Like it or not, appearance matters in today’s society. And in the world of media, this is, even more, the case.
Having a different appearance can make it more difficult for an artist or journalist to achieve their dream and prove their worth in front of the cameras. Perhaps that’s why there are some who resort to “tricks” to achieve their dreams in life.
Lee Thomas is one of those people. But not everyone is aware of what the news anchor has to go through every single time he is scheduled to appear on camera.
When Lee Thomas first discovered the first white spots on his skin, he ran to see his mother. She told him that it was probably a symptom of stress.
But as time went by, the discoloration of his skin kept on.
One day, while Lee was getting his hair cut, his hairdresser pointed out that the spots were also on the back of his head. He soon realized the severity of his condition, and finally decided to visit a doctor.
Specialists examined his skin and delivered the verdict: Lee was suffering from vitiligo. At the time, he was just 25 years old.
The disease causes skin to lose its color and white spots to thus appear on various areas of the body. 65 million people worldwide suffer from viltigo. It’s not serious or fatal but those suffering from it are often psychologically affected as they see their appearance gradually changing.
“People were walking away from me in the elevators, children cried when they saw me, people just stared at me. It was like that all day and night,” he told TLC.
But his illness not only affected his personal life. It also made things very difficult at work. As a television presenter for the Fox 2 News, he knew that his image was very important.
But instead of dealing discouraged and ready to give up due to his skin disorder, he sought solutions. He resorted to heavy makeup.
“I wear it all over my face every time I get in front of the camera,” Lee tells TLC.
The result is impressive! It’s difficult to see that he is even wearing makeup.
Lee spent five years hiding his skin issue. Five long years of dedicating hours to applying make up so that neither colleagues nor television viewers discovered the truth, for fear of losing his job.
But with his disease advancing very quickly, Lee at last took the brave decision to reveal his true self, after five years of hiding it.
Now he talks openly about viltigo, often speaking openly at events and conferences. And every year, on World Vitiligo Day, he reveals himself before the camera without any makeup at all.
“I have come to the conclusion that this disease has made me the man I always wanted to be. I consider myself a respectful, honorable, compassionate person, a good father, brother and citizen, and I am more empathetic than I have ever imagined I could be,” he says.
Hopefully, the day will come soon when you can do your job without having to hide behind any makeup at all. We have to accept ourselves as we are and I hope that the world will do it too.
A huge applause for this incredible fighter!