Who Am I?
My name is Ariana Covarrubias, I am a 19-year-old college student in Los Angeles, CA. I am majoring in mass communications with an emphasis in public relations and advertising for the entertainment industry. For someone who has a chronic illness, I’ve lived a pretty “normal” life. From Pre-K to 12th grade, I attended school and did all my assignments. I would hang out with the few friends I had and go out with my family. Again, like the typical person. However, what wasn’t typical was people’s perceptions and reactions towards me and my physical appearance. I walked through hallways and classrooms while my classmates pointed out my flaws caused by my condition. Whenever my peers had a chance, they would ask why I wore bandages every day or why I had no nails. All due to a condition that I have no control over.
My Life-Threatening Illness: Epidermolysis Bullosa
I was born with a rare skin disorder called Epidermolysis Bullosa. Although the phrase “skin disorder” may make it seem as not a big deal, it is the complete opposite. In fact, the skin is our #1 main organ and for people like me with Epidermolysis Bullosa (or EB for short), it is the organ that doesn’t function properly. EB is a genetic skin condition that can only be obtained at birth and is caused by the missing protein that holds the two layers of skin together called Collagen 7. EB causes my skin to be extremely fragile. (When I say extremely fragile, I mean going to sleep and waking up with missing skin somewhere in my body) type of fragile. Daily activities that the typical person takes for granted, such as walking, eating, showering, cause open wounds that become extremely painful and take weeks to heal (if at all). EB is something that I have never taken lightly, as it is slowly deteriorating my body, my ability to do certain things and over the years have taken friends away too soon. My journey has been challenging and I would not wish this life upon anybody, but this journey has also allowed me to positively impact and inspire others by showing them that beauty is not only defined by our appearance.
Diversity in the Beauty Industry
It’s hard to be the unique one. The one who always stands out of the crowd. It’s hard to be the one that goes home crying from a day out because the stares and constant questioning was too overwhelming. In my almost 20 years of life, I’ve learned that there are people that will be cruel, that won’t accept me for looking different, but there will also be those who will support me and accept me like any other person. I've also learned that the only acceptance I truly need is self-acceptance. As a passionate woman for makeup and the beauty industry, I aspire to be the role model of little girls with a physical difference. I want to be a positive influence for the upcoming generations, and show them that beauty is not just defined by the color of someone’s eyes or the shape of their body. No one should be ashamed for what they look like. So what if we don’t fit society's norms of beautiful, we’re still powerful individuals that can accomplish amazing things in life.
My Message to Others
If I could tell people one thing, it is to always be accepting of other people, no matter their race, color, gender, anything that may differentiate them to you. We never truly know what people have gone through or what they go through on the daily so we should always be willing to learn and accept others for who they are, not for what they look like.