When Breanne Rice would cover her skin with layers of makeup, she always felt conflicted.
“People would see me, and the perfectly made up version of me, who looked like I had perfectly pigmented skin. And I felt like I was a false advertisement,” she tells PEOPLE.
Rice, a former model who went viral in March when she shared a photo of her makeup-free skin — vitiligo and all — for the first time after 12 years of hiding, is on the new season of TLC U.K.’s Too Ugly For Love?, though she did have hesitations about the show’s name.
“It’s controversial, of course, but I wasn’t going to let that deter me,” Rice, 31, says. “The title grabs your attention, but I think it’s talking about the mindset of people feeling not good enough and allowing their condition to keep them from stepping out and feeling beautiful.”
Rice certainly had that mindset before, and would often feel like she was hiding her true self, especially in her dating life.
“I had this inner conflict, because when men would see me they would see that version of me, and I felt insecure about if they saw the other version of me, without any makeup on,” she says. Rice would ask herself, “Are they still going to find me attractive?”
“And feeling like I had to be perfect all the time was attracting the wrong types of people into my life, who would just look at the outside and not who I was. It was this inner conflict I was dealing with.”
Now any potential date can quickly find the real Rice with a Google search, and she feels like the experience has made her stronger.
“I’m more vulnerable with people now, and I think in the past I thought being vulnerable was being weak, and I’m a strong woman, I’ve been through a lot, and showing that side of me and talking about vitiligo now, I think that’s a sign of strength and boldness and not that I’m a weak person,” she says. “It shows confidence, and that I’ve accepted this.”
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Rice says the self-doubt about showing her vitiligo does creep in from time to time — “I am human, and I can’t say some days I don’t notice it” — but she hopes to inspire others to find their confidence too.
“I think we have an amazing movement going on right now with self love and self acceptance, and beautiful isn’t a specific look, or a specific size, or a specific color, it’s everyone,” she says. “And for me, I wanted to use this opportunity to help other women learn to love themselves.”
“You are supposed to be you. There’s enough of all of us, and you are meant to be you.”