“Melanin Goddess” Khoudia Diop wasn’t always the confident woman she is today. It took years for the Senegal native to embrace her features and skin tone in a world that often only equates fair skin with beauty.
Diop said that many of her family members had similar battles over skin color and turned to skin bleaching. She remembered instances when her cousins would try to convince her to use skin-lightening products.
“I have a lot of cousins that use skin-bleaching products. Since I was around 13, 12, they started telling me, ‘Why don’t you use this [bleaching product]? Why you wanna be this dark?”
Her cousins hated their skin color, but she did not. According to the model, they felt light skin signified wealth and beauty, while dark skin meant poor and ugly. But having herself overcome those negative sentiments, Diop said she plans to be instrumental in changing other people’s perception of darker skin tones.
“My favorite part is inspiring the younger [children] because I feel when they grow up, they can teach other kids, and the view of beauty can totally change from that.”