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Queen of the Dark: This Sudanese model was told to bleach her skin by an Uber driver

The 24-year-old model who lives in Minneapolis, US, uses her posts to tell her 180,000-plus followers that she takes pride in her “chocolate black” skin and her African heritage.

fashion and trends Updated: Jul 13, 2017 08:49 IST
Bidisha Mahapatra
Bidisha Mahapatra
Nyakim Gatwech,Instagram,Colourism
The 24-year-old South Sudanese model has been nicknamed the ‘Queen of Dark’ for using her Instagram account to challenge stereotypes against colour and beauty.(Nyakim Gatwech Instagram)

A cab driver once asked South Sudanese fashion model Nyakim Gatwech if she would change her skin colour for money. “No!” said Gatwech.

Gatwech, who has appeared on covers of international magazines, took Instagram by a storm after she started using her posts to challenge stereotypes about skin and beauty.

The 24-year-old model who lives in Minneapolis, US, uses her posts to tell her 180,000-plus followers that she takes pride in her “chocolate black” skin and her African heritage.

“My chocolate is elegant. So is what I represent… A nation of warriors,” she captioned one of her many Instagram photos, which routinely exceed 10k likes each.

In another post she wrote, “Dear my moonshine dark skin, sun-kissed complexion, burn skin or whatever they might call you: You are beyond beautiful and the love I have for is unconditional because you are me”. Her photographs exhibit the pride she takes in her African roots and Nuer heritage.

She uses her account as a platform to advocate diversity and represent those who do not have a voice. In one of her inspiring messages she says, “You represent me and I represent you and let show the world how beautiful and intelligent we are apart from just being dark skin. Because we are more than what this society think of our dark skin let stand up for those who can’t. Let’s speak up those who can’t. And stay beautiful while doing it.”

In another post she wrote: “Black is bold, black is beautiful, black is gold.”

“Don’t let American standards damage your African soul. Love the skin you live in, no matter what color or shade it may be.”

It is not just her captions but her photographs that speak volumes about her strength and beauty. From flaunting colorful bikinis in desert terrains, to beautiful floral print dresses and all-black outfits, she is a diva who makes a point with just her appearance.

However, before the South Sudanese model found success, her pigmented complexion wasn’t a celebrated phenomenon; the beauty was publicly shamed for her dark skin. But she refused to take the hatred to her heart and decided to embrace her dark black skin.

Earlier this year she took to Instagram to share her experience as a victim of colourism. She talked about her conversation with an Uber driver who asked the model if she would ever consider bleaching her skin.

“I was (asked by) my Uber driver the other day…’Don’t take this offensive but if you were given 10 thousand dollars would you bleach your skin for that amount?’ I couldn’t even respond I started laughing so hard. Then he said so that a no and I was like hell to the f****** yeah that a no, why on earth would I ever bleach this beautiful melanin, God bless me with”, she wrote on Instagram.

According to an article on Yahoo Beauty, Gatwech explains how she had to build on the love for her dark complexion. Growing up, she was bullied in school for it, told things like, “You black as hell, take a shower.” “There was a time in my life where I considered bleaching myself to avoid the dirty looks, the laughter, and for boys to find me attractive,” she admits.

Even though she receives discouraging messages now and then regarding her coloring, she refuses to give up on her self confidence and radiant self love. Her refreshing attitude is reflected in a powerful message where she writes, “My skin absorbs the sun’s rays and my hair defies gravity. Now you can’t tell me I’m not magical!”

She has been showered with lots of love by her fans who have dubbed her as the ‘Queen of the Dark’, a title which she has accepted with immense pleasure.

Nyakim Gatwech has created a wave in the fashion industry and is now a very successful name in the modeling industry. She has broken standardized conventions of beauty and continues to encourage others to do the same as an advocate of diversity in the fashion world. She is also representing black women across various forums, globally.

First Published: Jul 05, 2017 17:55 IST