(NEW YORK) — Every bride wants to look her best at her wedding day.
For Ferrin Roy, that meant proudly displaying the birthmark on her face.
“It was never a thought to cover it,” she told ABC News.
Roy, 30, was born with a congenital nevus, or large birthmark, that covers four inches of her right cheek.
“Growing up was a breeze for me,” the Baton Rouge, Louisiana, woman said, noting that her mother, Connie Price Fontenot, instilled in her a sense of confidence that would prove invaluable against bullies.
“My mother was actually my voice,” Roy said. “She’d notice the stares. She basically defended me. It wasn’t until 4th grade until I began to notice the stares.”
But by high school, the bride said she was more concerned “about pimples than my birthmark.”
Fontenot, 48, said she knew when she laid eyes on her daughter in the hospital that she would teach Roy to embrace the mark.
“We weren’t going to be ashamed of it,” she told ABC News. “I knew at that moment that I would teach her not to be ashamed of it. If she was accepting of it then others would have to be accepting as well.”
Roy’s now-husband, Shavayne, whom she met on Instagram, proposed after just four months. The two wed in front of 120 guests on Aug. 13, 2016 in Lafayette, Louisiana.
On her wedding day, just like in all of her life, Roy proudly sported her birthmark.
“I don’t like makeup on my birthmark at all. I wipe it off,” the bride said. “It’s a part of my face and it’s not something I should be ashamed of. I’m me and I’m not afraid to be me.”
Roy, who shared her story in a new book called The Mark She Kept, said she’s happy her story went viral as she hopes it’ll inspire others who have face birthmarks or pigmentation.
“People are so eager to look for acceptance from each other. Everyone loves a compliment. But it’s really about how you feel about yourself,” she said.
Her mother also had a message for parents who might be dealing with a child with pigmentation.
“I was 17 years old when Ferrin was born and I endured a lot with parents, but again I stood my ground and I trusted God and believed what he allowed to happen was his purpose,” she said. “You have to teach others how to treat you.”
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