How many albinos are there statistically

Albinism: Nowhere as common as in South Africa

The high heels are the biggest problem. Thando Hopa was reluctant to put them on at her first fashion show. Her eyes are bad, she is very far-sighted like many people with albinism, and she has difficulty focusing on objects. That doesn't go well with the stairs of the catwalks. And the whole thing on high heels that she has avoided all her life? Not because of rare beauty, Thando Hopa thought, the photographers will be given a laughing stock right away. If only she hadn't listened to her sister.

The sister, she is probably responsible for the career of South Africa's most successful model with albinism. Thando Hopa laughed and told her three years ago that she had been approached by the young fashion designer Gert-Johan Coetzee in a Johannesburg shopping center. “He wants me to model for him. What nonsense, ”said Thando Hopa. You and this lifestyle? No way.

But the sister didn't laugh with her: "Do it," she said. “Don't be so conservative. Don't see it as a modeling job, but as an opportunity to break the albinism stigma. ”After all, it wasn't just her, but her little brother too.

From outcast to superstar

At that time, models with albinism such as Stephen Thompson, Shaun Ross and Diandra Forrest were already established in industrialized nations. The Italian Madonna costume designer Riccardo Tisci in particular relied on the game with surprising optics even before Coetzee. But in Africa, where albinism can lead to life-threatening hunts in some places, Thando Hopa's modeling career was tantamount to a revolution. "Forbes Life Africa" ​​magazine featured her in its first issue, and her face is in demand in fashion magazines around the world today. Many people in Johannesburg recognize them on the street. Stranger children hugged her in a parking lot a few days ago and called her name. Just because.