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Lotta Hinsta Says Her Vitiligo Is Beautiful

The SI Swim Search finalist calls her white spots beauty marks instead of flaws.

Lotta Hinsta is all about pushing boundaries. The Finland native is a high-altitude climber and endurance athlete. But her appearance in the 2022 SI Swimsuit issue caught a ton of attention recently. The Swim Search finalist showed off her vitiligo spots—a condition where pale white patches develop on the skin—while posing in a swimsuit. We chatted with her about the reaction she’s received from fans and how she hopes her appearance changes the definition of beauty.

“It has definitely been exciting for me! I mean, the energy that is released after a dream comes true is something very special. I’m still training and climbing full-time, but I’ve also been taking on more modeling jobs again because it’s just so much fun!”

What has been the best part of the experience?

“All the people I’ve met during this experience! The women in The Swimfluence Network, the other finalists and the amazing team in Punta Cana. There’s just this incredibly positive, inspiring and empowering vibe around the entire SI Swimsuit brand. I don’t think I’ve ever encountered anything like it."

View Lotta Hinsta's full 2020 gallery here.

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How do you hope this will help your platform?

“I believe this will strengthen my platform because it reinforces my personal messaging. The SI Swimsuit brand is redefining femininity in this world in a powerful way, and I am extremely grateful to have that strength associated with my platform. I hope that the authentic expression of myself, being a woman in extreme sports, can serve their messaging, too."

What was the reaction to showing your vitiligo spots?

“At least it’s been all over the news in Finland. Despite having been in the public eye for nine years and doing quite a few photo shoots, this is the first time they’re properly on display. I’ve been comfortable with them for a long time myself, but photographers and editors haven’t been. I’m so grateful that the SI Swimsuit team was O.K. with showing them off and actually encouraging it. I’ve gotten so many grateful comments from people who either have vitiligo or have loved ones who have it, and see the skin condition on a platform like SI Swimsuit has helped them feel more comfortable and embrace their own white spots.”

Why didn’t you want them photoshopped out?

“Because it’s my truth, and I don’t think you can go wrong with being true to yourself and others. Of course, it helps that I’ve learned to embrace them as something unique and something I honestly like about myself. As a bonus, I think it’s always good to challenge people’s perspectives and remind them that they have the freedom to choose how they perceive things. For example: will you choose to perceive vitiligo as beauty marks or flaws?”

What message do you hope this sends to other women?

“It’s all about your inner dialogue and proactively deciding which thoughts strengthen you. I hope that women will remember that they have the freedom to choose to feel beautiful and not feel shackled to some idea of unattainable appearance. You always choose to look at yourself, others, and the entire world through love or fear. They’re the undercurrent in everything we are, think or do. And what I’ve found is that choosing love strengthens us. I hope I can keep reinforcing that message throughout my life. Mostly by doing, not just talking.”