Providing support and promoting respect for everyone with a visible difference

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Face Equality Week

This year’s Face Equality Week – an event to raise awareness about the prejudice experienced by those with a visible difference - is 13-19 May.

As an annual event, the week is an opportunity for us to raise awareness of what needs to change so everyone with a visible difference or disfigurement can live the life they want to lead. 

Putting people with visible differences in the spotlight

Everyone is a three-dimensional person, with their own interests and talents, and it’s time society saw beyond appearances and celebrated people for who they are as rounded individuals. 

People with visible differences are just as deserving of the spotlight as anyone else, so let’s change the narrative and ensure everyone has the opportunity to succeed in their creativity. 

Campaigner gallery

To highlight the range of talents the visible difference community has, we held a photoshoot with some of our campaigners which put their creative passions in focus. 

Paulette in a pink suit, smiling on an Avon photo shoot

To be photographed doing one of the things I love the most, dancing the Argentine Tango, was very rewarding. My wife and I have been dancing for over 25 years and I am keen that as with everything I do, I represent the visible difference community in a positive, yet ‘normal’ way. I want people to see me as just a bloke dancing, rather than a bloke with a birthmark dancing!

My ambition is to be seen as a normal guy, doing normal (and sometimes not so normal) things, so unnecessary labels won’t be placed on me and on those younger members of the visible difference community, who in turn, can grow up in a more inclusive world without fear of stigma or prejudice. In all my years of dancing, I have found the dance community to be very accepting and non-judgemental of me and my appearance, and I am sure others would find it welcoming too.



Paulette in a pink suit, smiling on an Avon photo shoot

I’ve always loved making things and sewed my first dress at 15 which was really badly made and looked awful but to me was a work of art!

Having a creative outlet has always been important to me but never more so than when I lost my hair. Dealing with a visible difference was incredibly challenging. I felt isolated and kept a lot of stress and anxiety hidden from friends and family – sewing was a chance to escape. Making my own headwear channelled my negative thoughts about my hair loss into a creative form of expression. I become totally absorbed in the process, nothing else matters and I forget any worries and can just be in the moment.

I would love to see more people with a visible difference included in programmes like Great British Sewing Bee, Great Pottery Throwdown and The Great Interior Design Challenge. Representation is essential to help society change and be more inclusive. Creativity, be it singing, drawing, photography, dancing or sewing, is for everybody to enjoy.


Paulette in a pink suit, smiling on an Avon photo shoot

I am more than the way I look. I want to show people an equally important part of my life that has nothing to do with my appearance.

My grandmas taught me to bake, knit, crochet and so many other things. From the day I got my first crochet hook I was obsessed! I’ve made blankets, scrunchies and more but my favourites are definitely my animals. Having a creative outlet is so important for me because it can be really therapeutic. If ever I’ve had a tough day, I love knowing I can go home, put on my favourite tunes and crochet till my heart’s content! I get lost in a world of wool, with my worries behind me.

People with a visible difference deserve to be recognised for their talents instead of being judged and underestimated because of the way they look. There needs to be more representation of us in the creative sphere because we are just as talented and skilled as anyone else.

My advice for anyone with a visible difference is to do what makes you happy. Remember you are already amazing and don’t have to prove that to anyone. Pursue your talents and don’t give up!


Paulette in a pink suit, smiling on an Avon photo shoot

My advocacy for visible difference and love for music go hand in hand. I have found so much joy in singing and performing. I didn’t see anyone who looked like me doing classical singing and at times it made me wonder if it wasn’t possible, but I was always encouraged by my family and friends.

There has been a physical impact of my cleft on my singing, and there are some technical aspects I struggle with, like my breath control due to a fistula in my palate, but nothing that is insurmountable in a choir; you’re all part of a team aiming for the same sound.

Choral singing has resulted in some of the most exhilarating experiences of my life, like touring America and being part of a sold-out Prom at the Albert Hall. There’s nothing like the adrenaline rush of the applause after a performance!


Paulette in a pink suit, smiling on an Avon photo shoot

I am really excited to be involved in this year’s campaign because I have always used creative outlets throughout my life to help me. I have often had to prove myself to people with preconceived opinions about my abilities because of the way I look, and I have always proven those people wrong.

I have played drums for 15 years and despite being half deaf and having physical limitations, drums has been like therapy for me. It was an outlet when I was dealing with bullying at school and was a driving force in overcoming my low self-esteem and low confidence.

I would encourage people with a visible difference to find the thing that they love to do and run with it! That is yours to hold on to when life is difficult, and no one can take it from you.


Ivan Weiss, the photographer for the shoot, spoke about why he wanted to get involved:

Photography is a craft that has no preconceptions. Our purpose is to capture the power and beauty of our subject, and that isn’t just about their appearance. The result might be a still picture, but the movement, lighting and mood found within it can portray the character of a person as a whole.

It was amazing to photograph the campaigners. My hope was to make the experience as empowering as possible and let them do the talking. It might be my lens through which people are seen, but that is simply a tool to ensure their personalities are able to shine.

Society is a much richer place when everyone is given a chance to take the spotlight.

This is only a snapshot of what our community is capable of. To continue the celebration, check out our social media channels where we’ll be sharing more content from our campaigners, ambassadors and supporters throughout Face Equality Week. 

What can you do?

Celebrating visible difference isn’t limited to Face Equality Week. You can still spread the word any time of year. 



Whether you make a one-off or regular donation, your support helps us to continue providing life-changing mental health and wellbeing services to people with a visible difference.

Become a supporter

Keep up to date with all our campaign news, including ways to take action on issues like visible hate, anti-bullying and better representation.

Fundraise for us

Why not hold a Face Equali-Tea Party to promote acceptance, enjoy some delicious cake, and raise vital funds for Changing Faces?

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