Introducing Alkin Emirali

Alkin is a screenwriter, director, lecturer and an established martial arts instructor.  He was born with a few prominent moles on his face that have proliferated throughout his life. He didn’t meet anyone else affected by CMN until his late thirties, when he connected with Caring Matters Now.  Alkin is one of the 30 photographed participants to feature in the ‘HOW DO YOU C ME NOW?’ exhibition series.  Recently, we caught up with Alkin to hear more about his life story and to discover why he chose to be photographed for the ‘HOW DO YOU C ME NOW?’ exhibition.

From a young age Alkin recalls developing good social skills, becoming a self-assured child and establishing good friendships.  He comments, “I would demonstrate my normal credentials before my CMN became a question.”

Alkin reflects on having a fantastic childhood and a “blast” at school and university.  He had an incredible teacher in his early teenage years who, as he states, “was responsible for turning the lights on for me intellectually.  I started to develop my interests in things academic, which helped me grow more in confidence.”

Alkin admits academic choices and his career were non-conventional, “I never wanted to run with the crowd, by virtue of being different not only for the way I look, but also for who I am.”  He studied philosophy at university and was interested in questions of identity, commenting, “I guess you would question identity if you look different from everyone else you’ve ever seen.”

When asked how he copes with having a facial CMN, Alkin comments “I don’t notice my CMN, it might sound odd to say, but it’s not part of my everyday experience.  As an adult, I rarely get challenged about my visible difference. People sometimes stare, I usually just stare back and then they stop.”  Alkin continues “my visible difference has defined who I have become on every level, and since I like who I am, I guess I wouldn’t change anything.“

Alkin became involved with Caring Matters Now in his late thirties, when he was about to become a father.  Researching CMN online, he found the charity and reached out, attending some of the support events.  Alkin comments, “It’s wonderful what the charity is able to do.  I would have found Caring Matters Now incredibly valuable as a child; to have seen other faces like mine in the world would have been awesome.”  Alkin hopes his involvement in the charity will give him opportunities to encourage and inspire children and teenagers affected by CMN, to live life to its fullest.

When asked about his involvement in the ‘HOW DO YOU C ME NOW?’ exhibition series, Alkin comments, “visible differences pose challenges for ‘normal’ people who aren’t regularly exposed to them.  Anything that normalises visible differences has got to be a good thing.  It’s excellent.”

Alkin concludes, “the Caring Matters Now charity and all those who have been photographed for the exhibition have my support and my admiration.  If I had seen people like myself when I was younger, it would have been life affirming and would have perhaps helped me realise that it’s ok to be different.”

To find out more about the ‘HOW DO YOU C ME NOW?’ exhibition series, please click here.