South Sudanese model Nyakim Gatwech loves her dark skin, and she’s prepared to clap back at anyone who has anything negative to say about it — including an Uber driver who decided it was his job to ask if she would consider bleaching.
“I was [asked by] my Uber driver the other day, he said, ‘Don’t take this offensive but if you were given 10 thousand dollars would you bleach your skin for that amount?'” the beauty queen wrote on Instagram in late March. “I couldn’t even respond I started laughing so hard.”
“[Then] he said, ‘So that’s a no’ and I was like hell to the f*king yeah [that’s] no, why on earth would I ever bleach this beautiful melanin God [blessed] me with,” she added. “[Then] he said so you look at it as a blessing?”
“You won’t believe the kind of questions I get and the kind of looks I get for having this skin.”
And unfortunately, this isn’t the first time Gatwech says she’s been asked these types of questions.
Speaking to Yahoo Beauty, the model admits that since moving to the U.S., she’s been criticized on several occasions for her deep brown hue. And she made the point to write about that particular incident on Instagram to educate others.
The now-Minneapolis resident also shares that while she may love her skin today, the journey wasn’t always smooth.
“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 tells the publication.
Much like Gatwech, fellow model Khoudia Diop also faced harsh discrimination for her skin.
Once called “darky” and “daughter of the night” by her peers, Diop told the Daily Mail she eventually decided to confront her bullies head-on. And now, she loves every inch of her melanin.
“As I grew, I learned to love myself more every day, and not pay attention to the negative people, which helped a lot,” she said. “The message I have for my sisters is that how you look doesn’t matter as long as you feel beautiful inside.”
Gatwech, too, has a similar message of confidence, that will surely empower other black girls who aren’t yet comfortable in their skin.
“My skin absorbs the suns rays and my hair defies gravity,” she wrote on Instagram Monday. “Now you can’t tell me I’m not magical!”