NESTLÉ CREMORA JOY OF INCLUSION presents the Spotted Beauty of Boitumelo Rametsi.
Model, business-owner, “skinfluencer”, and NESTLÉ CREMORA Joy Of Inclusion hero, Boitumelo Rametsi shares her story on living with vitiligo, and tells us why we should all celebrate our true selves.
The NESTLÉ CREMORA Joy Of Inclusion campaign celebrates and embraces the inclusion of all people living in South Africa. Sparked by a relaunch of Mzansi’s iconic “It’s Not Inside…It’s On Top” advert, the campaign highlights inspirational stories of South Africans who have overcome challenges and obstacles to live their best lives in our diverse society.
Among them is Boitumelo Rametsi, a “spokesmodel and skinfluencer” for vitiligo, a skin pigmentation condition that affects approximately 1% of people worldwide. Vitiligo is not life-threatening or contagious, but it can cause discomfort and a sense of social stigma.
Boitumelo was just a child when she was first diagnosed with the condition, which typically causes light patches to appear on the face, hands, scalp, and other parts of the body. On the advice of her doctor, Boitumelo followed the standard treatment, applying ointment and makeup to cover and conceal the patches. But then one day she took a good look in the mirror, and she saw herself for what she really was. Strong. Proud. Confident. And beautiful.
Today Boitumelo, who calls herself Spotted Beauty on Facebook, TikTok, and Instagram, is an outspoken advocate for body positivity, sharing her message that we should all celebrate our authentic selves, no matter who we are or what we look like. Here Boitumelo tells us her story, as one of the heroes of NESTLÉ CREMORA’s Joy of Inclusion campaign.
How can people who are struggling with Vitiligo embrace their condition and find Joy In Inclusion?
Boitumelo: I have been approached by people with acne, skin burn conditions, and vitiligo, and the experience has been humbling. I have come to realize that body positivity is not only about representing your specific skin condition and creating awareness about it, but it really is about yourself, who you are and how you carry yourself. We all want the same thing which, is just to be included. I would say to people who are struggling, make the choice to make yourself happy. Live your life freely. Be yourself!
What challenges have you faced on your journey of self-discovery and acceptance?
Boitumelo: At the age of 18, I was not comfortable, I was concerned about how I looked. The challenges that I faced were cyberbullying. I took the advice of using make-up, as given by medical practitioners, but I felt caged in my own identity and body. Then I realized that I’m only trying to please everyone else’s idea and perception of me. So I evolved to not use cover-up makeup and to feel more comfortable within myself. Today I feel free and liberated and happy. I made the choice to make myself happy first, and now I can live my life freely.
What would you say to all those cyber bullies, to change their perception of people with vitiligo?
Boitumelo: I would tell them to look in the mirror, firstly. I would say that your perception of me and how you see me reflects yourself. That’s the very same advice I would give to people that are on the receiving end of cyberbullying. Your exterior reflects who you are, so how they see you is how they see themselves. If they said something to you to hurt your feelings, it’s clearly the state of being that they are in, so it would make sense for you to be kinder to them, because they must be experiencing the worst. As the saying goes, hurt people hurt people.
You are representing the NESTLÉ CREMORA Joy of Inclusion campaign on body positivity. What does body positivity mean to you?
Boitumelo: To me, body positivity means being able to celebrate every single individual as an individual. Because we are all spiritual beings, having a temporary human experience in these vessels that we have no control over. Body positivity means accepting that you're a person, that you are a human being who is here to stand for what you believe in.
When did you start feeling body positive about yourself?
Boitumelo: I started being body positive the moment I stopped putting makeup on. It is an expanded awareness. It’s about being realistic with yourself. Every human being is an individual, and every human being is different. Whether it's a skin condition, or you are a burn victim, or you've got acne, or you've been in an accident, or you've been involved in domestic violence. It’s just about having an open mind to understanding that anything is possible. Inclusion for me is important, in the sense that you can speak up and share your story.
You live in Soweto. How has your community embraced the Joy of Inclusion for you and other people with skin conditions?
Boitumelo: I think they've embraced it really, well. I say this because just the other day, I was driving home, and the kids in the street started cheering and calling out to me. I was like, what's happening? “Oh, we saw you on TV!” they were saying, “we saw you in a magazine!” And I was like, really? And one of them said, “Yes, I cut your picture out and I pasted you in, because at school they told us to bring someone who's beautiful.” I felt so emotional, because these five-to-six-year-old children already know my story, and they identify me as beautiful in the community. That, for me, was mind-blowing.
If you could change anything about who you are and how you look, would you do so?
For further information on the NESTLÉ CREMORA Joy Of Inclusion campaign, please visit https://www.cremora.co.za/everyonesincluded.
About NESTLÉ CREMORA Joy of Inclusion Campaign
In 2021, NESTLÉ CREMORA took a bold step and launched the Joy of Inclusion campaign, to inspire South Africans to share their own stories of the joy of inclusion while driving meaningful and engaging conversations on inclusion
In 2022, the Joy of Inclusion campaign, will deepen the conversation by giving a progressive and impactful voice to diverse and underrepresented communities. South Africans who represent these communities’ hero the campaign and through their stories help us to celebrate what makes us all unique whilst deepening conversations around inclusion. The themes are May; Albinism, June; International Pride, July; Mental Health, August; Body Positivity, September; Language, October; African Pride and November; Differently Abled