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Woman Dubbed 'Monster' As A Child For Birthmark Covering Nearly Half Her Face Has Powerful Message For Others

Woman Dubbed 'Monster' As A Child For Birthmark Covering Nearly Half Her Face Has Powerful Message For Others
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Dubbed a "monster," a woman whose childhood was blighted by bullying because of a rare birthmark covering nearly half her face has told how she now sees it as a "blessing in disguise."

Born with congenital melanocytic naevus (CMN) – a rare genetic condition causing a dark birthmark covering 40 per cent of her face – Nathalia Moraes Freitas, 32, who works in events and is also an aspiring motivational speaker, had nine operations between nine months and 13, to make it smaller.

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But Nathalia, orignally from Porto Alegre in South Brazil, said the skin grafts used to reduce her CMN left scars, and her appearance attracted constant unwanted attention.

Talking about her CMN – caused by a genetic mutation – Nathalia, who now lives in Los Angeles, USA, said: "I first became aware that I looked different to other children when I was about three, and began getting constant attention whenever I left the house.

"People would stare and ask my mum questions. Some were genuinely worried about me, asking what had happened. Others were just nosy, but from an early age, I felt people didn't see past the birthmark, they didn't see the real me."

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Things intensified when Nathalia started school, aged six.

She continued: "I was badly bullied by the other children, mainly the boys. That changed everything, because I realized that I really was different and what a huge impact my birthmark was having on my life and happiness.

"The boys would call me cruel names like monster. I wished for a long time I was like the other pretty girls. I was very sad for ages, but never told my mum or the teachers about the bullying, because I thought it was my fault it was happening."

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She added: "Eventually, I just stopped thinking of myself as being any different and so moved on with my life."

Nathalia went to university and, after graduating with a degree in marketing and advertising, she accepted an invitation from an aunt who was living in California to go and stay with her for six months in the USA and improve her English.

"I really liked it here and so just stayed," said Nathalia, who now lives with her boyfriend Geoff, 32, who works in the sports entertainment industry.

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But her real epiphany came last year, when she went to her first ever conference for sufferers of CMN, in Chicago, Michigan.

"I met all these beautiful, admirable people. Some of them were not comfortable with themselves," she said. "I couldn't see what they saw, and I kept wondering what I could do to help and empower them."

The conference made Nathalia believe that the birthmark across her face had been a "blessing in disguise," as she could not hide it even if she wanted to, so had been forced to face her insecurities and overcome them.

This realisation made her want to help other people still hiding their marks and letting their appearance stunt their lives, by sharing her secrets of self-empowerment and helping them to feel better about themselves.

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"I never believed my own story would be powerful enough to help anyone else, but attending that conference showed me otherwise," says Nathalia, who immediately started sharing her own journey to self-empowerment on social media platforms, including YouTube.

Now Nathalia wants to make empowering others her full-time job.

She said: "At some point in my life I decided to reject all those names I was called and stop blaming myself for something I didn't choose.

"I've realized I was born this way. It was not a choice. I am healthy – the way I look is not because of an illness or a car crash.

Image is not everything and how I look does not define me.

"I can do whatever I want and if you join me on this journey of self-love, so can you."

You can learn more about Nathalia's secrets to self-empowerment at