In Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code, a monk named Silas suffered from a unique defect which made his character more unforgettable. This condition is called albinism – a congenital disorder characterized by the absence of pigmentation on the skin, hair and eyes. This condition is caused by a defect in the production of melanin, a substance that gives color to our skin, hair and iris.
In detail, albinism is caused by a mutation in the “P” gene which is responsible for carrying out chemically coded instructions for the production of melanin. This mutation results to a significant decline in the amount of melanin. Albinism is also associated with several vision impairments such as astigmatism. Because of the absence of melanin on their skin, albinos are also more prone to skin cancer and sun burns.
There are many albinos in reality that became famous not because of their condition, but because of their contributions in various industries. Get to know famous people with albinism in this compiled list.
This Grammy Award-winning guitarist, singer and producer is best known for his high-energy blues-rock albums and performances. He and his brother, Edgar Winter, were born with albinism. Despite their condition, they were both raised by their parents to pursue musical interests. For his contributions in the music industry, Johnny was inducted into the Blues Foundation Hall of Fame in was included in Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.”
Born in 1949 in the city of Djoliba, Mali, Keita is one of the most famous albino people in music. Today, he is an internationally recognized afro-pop singer-songwriter, but he also endured ridicule once in his younger years. Albinism is considered bad luck in Mandinka culture, thus he was cast out by his family and ostracized by his community. He redeemed himself by pursuing a career in music and becoming the “Golden Voice of Africa.” He is said to be the direct descendant of the founder of the Mali Empire, Sundiata Keita.
King Edward the Confessor of England
Going back in history, King Edward was regarded as the last king of the House of Wessex. He ruled from 1042 to 1066. His long white hair, beard and pale skin led historians to believe that he is an albino. As a ruler, his biographers pictured him as a successful king who was unworldly and pious, energetic, as well as resourceful. Edward’s holy reputation continued even after his death and was canonized in 1161 by Pope Alexander III.
William Archibald Spooner
In linguistics, William Archibald Spooner was known as a famous Don who became prominent for his “spoonerisms” – a play on words in which vowels, consonants or morphemes are switched. One of his famous spoonerisms is "It is kisstomary to cuss the bride” (...customary to kiss the bride). He was described as a small man with a pink face and poor eyesight; undoubtedly an albino.
Emperor Seinei of Japan
Said to be Japan’s 22nd emperor, Seinei was the son of Emperor Yuryaku. Historians say that he was born with white hair, a trait of an albino. After his father’s death, he was able to win the throne from his brother, Prince Hoshikawa, so succeeding his father as the emperor of Japan.
She is the world’s first albino supermodel known to have worked with fashion giant Jean Paul Gaultier. She was born in Hong Kong but because of her sensitive condition moved to Sweden with her parents when she was only seven.
Albinism, unlike other genetic mutations, does not hinder a person from becoming what any other normal being could be. These personalities are just some of the famous albino people that overcame this unique condition and made a mark in the world.