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People Empowered: Shem

Meet Shem
Misconceptions about Albinism

“The biggest misconception is that because of our hair, eyes and skin, people will think that our biological parents might not be our real parents. Albinism just comes down to genes; some people will have it, some people won’t. Your parents might look different to you, but at the end of the day it’s just the albinism gene.”

Experience as a person of colour with albinism

“I believe I’ve been quite lucky in the generation I’ve grown up with in that people are more accepting to those who look different to them. I think that’s because of education now and awareness that people are raising. When I was younger I’d sometimes encounter people saying stuff, but that was often more to do with ignorance rather than bullying. Most people I meet nowadays already know I have albinism, they don’t even ask and they just treat me like a normal person.”

Shem modelling the orange Be Kind Hoodie
What ways have you decided to tackle discrimination?

“I’ve always been a confident person. If anyone needed to know something they can ask and I’ll just straight up tell them; it’s the best way for them to learn. Having a conversation, owning who I am and explaining the full story of how albinism occurs helps people understand it. I also tackle discrimination through modelling as well. Any exposure I’m getting might then be seen by people who don’t know what albinism is or haven’t seen a person with albinism before, so I believe how I’m mostly tackling it is through my modelling.”

the courage to be nice to someone no matter who they are

“Right now I’m in college studying my A-Levels. I’m planning to go to university, definitely. I’m interested in business so would like to study that. With my life, it’s kind of like I’ve got a more serious side and then my modelling is more my fun, creative and expressive side. I guess what I want to do maybe is start my own business but also develop modelling into something more than just a hobby.”

People around me how are doing well
witty, bright and caring

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