This article from Saturday’s Guardian is well worth a read, featuring Rankin’s new celebrity portraits timed to coincide with the release of the campaigning film, Life In My Shoes. It’s great to see stigma being tackled in so mainstream – and so high-profile – a way. Well done all involved.
It is when 18-year-old Blessing gets the bus home from school that the bullying starts. As she waits for the bus to draw out of the stop, a clique of angry-faced girls runs up to the window next to where she is sitting. They begin thumping on the glass with their fists. They scream abuse and call her names, saying that she is “dirty” and “disgusting”. They throw chips at her, smearing the window with ketchup, treating her as if she is no better than a piece of rubbish.
Her classmates have just found out that Blessing is HIV positive, and this is a powerful scene from the new film Life in My Shoes which explores the reality of teenagers who live with the virus. The 30-minute feature was developed by Body & Soul, a ground-breaking charity that supports HIV-affected children, teens and families, and is set to be released next year as part of a high-profile campaign.