Xueli Abbing challenges decades of unreal beauty standards in the modeling industry. Fortunately, recent years have seen a rise in campaigns breaking such prejudices. Vogue even recognized the beauty of Xueli Abbing, an albino model, and we bring you her inspiring story.
Xueli Abbing was left outside of an orphanage.
Xueli Abbing, born with albinism, faced challenges due to the lack of pigment, making her highly sensitive to sunlight. In some parts of the world, superstitions persist around this condition, posing a serious threat. She was abandoned by her parents as a result.
Her name mirrors her looks.
Due to the lack of information from her birth parents, she’s unaware of her birthday. Named Xue Li by the orphanage staff for her pale skin and white hair, meaning “beautiful snow,” she was adopted by a Dutch family at age 3. Her mother appreciated that Xueli’s name not only mirrored her appearance but also honored her Chinese heritage.
Initially, Xueli Abbing was unaware of her success.
At the age of 11, Xueli connected with a designer aiming to create a campaign for individuals with disabilities. This initiative, named Perfect Imperfections, catapulted a captivating albino girl into the modeling scene. Subsequently, she participated in numerous photoshoots, with one of her images gracing the pages of Vogue Italia’s June 2019 edition. Initially, Xueli acknowledged that she didn’t fully grasp the significance of the magazine.
Despite her lack of sight, she discovered the silver lining.
As melanin plays a role in the formation of cells at the back of the eye, individuals with albinism often experience vision challenges. Despite this, Xueli remains resilient. “Maybe because I cannot see everything properly, I focus more on people’s voices and what they have to say,” she shares. “So their inner beauty is more important to me.”
Xueli Abbing aims to promote a message of inclusivity and actively combat discrimination.
Leveraging her social media influence, Xueli champions awareness for individuals with albinism. Disturbed by their misrepresentation as ghosts or angels, she asserts her belief that differences don’t define her, aiming to showcase this to the world.
Currently, she serves as a UNESCO Ambassador.
Recently appointed as a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador, Xueli is dedicated to challenging traditional beauty norms and dismantling barriers in the modeling industry. “I’m just one person. Now with this title of Goodwill Ambassador, I can use it to raise more awareness. By seeing more disabled people in the media, people will begin to think it’s normal,” she expressed.