Let us introduce you to the Self Love Queen - Ash Soto.
SD: What is your name?
AS: My name is Ash Soto or Bambi also known as the girl with the world painted on her body.
SD: What's your life motto?
AS: My life motto is - I focus on what I can control and let go of what I can’t. There are moments where you feel powerless over things such as a skin condition where you have absolutely no control over but you have 100% control of your mind and how you choose to complete every part of you.
SD: When did you first find out you have Vitiligo?
AS: I was 12 years old when I was first diagnosed with Vitiligo.
SD: How did you feel at the time?
AS: I can remember so clearly, that day was the day my life changed forever. I felt a wind of emotions. I felt ashamed, scared, confused, helpless, and sad because at the time I had no idea what vitiligo was or had any knowledge so I didn’t realize at the moment how much it was going to impact my life. My mom was crying for me because the doctor mentioned there was no cure and I remember that being so heartbreaking for me at the time.
SD: What are some negative comments that you have gotten about your body, and how did that make you feel?
AS: What a lot of people not understand is that Vitiligo wasn’t something I was born with but something I had to grow into. Going to school was a nightmare for me, just life in general at that time. I’ve been called every name possible. I’ve been asked if I have taken a shower with bleach, I have been called cow, I was even told I had monster skin. At some point, I believed it and I started becoming depressed and hiding behind beanies, jackets and long sleeves shirts. I wasn’t the same person I was before. I was so angry but I wished nothing more in this world than to be considered normal, to have flawless skin, and to make the stares stop.
SD: At what point did all the negative feelings change and how did you become such a confident person?
AS: I knew that I wanted to make a change by the time I was about 18. I came to a point in my life where I didn’t want to be ashamed, sad, or unhappy anymore. Life is so beautiful that I wanted to live it vividly and I knew I had to start by teaching myself how to embrace the work of art I am. I started doing small things like going out with shorts or a tank top, things that would seem normal for everyone but for me it was the biggest challenge. Self-affirming and reminding myself that it does get better and that I am worthy even if I don’t have flawless skin. Doing artwork on my skin also helped me so much because every time I would create a work of art I would realize that I didn’t have to live up to today’s standards of beauty. Every part of me was exactly the way it should be.
SD: How do you think social media plays in the role of young girls' lives nowadays?
AS: It plays a big role, because before I started sharing my story or came to the point of embracing my skin, I looked up to all these girls and how flawless they looked, in my head, they were the definition of perfection and I would try my absolute hardest to be just like them. A lot of these images are unrealistic and they only show what they want you to see, it does not mean this person is better or less than you because behind it all they go through the same life experiences as anyone. I think it’s so important to be completely transparent and unapologetically you, especially on social media platforms because that’s when people realize that they aren’t alone and there are people in this world that are going through the same exact struggles. It’s important to uplift each other and let the cruelness go and be kind and set an example. Every post I make, you can see how my confidence rises, I share my experiences and even self affirm to myself as well as inspiring others because I never had that someone to look up to with vitiligo or someone that knew exactly what challenges I was facing so I’m more than grateful to be that source of inspiration for not only girls but boys as well.
SD: What would your number one advice be for all the young girls out there that are struggling to love themselves and struggling to feel confident?
AS: That it gets better. I know exactly what it’s like to feel like you have no hope but I promise that there is light at the end of the tunnel. You have to fight every day and never let the stares or opinions of others control how you are going to live your life or how you view yourself. You have the clouds etched on your skin, a story. A representation of how strong you are. Embrace it. Be unapologetically you because this just only adds to how unique and special you are. Stay strong and don’t ever lose sight of who you are on your journey. You’ve got this.
SD: What's your self-care/self-love tips?
AS: Some tips I can give you is to let all the negativity go and teach yourself every day that you are more than worth it. Self affirm, be grateful, challenge yourself. Step out of your comfort zone because all these little challenges are going to mould you into a stronger person. Another tip is to learn to accept the process because you can’t just wake up and say I’m going to love myself. It takes time and you should never try to force it but let it flow at your own unique pace.
SD: Why did you choose these 2 styles?
AS: I chose these two styles because I truly believe Vitae bikinis fit every body type. They have something for everyone and that’s so important. These bikinis hug you in all the right places. Especially the one piece, it is truly for all body types, plus, can we take a moment to look at the print? Unique and beautiful just like you!
SD: Why did you name them BAMBI and RADIANT DREAM?
AS: I named the first one BAMBI because I truly believe it represents me. The print reminds me of my vitiligo and I absolutely adore it. I felt like it was crucial to name it BAMBI considering that it has been my social media name for so long. It represents me. The name RADIANT DREAM came about for this one because every time you wear it, you’ll radiate a glow and confidence that you never thought was possible. I added the dream because this collaboration is a dream come true and when I see posts of others wearing it and looking like a radiant queen is a dream come true for me. Nothing makes me happier than to see others glowing.
SD: How does wearing VITAE APPAREL make you feel?
AS: Vitae makes me feel so powerful. I put a bikini on and my confidence rises even more and makes me feel unstoppable. It makes me proud to show off my skin without a worry in the world. That’s why I stand by this brand because of their inclusivity and being a brand that represents self-love is everything.
Thank you for taking the time to read about our collaboration with Ash Soto.
We hope you learned something, and learned to love yourself a little bit more everyday.
Founder of VITAE APPAREL