A woman in her early 20s, wearing a black blouse and blue jeans. She's sitting in a chair and there's a yellow back drop behind her. She has long brown hair and glasses.

Prisha’s story: “People with a visible difference can do anything”

Prisha talks about how sharing her story has helped others and discusses her workplace experiences as a person with a visible difference.


My name is Prisha. I’m 20 years old and I am about to start a full-time job at Google. I have a very rare neurological condition called Sturge-Weber syndrome, which probably occurs in 1 in 20,000 to 1 in 50,000 births. The condition is associated with a port wine stain birthmark, which in my case appears on the left side of my face. I also have glaucoma, meaning I have very limited vision in my left eye.

I was a patient at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) for 17 years where I had multiple eye surgeries, radiotherapy and laser treatment. The GOSH team were a huge support to me throughout all my treatments.

It matters to me that people with a visible difference are seen in society as normal people. Yes, we face obstacles, some more than others, but we’re still like everyone else.

Growing up, I really disliked my port wine stain. I felt different. It was difficult. I didn’t know anyone else like me. I had never seen someone who looked like me online or on TV. I felt ashamed. I felt alone.

I’ve learned over the last few years that my visible difference cannot stop me from achieving my goals in life and that it doesn’t define me. This empowering feeling led me to want to help others feel the same way.

I love using a range of social media platforms to raise awareness of my condition and to share my advice on feeling confident. Although talking about my port wine stain in my first video was difficult, I did it because I thought it might help other people with visible difference who were going through what I experienced.

And seeing that people had watched my video, commented on it, and emailed me their stories has made me realise just how important it is to speak about our experiences.

It brings a real sense of community and shows that, whatever we’re going through, we’re not alone.

My initial aim with sharing my story online was to help at least one person, so I am so thankful to have been able to grow my platforms and use my voice to help many more people embrace who they are and feel more confident.

In the future, I hope to be able to share what I have learned with other people with visible differences who are taking their first steps in their careers.

When I started my first job, I felt scared about how to present myself in the workplace. I didn’t know whether to wear make-up or be natural, and I couldn’t stop thinking about it. In the end, I decided to wear make-up on my first day.

I then felt scared to stop wearing make-up at work and worried that I wouldn’t be accepted because of my visible difference.

As this was going on, I started to film more videos for my channel without make-up. Over time, this helped me to become more confident in my appearance. Eventually, I went into work without make-up and, while that was hard to do, I pushed through and embraced it – and ever since I did that, I have not felt ashamed or scared!

On the right: A woman, early 20s, with long dark hair and glasses, wearing a white jumper, green jeans, and a work lanyard, is sitting on a white bench next to a plant with an office space in the background. On the left: A woman in her late teens, wearing a t-shirt and pink jogging bottoms, points to an NHS sign which says: ''Welcome to Great Ormond Street Hospital''

Prisha is a Changing Faces campaigner

That’s not to say I still don’t face challenges. When I have won awards in the past year, for example, I feel a bit scared about what picture to choose for them. I fear that if I wear too much make-up, they will forget I have a birthmark, and if I don’t wear make-up, they will be shocked and stare.

Whenever any of these worries start to overwhelm me, I speak to my friends and family about how I feel. That always really helps me.

Yes, we face obstacles, some more than others, but we’re still like everyone else.

I have definitely felt more conscious of my appearance since working from home became the new normal. While I know some people have benefitted from turning off cameras during video calls, and Changing Faces has some great advice on this topic, I have decided to keep my camera on.

I just remind myself to be confident in what I’m saying and to remember that if I am being myself in the meeting, that is what is important. My work colleagues are super supportive and are very understanding of my condition.

In the future, I hope to be able to share what I have learned with other people with visible differences who are taking their first steps in their careers. I would love to mentor people so that they feel able to embrace their visible difference in the workplace and be proud of themselves!

It matters to me that people with a visible difference are seen in society as normal people. Yes, we face obstacles, some more than others, but we’re still like everyone else.

Growing up, I would have loved to see a make-up brand featuring someone who looked like me.

I recently appeared in a new advertising campaign for Sleek MakeUP – alongside two of Changing Faces’ other campaigners – which advocates for more representation for people with visible differences in the beauty industry. Growing up, I would have loved to see a make-up brand featuring someone who looked like me, so I really hope that by taking part I can help other people with visible differences feel seen.

Tackling that lack of positive representation of people with visible differences in advertising and across the media is hugely important to me. I spent a long time hiding away and feeling like I didn’t fit in.

Now I’m living my dream. I’m doing the job I’ve always wanted, I’m campaigning for other people like me to be represented, and I’m working with a brilliant, creative brand showing that people with a visible difference can do anything that they want.

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