Talk about beauty in diversity we celebrate today, Model ‘Khoudia Diop’.
Anti-bullying advocate and Senegalese Model popularly known as Melanin goddess hopes to push the boundaries of traditional beauty standards and encourage others to “create their own rules of diversity.”
While living in Senegal, estimated by the World Health Organization as a country where a quarter of Senegalese women use skin-bleaching products, Diop was bullied and teased and made to feel ashamed because of her dark skin tone, same as her brother who is as dark as she is and was constantly pressured to start using bleaching products by her cousins, aged 12 and 13.
At some point, she wanted to be lighter and sometimes missed school and stayed indoors because she was ashamed of how people looked at her.
A defining moment for her was at age 15 right before she followed her aunt to Paris for an eye surgery, her sister took her on vacation to Milan. Walking on the street one day, she saw a big mirror with a lot of light-skinned people around and noticed she stood out. That for her was an epiphany and it ignited something on her inside. Eventually, she was approached with some suggestions that she become a supermodel. With so many offers and no concrete reasons to turn them down, she kicked off her modelling career at age 17.
Khoudia nicknames herself the ‘Melanin Goddess’ to express pride in her appearance. She is also a strong advocate against racist bullying. In 2016, she moved to New York City for college and was featured in a campaign for The Colored Girl Project, which led to her becoming a beauty influencer especially on Instagram. In 2017, she appeared in an advertising campaign for French cosmetics brand Make Up For Ever.
Always stressing the importance of inner beauty and empowerment, Khoudia hopes to inspire young people who may have gone through the same ‘color hangovers’ she experienced as a kid.
Counting Lupita Nyong’o and Michelle Obama as her beauty icons, Khoudia’s ultimate goal is to create an iconic legacy that includes helping others and of course, living fabulously. Thanks to a monstrous Instagram following, she is well on her way to reaching that goal using her platform to promote self-love to youngsters and particularly showing girls that it is not bad to be dark.
“Different is beautiful and you do not have to change who you are”