Bezzy Psoriasis is excited to celebrate Women’s History Month this March. We are proud to highlight some special women who have changed the psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis (PsA) communities for the better.
Without a doubt, the following women have contributed to conversations about psoriasis and PsA. Whether you recognize their names or not, their influence is undeniable.
Kim Kardashian is a socialite, global media personality, businesswoman, aspiring lawyer, and psoriasis advocate. She revealed this diagnosis on her family’s reality TV series, “Keeping up with the Kardashians.” She has since shared her experiences with treatment and symptom management, as well the effect that the condition has had on her career.
Bringing this kind of attention to this disease has had a huge effect on the psoriasis and PsA community. Kardashian certainly serves as validation and inspiration for her fans who live with these conditions. In the bigger scheme of things, bringing this level of attention to the condition will only stimulate new research and more funding for psoriasis and PsA.
Cyndi Lauper is a singer, songwriter, and actor who has won Grammy, Tony, and Emmy awards. She is best known for songs like “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” (1983), “Time After Time” (1984), and “True Colors” (1986). She has also spoken with the National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF) about the physical, emotional, and social effects of the disease.
She went a step further and partnered with the NPF and Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation on I’m PsO Ready, a national initiative to encourage people with psoriasis to speak out and take the next step in their journey. You can read more about her efforts on LookToTheStars.org, where celebrities are highlighted for participating in charity, news, events, and good causes.
Lauper recently shared with the psoriasis community that stress management and making time for herself are also important to managing her psoriasis.
Actor and bestselling author, La La Anthony, is a psoriasis warrior and advocate. (You may also know her from her marriage to Los Angeles Lakers basketball player Carmelo Anthony from 2010–2021.) She teamed up with the NPF and launched the Picture Positivity campaign in 2015. This campaign was used to share her story and help others to find confidence, despite a psoriasis diagnosis.
Anthony encouraged people with psoriasis to remain open and not hide their condition. She shared makeup tips and tricks for people with psoriasis, as well as ways she has found work best for her to manage flares. She also brought light to the mental health aspect of this disease, which is still not always talked about openly throughout the psoriasis community.
LeAnn Rimes is a two-time Grammy award-winning country star who has been advocating with the NPF since 2009. She published a photo essay in Glamour in 2020, telling the world that it was time to be honest about psoriasis. She also talked about how the COVID-19 pandemic created a high stress environment that caused her psoriasis symptoms to flare.
As with other big stars who advocate for health conditions, LeAnn Rimes’ efforts to bring public attention to psoriasis over a period of time can only improve awareness, resources, and funding for the psoriasis and PsA community.
Stacy London, fashion icon and psoriasis warrior, is well known for her role in the television show “What Not to Wear.” She received a psoriasis diagnosis when she was 4 years old. She was bullied harshly as a child and found fashion to give her the comfort she was looking for.
She partnered with AbbVie, the pharmaceutical company, in 2013 to work on a campaign called Uncover Your Confidence. This offers resources for people living with psoriasis. She also shares fashion tips that are compatible with living with psoriasis on many platforms. Lastly, she encourages people with psoriasis to gain as much information and knowledge about psoriasis as possible to better manage it.
Nitika Chopra lives with psoriasis and PsA and is also a chronic illness advocate. She founded Chronicon, an online community of support for people with chronic health conditions. It started with a live event in 2019, which sold out, both in person and live stream, and completely took off from there.
Chopra has been known for giving people with psoriasis and other chronic conditions hope through podcasts, online support, a sought-after perk program, and personalized coaching. She even connects people with chronic conditions to partnership and employment opportunities, which has historically been an unmet need in the psoriasis and chronic illness community.
She launched an app in January 2023 to continue to build the support system that she always wanted for herself.
Ciena Rae, a Los Angeles–based actor who lives with psoriasis, is best known for her advocacy efforts in spreading awareness of the seriousness of psoriasis, stating that skin conditions are not just cosmetic after a hospitalization related to complications from a severe flare. She has also disclosed the use of makeup and photo editing techniques to hide her severe psoriasis.
With almost 20,000 followers on Instagram alone, she openly shares her ups and downs, admitting that she will never be cured but is learning to manage stress. She also emphasizes the importance of self-love through the process of managing the condition itself.
Jude Avril Duncan, psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis warrior and digital creator, is located in Scotland. She first received a psoriasis diagnosis as a young adult away at college, and she found herself in a state of depression after many failed medications and treatments.
Her advocacy efforts highlight the fact that a person only lives with their skin condition; they are never defined by it. She also encourages persistence when seeking medical care and to never give up on finding a treatment that may work. She is passionate about psoriasis-friendly skin care, and you can check out her website here.
Vicki L. Wilkerson lives with psoriasis and is a wife, mother, grandmother, and psoriasis advocate. Although her journey to a diagnosis was quite smooth, starting with her primary care provider having strong knowledge about psoriasis, she has coped with feeling alone and isolated due to her skin condition. She is an active volunteer with the NPF and spends her volunteer time sitting on panels and talking one-on-one with people who are coping with their diagnosis.
Holly Dillon, psoriasis warrior and social media advocate, started the #GetYourSkinOut movement. Despite receiving a diagnosis during puberty, at a time when most women are already uncomfortable with their constantly changing bodies, she decided to embrace the rash that never seemed to stop spreading and show it off whenever possible. Dillon advocates that there is no perfect body or perfect skin.
Ashley Featherson, a psoriasis warrior since age 4, is a proud advocate for psoriasis community members who are Black or People of Color. She emphasizes the relevance of treating not only active psoriatic plaques but also the resulting pigment change that is left behind long after the spots have gone. She also talks about the complicated treatments for scalp psoriasis and how it disproportionately affects People of Color. Check out her website here, where she shows off her food scientist skills and offers a wide variety of herbal creations.
Alisha M. Bridges, a psoriasis advocate and blogger, received a psoriasis diagnosis at just 7 years old. As an adult, she has shed light on the mental toll this condition takes on young women. She is also an advocate for People of Color with psoriasis and people with psoriasis from marginalized communities.
She has also brought to light that People of Color and people from marginalized communities have low participation in clinical trials, making the data somewhat skewed.
Bridges has a blog where she writes about her life with psoriasis and easily inspires thousands of people living with psoriasis with each new post. Her biggest advocacy accomplishment was serving as a volunteer with the NPF by traveling to Capitol Hill to talk with congress members about psoriasis research and legislation.
Jenny (Parker) Durand is a PsA patient, advocate, nurse, and Bezzy PsA’s official guide. You may have seen her advocacy efforts on BezzyPsA or on social media. As a nurse and gymnast, her first symptoms of PsA were confusing and scary. She turned to social media and the internet for support.
She is best known for her advocacy efforts about the truth that psoriasis and PsA are not an “old person’s disease.” She has also recently given birth to a beautiful baby girl and has posted about her journey with PsA throughout her pregnancy.
Whether their influence is global or community-centered, these women all play an integral role in advocacy for psoriatic conditions. Bezzy Psoriasis is happy to celebrate these influential women during Women’s History Month and beyond.
Fact checked on March 14, 2023
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