YOUR STORY IN A NUTSHELL
My name is Reine-Herminione Etalle, I was born in Cameroon in a small countryside called Dibombari and came to France at the age of 6 and a half. I grew up in Val-de-Marne. Today, I am in business prep during the week & photo shoot on the weekend. The shoots helped me accept myself at first, then love myself and now it's more of a game!
YOUR MEDICAL CAREER:
I am a person born with a genetic anomaly, I am albino, it is an anomaly linked to a lack of melanin in the skin, hair and eyes. This causes vision problems, high photosensitivity. My skin is extremely sensitive to UV rays with an inability to tan.
As a child, living in Ile-de-France, I was followed for problems of visual impairment by the SDIDV (Departmental Service for the Integration of Disabled Children) and the SESSAD 14-25 (Special Education Service and home care for 14-25 year olds). I don't really have any follow-up today, it's more difficult to find the necessary support in the regions.
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE ?
The biggest challenge for me was to accept myself, to find myself beautiful and not to feel inferior to others or weird. It's complicated on a daily basis when people in the street look at you like you were different. The second biggest challenge that I had and still have to overcome is to fight not to be rejected in my own community.
Even today I am rejected, because people are afraid of people with albinism because of beliefs, myths or legends around albinism. Sometimes considered as angel, sometimes as demons.
I remember that in kindergarten, the children were not yet aware of the difference but that it quickly changed from primary school. I've been called 'Guinguerou', a derogatory term for albino, it's also an insult slur against someone with a lighter complexion.
WITH YOUR LOVED ONES HOW IS IT GOING ?
With my relatives, things are going very well, I'm lucky to be in a family that doesn't reject me for my albinism and that considers me as a whole person. My family & my friends love me for who I am.
WHAT IS YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH THE SUN?
I have skin that is very sensitive to UV rays, and I can't tan, only get sunburn. And too many sunburns can lead to skin cancer.
HOW DO YOU PROTECT YOURSELF ?
I use sunscreen with a minimum index of 50, I wear hats, sunglasses, in summer, long, loose clothing.
"Your livelihood is of no interest to me, I want to know what you long for and if you dare to dream of what your heart longs for." I don't care about your age, I want to know if you'll take the risk of looking stupid for love, for your dreams, for the adventure of being alive. »
This is the quote that best defines who I am and that I find the most inspiring!
You can find Reine-Herminione Etalle on her Instagram account: albino_and_human.