“I’ve always said the joke before I could be the joke,” Garcia, 34, said in an interview with Just Jared Jr. “I was picked on for my weight, my hair, my teeth, my psoriasis — everything. But that never stopped me from finding the confidence in myself to be bright, to love out loud, and to pursue my dreams.”
This confidence, she said, is the greatest similarity between her and on-screen character Jasmine. “Jasmine and I would be BFFs (best friends forever),” she continued. “We’d have necklaces and everything.”
But Garcia’s confidence and acceptance of her psoriasis didn’t happen overnight. “I’m one of the lucky ones,” she told Bustle, “because I don’t have it on my face or arms. But I do have it from the knees down on both legs, so it’s a lot.”
Feelings of insecurity are common among people living with psoriasis, who often face stigma and discrimination. In a recent survey of young people living with the skin condition, the majority of respondents cited “feeling more confident” as a top treatment goal. Psoriasis can take a mental toll. Treatments such as mental health counseling, medication, stress management, and support groups can help.
Garcia shared that she often hid the skin condition with clothing while growing up, avoiding leg-baring apparel like shorts. “And this girl grew up in freaking Florida,” she continued, “so it was hot as hell.”
Now, Garcia has embraced her legs as one of her favorite features, she told Bustle. She shared that when she does experience a psoriasis flare-up, she applies KKW Beauty’s Skin Perfecting Body Foundation to help even out her skin tone and conceal plaques. KKW Beauty is a cosmetics line by Kim Kardashian West — a media icon and entrepreneur who, like Garcia, is open about living in the spotlight with psoriasis.