Iomikoe Woods is incredible. Before even speaking with her, I know this lady is going to bring an amazing energy to my day! We've exchanged a couple of voice messages on Instagram and she expresses herself with a radiance that bounces out of my speakers. You only need scroll her page to understand what she's about. Radiant, positive, beauty.
"I'm the Vitiligo Goddess" she beams at me! "Not my name, BuzzFeed called me that!" Her kids and grandkids are running in and out of her lounge whilst she urges them to give her some peace to Skype-chat with me. It's 80+ degrees in Louisiana and the bright, bubbly vibe of her home matches her magnetic personality.
With over one hundred thousand followers on Tik Tok and articles in newspapers around the world, Iomikoe takes life and celebrity status in her stride. "I'm an influencer" she tells me, "that influence should be used to do good". Goodness is what she is all about. She hasn't always felt so confident in her own skin and it's clear her raw vulnerability attracts others who need an empathetic ear.
Iomikoe would spend over an hour a day on camouflage makeup to hide her vitiligo patches and would only wear long sleeved tops. It wasn't until her fiancé told her he loved her no matter what, that she decided to ditch the cover up.
In this podcast we discuss what life has been like for Iomikoe, living in the deep south with such a visible skin condition. We also address how she feels about her complexion turning white - vitiligo means her skin will lose all its pigment one day. And we talk openly about the death of George Floyd, the racism experienced by her kids, and how we both hope her grandkids will live through a very different future.
There are tears, there is laughter - strap yourself in for an emotional ride.