Albinism, a rare, non-contagious, genetically inherited condition found in both men and women, presents as a lack of melanin pigmentation in hair, skin and eyes, causing vulnerability to the sun and bright light.
In Nigeria, People Living with Albinism (PWA) suffer a high level of discrimination in all fields of endeavours, but one Nigerian albino, Vivian Adenijo has grown a thick skin over such negativities.
The 24-year-old lady tells Legit.ng why she has chosen to focus on changing people's perception of the condition instead of making them accept albinism as well as the secret to her lovely skin.
Vivian says her grandma was the most shocked at her birth
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Recounting that eventful day of her birth 24 years ago, the scriptwriter, model and People Living with Albinism (PWA) activist told Legit.ng's Victor Duru in a chat that her grandma was the most shocked.
Vivian said she recalled her maternal grandmother telling her mum how she felt the first time she carried her.
Her grandma said she had to open all the windows at the place of her birth to be sure of how white she was.
"I remember my maternal grandmother once telling my mum how she felt when she first got to carry me , it's so funny because I felt I could visualise the look on her face because she was like, she had to open the whole window just to be sure of how white I was."
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While her grandma didn't envisage having an albino grandchild, she definitely can't stop appreciating that one is her granddaughter and gushes every time.
"She still can't get over the shock and it get to hit her everything she see me and just can't stop gushing over my beauty,'' Vivian said.
And the young lady to her dad is a shining star.
Vivian shares why she is not focused on wanting people to accept albinism
The mass communication student of the National Open University (NOUN) says albinos are called derogatory names like afin (Oyinbo in English), afinkoje iyo (Yourba which when translated in English means they don't take salt), including herself.
Vivian said she is however not focused on wanting to make people know accept albinos and is rather concerned with changing their perception.
According to her, misconceptions about albinos have been passed to people from generation to generation and that's why she has decided to shift focus. She said:
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"...the misconception has been passed down from generations back and that's why I rather work on changing the perception rather than trying to make know and accept albinism."
Vivian comes clean on some popular negative myths about albinos
The fast-rising model also lamented that many myths in the public place about albinos are false.
Vivian highlighted some of the myths which include that albinos don't eat salt, they are good for money rituals, they aren't intelligent, they smell, are good for sex and are little gods.
Vivian used herself as a case study to show that the myths are wrong. On the salt myth, she recalled:
"When they say , albinos don't take salt, I laugh because I remember having to add too much salt to my food when I was still learning to cook and it never really affect me, I remember going on set one day and I was specifically asked what I wanted because they feel I don't take salt and I have to be picky with what I eat because of my skin and when I told them I take salt, they were so surprised."
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On albinos not seeing in the afternoon, she also recalled:
"I was in class one day and they asked a question, I raised up my hand to answer and the teacher clearly told me to put down my head because I can't see in the afternoon. That broke me, but still helped prepared me ahead of what to face as I grow because now when people say I can't see in the afternoon, I just smiled and move on."
Vivian shares the secret to her flawless skin
The young lady whose skin has been her selling point sheds light on how she has been able to maintain it in the face of the country's harsh weather conditions.
"Taking care of my skin is so important to me, not just because I am a person with albinism but because my skin pays my bills and also my skin speaks even before I do so I make sure I take my skin care routine seriously and also my sun cream is very important."
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The aspiring iconic model and entrepreneur says she is currently working on her first movie and also wants to launch her cosmetic brand.
Sending a strong message to other albinos, Vivian implores them to love themselves first as nothing beats self-acceptance. She said:
"There is nothing as strong as loving yourself, accepting yourself and believing in yourself, I say it a lot, no one will accept you if you fail to accept yourself. Creating awareness about albinism isn't just a way to build a respected community of albinos.
"Are they ready to love and accept themselves? If yes....then you'd see people wishing to be an albino because of the beauty of self-acceptance."
Dark-skinned and albino twin sisters go viral
Meanwhile, Legit.ng previously reported that a dark-skinned lady and her albino twin had caused a stir on their birthday.
One of the sisters identified as Kenduma had taken to her Twitter page with the pictures while wishing themselves a happy birthday celebration.
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However, what came as a surprise to many social media users is the fact that the twin sisters share completely different skin tones.
Interestingly, even with their different skin tones, the sisters also share a striking resemblance.