LOS ANGELES (CBSLA..com) — After years of covering up a prominent birthmark on her face, an actress decided to put it on display.
Paige Lauren Billiot exudes confidence in front of the camera now. But she was not always like that.
“I’ve always trying to focus on why this happened. Why can’t I be just like everybody else?” she recalled.
The 23-year-old was born with a port-wine stain birthmark that covers most of the left side of her face, her neck and her ear.
Billiot said she was teased and bullied growing up because of it. “I had a little boy, probably in third grade, who tried to choke me,” she remembered.
In fifth grade, the she decided to take control of her situation and faced her imperfection head-on.
“I asked the teacher if I could get in front of the class and just introduce myself to get it done and over with. As hard as it was, I got up and told them this is me, and this is a birthmark and I was born with it,” Billiot said.
Her confidence grew over time, and she decided to pursue a lifelong dream of being in front of the camera.
She moved to Los Angeles to pursue acting two years ago and decided to do a photo shoot without covering up her birthmark, but by highlighting it instead.
Billiot hopes her photos will help inspire others to embrace their imperfections. She has started a social media campaign called the Flawless Affect to encourage other people to submit photos of their flaws and help tackle the stigma around body imperfections.
“I’m just hoping, through this project, we can raise awareness about all kinds of flaws, conditions, diseases and just really inspire to embrace that,” Billiot said.