Marianna Bowering, a mother and makeup artist from Adelaide, Australia, has taken a unique approach to raise awareness of port-wine stain—a type of pink or purple birthmark on the skin—in honor of her 2-year-old daughter. The mom used makeup to mimic her toddler’s large facial birthmark and to show how beautiful and unique it is.
Angelica was born with a heart-shaped port-wine stain on her face on May 6, 2018. The dark birthmark covers swaths of her face from her forehead to across her eyes and down to her chin. The 27-year-old mother has always embraced it and considered it an addition to the little girl’s beauty.
Recently, Bowering used Jeffree Star’s blood sugar eyeshadow palette in varied shades to create the port-wine effect to match her daughter’s face. “I got the idea from vascular birthmark awareness day, where they encourage people to paint a heart on the cheeks,” Bowering said, according to Caters News. “Initially I just did the heart with my makeup look but then I thought why don’t I go all out and do Angelica’s port wine stain.”
Alluding to the effort, which took half an hour, Bowering explained that she wanted to show her daughter that “port wine stain is beautiful and I wanted to be just as beautiful as her.”
The mom from Australia has been incredibly vocal about her daughter’s birthmark and in support of awareness and acceptance for port-wine birthmarks, which impacts an estimated three out of every 1,000 children born.
When Angelica was born, both Bowering and her husband, Corey, 27, didn’t see the birthmark as a blemish or malformation and instead considered it “a unique addition to her beauty that should be celebrated.”
Later, the couple learned that children with port-wine stains might be at risk of other health conditions. According to Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children, port-wine stains in the upper part of the face can lead to two health conditions, namely glaucoma and sturge-Weber syndrome.
However, Bowering has confirmed earlier to Caters News according to TODAY that her baby girl is healthy and happy. “We just need to have regular check-ups, especially for her eyes as glaucoma can be a concern,” she said.
Bowering, who is an ambassador for the Vascular Birthmarks Foundation, revealed that her daughter usually does get supportive and loving comments from people. But then there are some people both in person and online who make hurtful and hateful comments about the unique look caused by the birthmark, which is the result of blood vessel capillary malformations.
“The worst comment online that I’ve gotten is, when someone asked if her face had been pushed onto a skillet. Basically, saying her face looked grilled,” she said.
Bowering revealed that there were some bullies who even went to the extent to call her daughter “hideous” due to her appearance, and commented that she would never get a “boyfriend later in life.” However, not all of them left hurtful remarks online; there were some who even confronted the mother directly.
“In person, I think the most hurtful thing was when someone at a soccer game told me that she was a ‘defect,’” Bowering recalled. “He just said that to me and then walked away. I was shocked.”
Bowering, however, through her vocal advocacy and adorable acts of solidarity like painting her face, has made sure to let her daughter know that she’s perfect just the way she is—and that the world should feel the same way.
After Bowering painted her face and showed it to Angelica, the little girl ran toward her and gave her the “biggest smile.” Describing the moment, Bowering said, according to Caters News, “I think she loved it, it was such a special moment and there was so much emotion in it.”
As little Angelica grows, her mother hopes to instill in her that port-wine stain is something she should embrace as it’s unique to her. Additionally, she emphasized that her confident little girl is not afraid of anything and believes that she will be able to get through all of life’s challenges with strength.
“She is more than her birthmark,” Bowering said. “She is her own person, and she is not different to anyone else.”