In case you’ve been following closely for the past 29 years of my life… I am pale. With my heritage, I didn’t stand a chance. Most everything in my lineage is pale. I burn. I do not tan. I cannot get a base tan, and would appreciate you not asking me to.
But here’s the thing- I used to be self-conscious about it. I remember thinking how unfair it was everyone could get these pretty tans and I was always the same pale. I thought it was unfair that everyone else could just frolic in the sun without sunscreen and the few times I’ve done that in my life I’ve ended up purple from burns. I never understood it.
I once tried a fake tan. I looked like a pumpkin. Fake tans require you have a small amount of color on your skin that then blends in with the rest of the skin. I, however, have no color so I just looked exactly like the color sprayed on. It was awful.
But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve embraced it. I’ve learned to love it. It’s one of my signatures. I’m probably the palest girl in the room. I’m great about taking care of my skin now which means I’ll age more gracefully than many of my tanning peers. I don’t have as many wrinkles because I protect it. I will hopefully avoid the skin issues that have plagued the paler people in my family because I made a decision to be proactive about my skin care.
All that aside, the real reason I’ve learned to love my skin is I realized that being “tan” in order to be “hot” is giving a shit what someone else thinks of me. It’s caring about fitting into some sort of outside societal mold of beauty. And I get to choose whether I want that or not. And I don’t want it. I just want to be me. And I want to love myself for who I am. And who I am is a pale person with milky white skin and an aversion to too much direct sunlight.
And that’s that.
This weekend I’m going to Vegas with a few girlfriends to do… well, Vegas.
One of the big things everyone gets excited about in Vegas is lounging and drinking by a pool. People want to look “good” while they’re lounging because everyone is there to be seen. Gotta be picture ready for the pictures you’ll take to post on social media so you can show all your friends how much fun your life is and how perfect your body is.
I’ve been using this trip as an excuse to go harder at the gym knowing that I’ll be walking around in a bikini in Vegas.
But the truth is… I’m pale and last about 20 minutes in direct sunlight even with all my sunscreen on. If all we’re doing is lounging, I’d rather lounge in the shade under a blanket to protect my skin. If I’m gonna get burned, it damn well better be because I’m doing something awesome in the sunlight for so long I forget to reapply my sunscreen.
Plus… I don’t really care what the people who like lounging by pools in Vegas think of me. Like… at all.
So I’m packing sunscreen, a bikini, and a whole lot of IDON’TGIVEAF*** for this trip.
Vegas, baby. Vegas.
Katrina Vollado has struggled with her own self-image for years. As a person without normal pigmentation, or PWONP, she often finds it difficult to feel beautiful in a culture that worships the sun and its effects on human skin.
As a PWONP, which is more commonly referred to as a “pale” person, she does not have the ability to tan like many people do. Instead, she burns to a crisp when she’s in the sun too long.
Her skin pigmentation, or lack thereof, has been a struggle for her throughout the years. That is, until, vampires made a resurgence into popular culture. Movies like the Twilight saga and “The Vampire Diaries,” Vollado has found herself suddenly proud of her porcelain skin.
Vampires, by nature, cannot be in contact with the sunlight, and therefore remain very pale. Paler than most other pop culture icons.
“I finally look like the movie stars!” she exclaims, proudly. “I’m hoping after the latest Twilight movie comes out, werewolves will become popular again and maybe I won’t have to shave my legs all winter!”
While she realizes this may be wishful thinking, it seems like a perfectly attainable goal for Vollado. After all, it wasn’t too long ago that her pale skin seemed to doom her. Now, she shows it off proudly. Occasionally wearing fangs to add to her allure.