SAMUEL SILVA: PIEBALDISM VS. VITILIGO

Updated: Jun 2, 2020

Samuel Silva on his normal life as a little boy in everyday life.


Samuel Silva is one of the most successful international kid models and is already heading for a great career in the fashion world at just 6 years old. When I first discovered Samuel on social media, I was fascinated by how consciously and wonderfully he deals with his complexion and how confidently he reveals it with his childish presence. I assumed that Samuel was affected by Vitiligo, a white spot disorder, but I was quickly taught otherwise. Samuel's name for the appearance of his skin is called Piebaldism. I had never heard of it myself. Admittedly, at first glance it looks identical to Vitiligo, which is why I assumed it myself. Well, if you take a closer look at it, you can definitely see the difference between the various pigment disorders and of course these are completely different in dermatology. Meanwhile I was also able to learn that Samuel is not the only one of his family with piebaldism. His mother, grandmother, and cousins ​​are affected, so that the different looks in the family have become quite normal. Of course, despite the much positive response that Samuel has now achieved, people's staring is unfortunately not always left out. As a family, however, they stick together and defy all resistance. Piebaldism is, so to speak, the characteristic of the family and is also known there as a beloved birthmark.


The term piebaldism describes the hereditary form of partially pronounced albinism with depigmentation of skin areas, hair and / or the iris. A white forehead curl is formed in 90% of cases. The white forehead curl has a characteristic appearance. It is a hair heterochromia. It grows in the forehead area and its tip is directed downwards. A causal therapy of piebaldism is not possible.

Vitiligo, on the other hand, is a chronic skin disorder in which white spots appear on the skin due to loss of pigment. Vitiligo is painless, not contagious and is often seen only as a cosmetic problem. However, it can be perceived by patients as stigmatizing and psychologically stressful, especially if the foci appear on the face. Vitiligo can be divided into a non-segmental and a less common segmental form. In the non-segmental form, which accounts for around 90% of cases, the depigmented areas affect both sides of the body and are usually strikingly symmetrical. The spots can expand and flow together over a large area until at some point almost the entire skin is discolored. The segmental shape affects one or more areas of skin on one side of the body and is more common in children than in adults. In turn, with albinism there is a congenital metabolic disorder of pigment formation without the spots typical of vitiligo appearing.

Since I have no medical background myself, I would like to avoid further information and direct the floor back to Samuel Silva. This little star is a supermodel and has already experienced a lot. Samuel, who comes from Salvador Bahia in Brazil, is already under contract with one of the most successful modeling agencies in Europe. He has had his first successes on catwalks such as the Kid's Fashion Week in London, Canada and Paris and is in outstanding kids fashion magazines such as the Harper's Bazaar Kids. I think we can be excited about what we will see from Samuel in the future. In any case, I wish him every success. One should not forget one thing, society trains us to compare. But we are not competitors. The exchange alone strengthens. I am extremely grateful for the cooperation with great people who shape my year. They are great mirrors. Pioneering moments with other people lead to our greatest personal growth and they also clarify, as was the case with me now. Afterwards I was interested in Samuel's interests and views, which he encounters in everyday life as a normal little boy.

Selina Reinhart: What are you doing on a perfect day?

Samuel Silva: The perfect day would be at the beach, all day long, playing on the seashore with the sand and the waves. I am not allowed to go to the beach during the day and I always have to get there when the sun is starting to go down. Because of my skin condition I need to wear lots of sun block and I can’t stay out in the sun, so that is a problem for me, unfortunately.

What would you like to have more time for?

I would like to have more time to play. My mom makes me do homework everyday and I just want to go out and play with my friends, but we are not allowed.

What makes you happy?

Seeing my family together makes me happy. And also travelling and doing Fashion Week around the world.

What makes you sad?

When my mom tells me off because I don’t tidy up my room or I spend too much time on my tablet, that makes me upset. (Samuel is a very happy and cheerful kid, he is not usually sad …)

What are you proud of?

I am proud of my mom because she has also piebaldism and she tells me that we are beautiful. What superpower do you want?

If I could have a super power, I woud love to be big and strong to help people who suffer discrimination and bullying because of being different’ like me. I would love to be able to fly and go everywhere I want. What are you afraid of?

I am afraid of sleeping alone at night , in the dark. I like to have a light on at all times. If you were a teacher, what would you teach?

I don’t want to be a teacher. [laughs]. Maybe I would teach how to draw. What would be a really great gift for you right now?

Great gift:  I would love a new knapsack to go back to school. When were you really brave?

I am brave when other kids make fun of me because I have white ‘stains’ on my skin. I tell them it is because I am an international model and then they understand. What is your favorite color?

My favourite color is Yellow. What would you like to change in the world?

I would like to stop bullying altogether. And also I would invent a vaccine for coronavirus. What is your absolute dream job?

Dream job: (he doesn’t know..) Who are your role models?

Role models: Winnie Harlow, because she is like me; and my mom, because she teaches me everything I need. If your life was a book, what title would it be?

If my life were a book tittle, it would be : “Bobby and I” (Bobby is my dog and I love him very much) What do you like to do best?

I like going to the beach, watching music videos on youtube, dancing, playing with my dog, and I don’t like to do homework. [laughs] What do you particularly like about yourself?

I like the fact that I am different because I have a skin condition, and people seem very happy to take pictures of me and they tell me I am beautiful. Other people make fun, but most people are ok with it.

I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did,

but people will never forget how you made them feel.

- Maya Angelou


Model: Samuel Silva @shamuelmodel

Writer: Selina Reinhart @vitiligo.babe

Special Thanks goes to Julio Sánchez Velo @chezvelo for trusting me to write this article.

Photography Credits:

Photographer: @tomalmeida.staf

Models: @shamuelmodel @gwen_stefany_carvalho @mapadafavelaoficial @nivianeiunhas

Styling: @fredsonnsilvaaguda

Mua: @makeupelileite e @rickymarcellsantini

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