Nyakim Gatwech is a 24-year-old woman of colour who embraces the skin she is in. The South Sudanese model who currently lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota is known as the “Queen Of The Dark.” Nyakim recently shared the story of a racist encounter with an Uber driver that could’ve very well brought her down.
Gatwech shared the story via an Instagram post. Upon entering an Uber in 2016, the driver made an insulting suggestion, asking her if she would bleach her dark skin for $10,000, and implying that her dark complexion was nothing to love. Instead of stooping to his level, she instead broke out into laughter and has been especially proud of the skin she is in ever since.
Out of curiosity, she asked the driver why he would suggest such a thing. He said life would be easier for her, it would be easier for her to be in a relationship, and that she would get more job opportunities if she was lighter. She admitted that even so, she would “rather take the hard road”, which is a reflection of how strong she is.
The fashion icon turned a negative into a positive and has been trending upwards ever since. She admits that she still receives discouraging comments, but she remains an advocate for self-love and is a strong voice for black rights worldwide.
In an interview with Cosmopolitan, Nyakim stated: “I was bullied for being too black. Now I’m a model.” She admitted that she is used to people asking “stupid questions” about her skin, much like her Uber driver did, adding: “I was so surprised that people were moved by this story.” After revealing the incident to social media, it garnered a flurry of reactions, and inspired her to keep sharing her “highs and lows of self-acceptance online.”
Although there will unfortunately always be negativity surfacing around social media, her inspiring endeavour has certainly made a difference. A young girl reached out to her saying: “I’m proud to be the darkest girl in the room—because of you, I started to love myself.” She said that this was her main goal, for others to accept and love who they are, much like she does.
Today, she has amassed 345,000 followers on Instagram, posting uplifting photos with strong messages for all who look up to her. “My chocolate is elegant. So is what I represent… A nation of warriors,” she captioned a picture on Instagram. Nyakim walks more proud than ever and works every day at inspiring others to do the same. “Black is bold, black is beautiful, black is gold…Don’t let American standards damage your African soul.”
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