We love it that this beautiful photo of Brandon and Nicole Wylie is changing the way people view vitiligo. The couple became an inspiration to thousands of people after their Facebook photo went viral across the web.
The Wylies shared their story with Black And Married With Kids :
Photos don’t go viral as often, but over the last few weeks a beautiful wedding photo has done just that. This photo belongs to Nicole and Brandon Wylie, who recently celebrated their 6th year wedding anniversary
BMWK: First, I want to thank you both for sharing your story. We were excited to hear from Nicole. Can you share with us what happened when you posted the wedding picture on Facebook recently? Nicole, you posted it right?
Nicole: Well, Actually, both of us posted it.
Brandon: So, we were at dinner celebrating our 6 year wedding anniversary and I was looking across the table over a bucket of crab legs just gazing into her eyes and I thought to myself, let me update my Facebook page with a picture of my boo. I said alright I’ll change my background picture. When I did that, didn’t think anything of it. That’s all I did and I showed it to her and said remember this? And she goes “ahhh” while she’s cracking the crab legs and the juice hit me in the eye. So I started crying cause the crab juice hit me in the eye.
Brandon: By the time we got home that evening we literally had about 700 likes. I said what is going on. She doesn’t know 700 people.
Brandon: I’m like babe this thing is growing. Then it’s like over 1.4k. I’m like what! Before that night was over, the first night, the picture on my page got to about 3,000 likes, the first night. The first 6 hours of the posting.
BMWK: Okay, I found that to be so interesting. What were the other sites it was posted to?
Nicole: There were several sites. First, I was taken back by how many people liked the picture. When I looked at other sites, I was then like wow. A lot of people were making comments. Some were nice, like congratulations. Others were more like, he married her despite how she looks. Just a little unsettling, some of them. As if I was unworthy to marry. I would spend nights looking at the comments to see what people were saying.
Brandon: There were comments from across the world. There were some in Arabic, Spanish, Chinese.
Hit the flip for more on their experience and how they met, along with more photos
BMWK: What was your initial reaction?
Nicole: At first I thought, that’s cool that so many would like my picture. Then once you start reading, the sensitive side was like oh that’s mean. But after a while, I just kind of accepted it. Because I received personal emails from people. One of them from a young lady who actually has Vitiligo and she was basically telling me I was an inspiration because she’s younger, she’s 18. She thought she was doomed to never get married and no one was ever going to love her or like her because of the way she looked. That touched me, because she’s telling me I’m an inspiration to her to let her know she doesn’t have to hide from being who she is and she hopes she can find love, because I found love. That right there was a blessing. If it only touched one person…
BMWK: Then it was worth it.
Brandon: There was one young lady who looked like she was in her early 20s she went to my personal page and copied a different picture, and copied 4 pictures and made a picture collage on her page. She wrote a comment on her page, this is real love and hopefully I’ll find real love like this one day. It touched her family members. They commented “we love you, you’re loved, you’ll be happy”. She was encouraged, but it touched the family members who may have felt like they weren’t showing her love. It was ironic, she opened up through us and got a message to her family.
Nicole: When I was getting married, my skin was at it’s whitest. I’m not as white as I was then.
Brandon: No where near it.
Nicole: No where near. My Vitiligo was really bad when I was getting married. I mean, I look like I have Vitiligo everyday, but my face is more brown now. It’s noticeable, but not as out there as it was when I was getting married. Maybe that’s the reason. I have no idea what triggered it to go how it went. It was nothing extra about the picture.
Brandon: It’s a beautiful picture.
Nicole: Yes, it’s a beautiful picture.
BMWK: Why do you feel it was important to share your story?
Nicole: I feel that, first off I have Vitiligo, it’s not contagious. There’s nothing that’s awful. My husband actually loves me. He didn’t marry me cause I was different or cause…
Brandon: Her father had paper though.
Nicole: Whatever. We had comments like she must be rich. Or he didn’t want to bring home a black woman to his mom. So she’s turning white, so now it’s okay.
Brandon: There was also a brother who said I had the best of both worlds.
That’s crazy that people have nerve to post such ignorant comments… Hit the flip for Brandon and Nicole’s beautiful story of how they met.
BMWK: Okay, now let’s get to the good part. How did you meet?
Brandon: Coincidently, I was at Morehouse as a freshman the same year she was at Clark Atlanta as a freshman. We never met, never crossed paths. I’m from Connecticut, she’s from Jersey. We moved down here the same year in 95.
Just so you know. My mom introduced me to her high school boyfriend, when I was 14 and he was an older guy and he had Vitiligo. So I was 14 when I was introduced to a person who had the skin disorder. Of course I was a kid, so I asked questions. He explained it was just a skin disorder, and your body stops producing melanin. I learned that and didn’t think of it again because I never saw anyone else who had it. I moved down here 7 years later, we were both taking classes at a community college, here in Atlanta. I came to class on time, she came two weeks late.
BMWK: Two weeks?
Nicole: See, that’s where he exaggerates. It was just a late registration.
Brandon: It’s a pre-calculus class, not an easy class. I sit in the furthest back row with a buddy of mine. There is a chair between us, there are empty chairs everywhere. Class probably occupied 28, there were probably 14 students in the class. Again, back row middle of the classroom, she walks in across the room to teacher who says oh nice of you to join us. Yeah, she stunted across the room, left foot in front of right foot. My buddy and I were already peeping out the females in the the class. I peeped at him and said to him “I got this one”. Remember, half of the room is empty. Teacher said find a seat ANYWHERE. She comes to the back row and sits right next to me.
BMWK: Brandon, how did you know she was the one?
Brandon: I don’t know if guys go through that “the one” thing. We do become suckers for love though. We do succumb to the writing on the wall. We feel the same way, but I never had that sense of she’s the one. I had confirmation throughout our relationship. My mom and Nikki are Scorpios. My sister loved her. My friends all like her personality and her approach to womanhood being an individual. And her positive outlook on things. How strong of a person she is. They all know that Vitiligo is something some people just can’t deal with. The stares from adults out in public, the questions and comments from kids not knowing any better. We’ve traveled to the East and West Coast, Islands, people from all walks of life can walk right by her and not think twice about her skin. Then, there are people right here in the hood, in the city, show they have no couth, the pointing and the staring. It’s sometimes uncomfortable for me. But she just swings her hair and keeps walking. She leads a great life, and walks a good walk and is a great mom. She is “the one” so I did choose right. She’s cool people.
What a heartwarming story!