Image via Getty
While sitting down with Real Women Real Stories earlier this summer, Senegalese model Khoudia Diop, known as the “Melanin Goddess,” said she was pressured to bleach her skin growing up. In Senegal, she said there is a culture of skin bleaching and when she was around 12 or 13, her own cousins encouraged her to lighten her skin.
But encouraged by her sister not to do such a thing, Diop would become comfortable in her skin and enter into the world of modeling, which she started doing at 17. Since then, Diop has gone viral, appeared in music videos and modeled for beauty brand Make Up For Ever. Her message to young women with a darker complexion who feel like they need to change it or aren’t happy with it is one of self-love.
“You are Ok however you are,” she said in the interview, “and you are very beautiful.”
Seeing Diop have all the success she’s been able to achieve in such a short time is refreshing, but she’s not the only dark-skinned model shattering beauty standards and expectations and turning heads. More and more are stomping down runways, appearing in major campaigns and going viral for just being as fierce as they want to be. Check out a few more who are doing big things in the modeling and beauty industry right now and looking gorgeous while doing so.