Cape Flats model Chad Esau, 21, is in the running to becoming the next Mr South Africa despite years of bullying and being labeled “ugly” because of a skin condition.
Esau who has vitiligo says the rare skin disorder attracted the wrong attention for him when he was growing up.
“Growing up with vitiligo was really tough, especially as a teenager,” Esau says.
“I was bullied, with kids calling me ugly everywhere I went. I remember in Grade 1, coming from school crying to my mom, saying I don’t want to go back to school.”
Vitiligo is a skin condition that causes loss of skin colour, often forming blotches around different areas of the body.
In Esau’s case the condition affected most of his upper body and his face.
Esau says he used to isolate himself and never took part in sporting or class activities as he feared being seen by people. This all changed after he was scouted by a modelling agent.
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“I got a job at a coffee shop called Doughnut Hive and Subz in GrandWest food court. I was working the graveyard shift and an agent came to me asking if I wanted to be a model and I said yes. It was random and I was shocked because it’s the thing I prayed for the morning before,” says Esau.
Accepting himself has allowed him to blossom as he gained more confidence.