‘Vitiligo Queen’ Fights Bullies By Turning Her Body Into Art
1 percent of the world’s population has vitiligo, a condition that causes loss of skin colour.
1 percent of the world’s population has vitiligo, a condition that causes loss of skin colour.(Photo: Kartiki Bhatnagar)

‘Vitiligo Queen’ Fights Bullies By Turning Her Body Into Art

Her classmates bullied her when she developed white patches on her body, with some even refusing to touch her.

Kartiki Bhatnagar, a 17-year-old school student from Delhi, now inspires a lot of people with her message of body positivism.

Kartiki was just seven when she was diagnosed with Thyroid, which led to her developing Vitiligo – a disease that causes the loss of skin colour or blotches. 

The color of hair and skin is determined by melanin. But those who are diagnosed with vitiligo, the cells that produce melanin die or stop functioning.

“I started developing white patches on my face, which soon appeared on my legs, hands, stomach, knees and other ‘secretive’ parts of my body,” she says.

Things changed for Kartiki when one day, her friend pointed out a patch on her skin and exclaimed that it looked like an apple!

I laughed him off, but when I was alone, I looked at the patch closely and realised that it actually does!
Kartiki Bhatnagar

She started outlining her patches and started painting her white patches into majestic mountains, a little ghost with a little heart, and whatever else came to her mind.

“My body was a story waiting to be told,” she says.

The artwork gave her the courage to accept her body, and she now blogs about body positivity.

“My blog started around 2 years ago. My blog is literally my life. When it comes to body positivity or loving yourself, I find myself really drawn to it. I have also started a campaign on Instagram called ‘bare the midriff,” she says.

The idea was basically to love yourself, because asking other people to love you is really a hard thing to do. So you have to love yourself.
Kartiki Bhatnagar

Kartiki’s been named the ‘Vitiligo Queen’ and she’s slaying bullies and body shamers one artwork at a time.

“Maybe I’ll even get a tattoo in the future,” she says.

(We all love to express ourselves, but how often do we do it in our mother tongue? Here's your chance! This Independence Day, khul ke bol with BOL – Love your Bhasha. Sing, write, perform, spew poetry – whatever you like – in your mother tongue. Send us your BOL at bol@thequint.com or WhatsApp it to 9910181818.)