“My name is Cheri, and this is my Camo Confession,” Cheri Lindsay began.
People wear makeup for a multitude of reasons, and it can be as much a form of dramatic self-expression as a way to conceal perceived flaws and imperfections. But Cheri has now spent years offering you the opportunity to put your insecurities into context.
We love her, and we think you’ll love her, too.
“I am currently working as the assistant volleyball coach at a college,” Cheri’s video interview continued. “I have vitiligo.”
Vitiligo is a skin pigment disorder that causes those with the condition to gradually lose the color in their skin. It can occur in patches that appear randomly; it spreads over the course of several years and may affect the entire body.
Cheri’s father, Phillip Lindsay, also has vitiligo. Cheri cites her father’s stoic attitude in helping her to be as brave as she is about having the condition herself. “I’ve never seen you without vitiligo,” Cheri said to her dad during a visit to NPR’s StoryCorps back in 2014. “So it’s like, that’s normal. That’s my dad.”
Phillip, in turn, only had words of encouragement for his daughter, who embraces being out in the world as a more conspicuous person. “You’re a very beautiful woman,” he began, “and you keep your head up and you just … walk on. And I couldn’t be more proud of you for the way you handle yourself, really.”
“My vitiligo started in my sophomore year of college,” Cheri continued, this time by herself in front of the camera, after wiping the vast majority of her camouflage foundation from her face. What she revealed, it would be hard to deny, was truly beautiful. “I was in Texas,” she went on, “and I’ve been told the sun exposure just makes it spread that much faster.”
“It was shocking to me at first.”
Did Cheri find it easy to deal with? It’s been a journey, that’s for sure. “When I first got vitiligo I had to ask myself a couple of different questions,” the young woman explained, “the first being ‘Does it hurt?’ No. ‘Is it contagious?’ Not at all. And ‘Can I still live with this, and be successful?'”
Cheri revealed that the greatest reaction she gets is from children, who want to ask questions while their parents stand mortified by the sidelines. But well-meaning reservation isn’t necessarily the best way to deal with difference; Cheri welcomes conversation. “I would rather people asked questions than making up their own assumptions,” she shared.
When asked why she still uses makeup while having embraced her condition, Cheri explained that she uses makeup to make herself look more approachable. She often finds that people are able to look beyond her skin condition and interact with her in a more authentic way, at least initially, when she covers up.
But “don’t hide,” she implores. “Nobody’s one hundred percent perfect.”
Dermablend’s Camo Confessions campaign has also featured YouTube star and model Cassandra Bankson, who has severe cystic acne, and Rick Genest (also known as “Zombie Boy”), whose face and body are entirely covered in intricate tattoos.
In Cheri’s video, which has amassed over 7.2 million views to date, the brave beauty took a wet flannel to her face and revealed her truth, both physical and emotional. It was empowering.
Today, Cheri posts updates on her life on her popular Instagram page. She puts herself out there to prove that if she can do it, then, you guessed it: other people can do it, too!