We caught up with social media influencer Ash Soto (@randiantbambi). Ash has vitiligo all over her body and is known for turning herself into a full work of art by drawing the world on her skin to celebrate her beauty and body confidence. She posts super inspirational and motivating posts on her Instagram, so if you aren’t following her already check her out now!
Tell us a bit about yourself, who you are and what you do
My name is Ash Soto also known as the girl with the world painted on her body. I’m an artist and a social media body positive influencer who fights to inspire every day whether it’s through art or sharing my love and light with the world.
What does beauty mean to you?
Beauty to me means learning to accept yourself regardless of what today’s standards of beauty are. It’s about loving every inch of yourself because it’s exactly the way it’s supposed to be – a beautiful work of art. Beauty is being understanding, and kind not only to yourself but to others, honest. Being the best version of yourself that you can be. Teach your mind to love and respect yourself always. You look at a bouquet of flowers and if you look closely each one is completely different but all carry a unique beauty about each one that’s why I like to say beauty is all shapes, sizes, and colours because it truly is.
Why is confidence important?
Confidence is crucial to anyone because it empowers you not only that but it’s vital for your growth. It motivates you to keep fighting for the self-love you deserve because everyone is so deserving of it. I see us as gatekeepers and each of us has our own gate to confidence but once you unlock it and feel that confidence flowing inside of you – there’s no better feeling. It’s exhilarating, it makes you resilient and most of all unbreakable. That’s why it’s so important to do whatever it takes to open that gate. That’s why it’s so important to do whatever it takes to open that gate. If I can do it, I promise you that so can you.
We let anything ruin our day sometimes – whether it's our own destructive thoughts or things that happen to us. You have to learn to repeat to yourself I'm going to have a good day and keep that mantra going. You are the gate keeper to your happiness, don't look for things outside of you to make you happy. I promise you that your whole day will feel so much different ⚡️If you're having a bad day know that it gets better, you are all the stars in the sky 🌌 stay positive ! ALWAYS !
How do you feel confident in your own skin?
I’m still a work in progress and I’m growing every day but I do this every day or especially on days where I may not be feeling the best. I grab a piece of paper and write down the words I am beautiful, I am strong, I am enough. I remind myself every day that I don’t have to live up to society’s standards to be beautiful and unique. I challenge myself with doing things that I wouldn’t usually like going outside with shorts or a tank top. I remove any negative thoughts from my head and replace that with positive thoughts. Another way is by mixing confidence with art. Art is beautiful and so is my vitiligo, every time I trace my spots and see the finished result a whole new wave of confidence flows through me.
Who inspires you?
The people that inspire me the most are the people that are fighting for self-love every single day. The people who share and confide their own personal stories with me. Those stories are the stories I keep close to my heart and when I need a source of inspiration I go and read them and realize why I do what I do. These people will always feel like family to me.
Do you have a life mantra or words that you live by?
My words that I live by has to be one I came up with on my own when I first revealed my vitiligo to the world, and these words have so much meaning for me was “they say your body is a canvas but I’m just painted differently.” I remind myself this every day.
What do you love most about yourself?
I don’t have a specific part of myself I love more than the other. I’ve taught myself to appreciate and embrace every single part of me. My perspective has changed so much since I was younger because I no longer let my condition determine how I’m going to live my life. I embrace my skin to the fullest. My outlook on life is much more positive and I see the world in such a different way – a way I never thought I’d come to see it. Vitiligo is the most beautiful thing in my eyes. It’s a representation of the struggles I’ve gone through and tells my story. It represents strength to me. It’s like having natural tattoos. A world map. It’s moulded me into the woman I’ve become today.
Some people are artist, some people themselves are art. Paint your canvas with beautiful vibrant colors, let those dark colors go and what I mean by that are the negative thoughts in your head. Paint over them with bright colors because all that darkness is what has made you stronger – it doesn't mean you are accepting the bad but rather not letting it stop you from anything and continuing to live your life fully. Don't let people around you try to break the masterpiece you are creating by doubting yourself or questioning your worth. Hang on tight to that paint brush, I say this all the time but whatever insecurity you might have is that extra sparkle ready to shine – you are so WORTHY 🗺👩🏻🎨
What is your skincare routine?
Having vitiligo on my face also my skin is super sensitive and can get easily irritated so I try to keep it simple. I use the cerave foaming cleanser right after that I always spray rosewater spray just for some extra hydration, I use witch hazel toner, and then first aid beauty moisturiser. I sometimes add vitamin e serum around my eyes and the areas where I get dry. Also, just to make it a little more fun I’ll do a face mask at least two times a week.
What would you say to other women and girls who also have vitiligo?
Vitiligo has to be one of the hardest things anyone can go through especially when it’s something you aren’t born with but something you have to grow into just like I did. My beautiful girls/boys please never give up. EVER. The journey is difficult and I know you think it might be easier to just give up and not live your life fully like you deserve but remember that you have to fall but get right back up because those scrapes and bruises are bringing you one step closer to the gateway to self-love. Remember that your struggles are VITAL for your growth. Don’t ever hide the beauty your skin has, it’s what makes you unique. It’s like an extra sparkle added to your stunning canvas. Don’t let peoples opinions or stares feed your self-doubt or ever make you feel like you aren’t enough or beautiful because you are in every way possible.
Live your life fully. We only have ONE life so make it worth it. I want you to keep dreaming, I would say the sky is the limit but no you are limitless. Splatter your canvas with beautiful vibrant colours instead of dark colours and make sure to not let anyone ever break your paintbrush. You got this and if anyone with vitiligo or whatever the case may be I want you to know that I’m proud of you. Your goals should be the acceptance of the things that you might think are imperfections, that should be one of your main focuses.
What positive changes in beauty standards do we need to see reflected in society?
We need to stop being so cruel to one another and spread love because you have no idea how ONE word can affect someone. We are ONE. We all look the same on the inside – we all have beating hearts and blood flowing through our veins. It’s all about uplifting each other rather than spreading hate. We need to set an example for little girls/boys growing up in today’s society that’s it’s completely ok to be different and unique, it’s OK to be YOU ALWAYS.
Do you have a role model?
My mother is one of my biggest role models, not only her but everyone who has gone through the worst of the worst but still come out fighting stronger than before keeping a smile on their face continuing to live their life not letting anything stop them from ANYTHING are the people who to me are role models. They remind me of butterflies making their way through each flower to make their wings more vibrant.
Polaroid chronicles 📷 You are real. You are beautiful. You are enough. Make this new year a year to learn to finally see the work of art you are and start on your journey to self love. Live fully. Celebrate embracing yourself exactly how you are. Start splattering your canvas with vibrant colors and positivity. Every inch of you is exactly how it's supposed to be ♡
Who is your style inspiration?
I would definitely have to say that one of my favourites is Emily Ratajkowski. Her style is amazing and I love the way she embraces her feminine side but also adding a little edge to it. I used to hide behind sweaters and leggings when my vitiligo spread so I never got to really express myself through fashion but now that I’ve found that confidence my style inspirations are limitless.
What would you say to your younger self?
There are so many things I wish I could tell my younger self because I was in such a dark place growing up. I would hug myself and tell little me that it won’t always be dark, that I will find my flashlight and see the light. That all these experiences I’m going through at the moment are what is going to make me resilient. A force to be reckoned with. I’d tell myself to stay strong and to never stop fighting because you’re going to inspire so many people in this world.
What is your goal for 2018?
My goal for 2018 is to continue to grow as a human being, to create more motivational content through my artwork. Writing a book on my story is a goal I’m working on to achieve this year, and even going around the US and being able to speak on my story as well. I’m pretty much taking life as it comes with nothing but motivation and drive. I will do anything in my power to bring awareness to my condition or body image issues because having the opportunity to be that source of inspiration to so many people is the ultimate goal and it truly makes my heart so happy. All I have to say is stay tuned because I’m not stopping here.
I want you angels to know I'm more than just a "public figure" and I'm so much deeper than you know. I'm just your average girl who loves inspiring you every single day. I work so hard for everything I have. I work, go to school and juggle with everyday life situations. I cry, I get mad, I laugh, I joke. I have so many goals and dreams. I don't let Instagram get to me because what if it were to disappear one day? What than? It's so important to stay humble and grow as a person mentally. There's so much more to life. Go out explore and live the best possible life you can without letting anything hold you back. Always stay positive. Don't let your self conscious stop you from living this beautiful thing called life 💛