The trajectory of young children’s lives is profoundly shaped by the influence of their parents. From the moment of birth, children rely on their parents for the love and security crucial to their happiness, health, and optimal growth and development. In situations where we are compelled, for various reasons, to grow up without our parents, both our physical and emotional well-being may face challenges.
Xueli Abbing, a 16-year-old born in China, experienced abandonment by her parents due to her perceived “weirdness.” Left at an orphanage door, she was given the name “Xueli,” which carried a unique connotation reflecting her beauty—Xue for white as snow and Li for stunning. Xueli, born with albinism, a genetic condition resulting in less melanin production, affecting the skin, hair, and eyes, faced potential stigmatization, prejudice, and discrimination.
Fortunately, Xueli found a loving Dutch family who adopted her and provided the care and affection she needed. At just 11 years old, she was invited to pose for a designer in Hong Kong, aiming to showcase various types of beauty. The resulting ad was termed “perfect imperfections,” and Xueli was even invited to participate in a fashion show in Hong Kong—an experience she described as fantastic.
Albinos often face challenges, ranging from societal stigma to, in severe cases, being hunted for the supposed medicinal benefits of their bones. Xueli acknowledged her luck in being only abandoned but expressed sadness when albino models are stereotypically portrayed as angels or ghosts.
Fortune smiled upon Xueli when a London-based photographer took her under his wing, treating her with the respect a model deserves. Their collaboration led to her appearance in the June 2019 issue of Vogue Italia, a significant milestone for her modeling career.
Reflecting on her journey, Xueli emphasized the changing landscape in media representation, with more features of individuals with disabilities or differences becoming normalized. She highlighted the importance of inner beauty and aimed to alter perceptions of those with albinism.
Xueli’s aspirations extend beyond personal success; she intends to raise awareness about albinism’s hereditary nature and dispel misconceptions surrounding it. Rejecting the notion that children are killed because they are albinos, she expressed a strong desire to transform the world’s perspective.
As Xueli continues her journey, we extend our best wishes to this snow-white beauty, hoping she succeeds in reshaping societal perceptions and inspiring positive change. Share this story to amplify her inspiring journey and contribute to making a difference.