know that you might find your journey difficult but you have to go through bumps in the road to reach the gateway to self love. All those bumps are vital for your growth – to make you resilient and powerful where no one will ever be able to take your shine away. You got this. Remember that any quirk or insecurity that you dislike about yourself are what adds that extra sparkle to your already beautiful canvas. Keep filling it with vibrant colors.
Find Ash on Instagram @radiantbambi

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