A ballet dancer who is covered from head-to-toe in birthmarks has described how her father tried to hide her away as a child - but says she has now learned to love her body.
Maria Isabel Olivieri, 22, from Palma, Spain, says she 'feels lucky' despite receiving 'unpleasant' looks and questions on a daily basis due to the marks on her skin, reported the Daily Mail.
The student has had over 40 operations to remove the birthmarks on the back of her legs, which had been causing her problems with her mobility.
Maria explained how the freckles began appearing all over her skin minutes after she was born.
Maria said her father initially blamed her mother for her being born with birthmarks all over her skin and tried to hide her away, making her feel 'ashamed'.
She described her childhood as 'hard', explaining how she would spend every holiday in hospital until the age of 13.
But now, Maria says she is proud of her birthmarks and has an Instagram account where she shares photographs of her 'skin of constellations'.
Describing her experiences growing up, she explained: "My father blamed my mother for being born like this and was always hiding me, I felt ashamed.
"My childhood was very hard, I spent every vacation of the year in hospital until I was thirteen.
"I had a giant piece from my knee to my back that prevented me total mobility, I was operated on and thanks to the ballet I am what you see today."
Despite her struggles, Maria says she has now come to terms with how she looks.
"I feel good about myself, coping with my daily life is not easy for people who often receive unpleasant looks and questions," she said.
"But I do not complain, I am aware at all times that there are people in worse situations and I have to feel lucky.
"People's reactions are always quite different but I always catch their attention wherever I go, my friends say they feel famous when they're with me but they will also stand up to rude people for me."
Maria has never counted her birthmarks and says she will never complain about her situation as she believes there are people who are worse off than her.
"It's important to value those who are different and to understand that staying at home is not the solution because nobody will live for you," she added.
"I am always aware that there are people in worse situations and I have to feel lucky.
"We must appreciate that we are alive, we have two legs and two arms and we have total mobility.
"The conclusion I have reached is that no matter what people will always look at you for something, if you're too tall, short, fat or thin, so I looked in the mirror once and decided I would be glad for people looking at me.
"I'm glad because I know that if they were in my place, few would go out on the street, I see in their looks of curiosity that deep down they admire me."