Model and Actress
Diandra Forrest is an African-American model and actress. She is the first female model with albinism to be signed to a major modelling agency. Her striking beauty has caught the attention of many magazines and she has walked in numerous international fashion shows. Her passion for art and creativity has also drawn her into the world of acting.
Meet Diandra Forrest
I realised I had albinism at the age of nine. I grew up in a family of five children, in which only my younger brother and I had the condition. As a child, I often felt out of place.
I had neighbourhood friends who asked my older brother if I was adopted. In school, or even on the train with my mum, there would be parents, adults, who stared at my brother and me and laughed at us. I didn’t understand why.
New Found Confidence
It is not easy being a person with albinism because of the lack of understanding of what the condition is, even in the modelling industry where I have been working for the past few years.
People with albinism are looked at as something that is maybe extra-terrestrial, an odd beauty, not just a regular beauty, whatever that is. It can be fun and entertaining but it should not be a freak show.
Over the years, I have found my confidence, as a person with albinism, as just a woman, so that sort of thing does not bother me anymore.
But I still hope for change: for children with albinism to know their beauty, and for their parents to instil that confidence in them.
I have always wanted to undertake a kind of ‘Big brother’, ‘Big Sister’ programme to mentor younger children with albinism, and to help their parents understand the condition and how it affects their children physically and emotionally.
Growing up, I would have loved to have someone older around who had albinism so I could see what I was going to look like when I grew up, just to motivate me, and who could understand some of the things I was going through.