Lina started this page to share her journey this May for Vascular Birthmarks Awareness Month, accept contributions to VBF in her honor, advocate against bullying, and inspire young girls like herself along their own birthmark journeys.
Michaeline Tejeda goes by Lina Dejesus. She’s a 22 year old cosmetology student, make-up artist, and instagram influencer, who was born with a vascular birthmark on her left lower lip that has been complicated and challenging to manage. Her goal is to raise awareness by bringing her followers along with her through her journey, while helping those like her, who have experienced bullying overcome that adversity and find their true calling, just as she did.
We are so grateful that Lina and her amazing community will be accepting contributions to VBF through this page. 100% goes to our non-profit mission of serving the 1 in 10 born world-wide with all kinds of vascular birthmarks, anomalies and related syndromes.
Read Lina’s story and use this page to make a contribution to VBF in her honor for VBF Awareness Month!
My name is Michaeline Tejeda De Jesús, but I go by Lina Dejesus for business inquiries. I was born in Dominican Republic with an angioma (cherry birthmark) on the lower left side of my lip and moved to the U.S shortly after my Dad was diagnosed with cancer.
You would think the transition of moving to a new country was difficult enough, but being born with a Vascular birthmark made things much harder for me overall, especially in school. I dealt with a lot of bullying and it was hard for me to make friends as it is because I didn’t know any English at the time, which made things harder to communicate with other kids or to educate them about my birthmark. My classmate & most kids I was surrounded by didn’t want to associate with me because of my looks.
Eventually, by third grade, I learned English and was able to communicate what my birthmark was to other kids. I made a couple of friends here and there, but things were still really difficult because I felt like an outcast. My Mom worked her hardest to help me be included and she put me in after school programs, which is where I found my love for dance and grew some much needed confidence. Still, I spent most summers alone because my parents were constantly working and we didn’t have anyone to take care of me.
In fourth grade, my parents finally bought me the computer I kept bugging them for and it made life a little easier and a whole lot brighter. I discovered YouTube and became obsessed with making YouTube videos of random funny things, and just blogging about anything. I made music videos – I was a whole YouTuber!
My life changed when I discovered my first make up tutorial and was hooked from there on. The confidence these girls my age and older had to be on camera and pack their faces with makeup brought me comfort. I remember I entered a giveaway once and won a bunch of makeup and that was when I knew I wanted to do this for life. I knew I wanted to help other girls that have felt the way I felt feel beautiful in their own skin.
But when I transitioned into Middle school/ High school, the nightmare truly began. All the friends I made went to different school and I was stuck having to make new friends. Although the language barrier was no longer an issue, kids still picked on me and made fun of me because of my looks and it made wanting to be at school miserable. I was constantly being picked on, laughed at, bullied. As a kid I was always very anxious, but all of this caused my anxiety to spiral into episodes of deep depression.
As I moved on to high school things got much worse. No matter how confident in myself I tried to portray myself as, girls didn’t like me and I became their favorite person to pick on. It was hard to even date boys because these people just made sure I couldn’t have a boyfriend…. things were just really dark and it made it hard to focus on the positive things. I went through suicidal thoughts and attempts because I just wanted to feel normal and I felt like I didn’t belong in this world.
After high school, I was a little lost. I had lost most of my friends and I didn’t even know what I wanted to major in, but I found grand comfort in makeup, beauty and fashion. It brought me peace. I struggled to transition into college and figuring out what I wanted to do until, one day, one girl from my high school asked me to do her makeup for prom and that she would paid me. I remember, not knowing whether I should do it or not, and – eventually – my ex convinced me, as he knew this is what I had been wanting to do and what I loved, so I did it!
It all sprung from there! I dropped out of college and started looking up cosmetology schools around the city to attend. Ever since, my whole life has changed! Also, about a year ago, my birthmark started to bring me some complications that really forced me to love myself as I am and my career of beauty even more.
I really want to bring awareness and help other girls that have felt the way I have through my platform. I want to take people along with me on this journey to find treatment, find myself and find self love so that I can help other girls by inspiring them to do the same!
Check Lina out on Instagram at: https://www.instagram.com/queenlina__/
You can also Sign the VBF Anti-Bullying Pledge in her honor.