Model Rejects Notion She Needs to Bleach Her Skin, Embraces Her 'Darkness'

July 3rd 2017

Ngozi Ahanotu

Sudan’s newest modeling sensation is taking a stand on the beauty of darker skin.




Nyakim Gatwech, nicknamed ‘Queen of the Dark’ is a Sudanese model living in Minnesota that continues to shed light on her rich culture and the beauty of dark African skin. In March, she went viral for checking an Uber driver on his question of her skin color. In an Instagram post she wrote “I was ask 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?”


Well, Gatwech isn’t the first Sudanese model to stir up the fashion world with dark skin.

Alex Wek hit the runway in 1996 when she signed with Ford Models. Over the last 20 years, she has been instrumental in changing the standard for darker skinned models in the fashion industry. 

The history of colorism goes very deep and is controversial across many cultures.

Colorism is defined as prejudice or discrimination against individuals with a dark skin tone, typically among people of the same ethnic or racial group. From Africa to Latin America to Asia, colorism is an issue all nations are dealing with and ultimately dismissing.


Too often, the beauty of darker skinned women goes unappreciated. Beauty ads and magazines in different countries across the world highlight more fair-skinned women, which implies European woman are more beautiful.

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And skin bleaching, medically understood as skin lightening, is a billion dollar business that is out of control.

Women of all shades are using chemical based creams and gels to to lighten their skin and obtain a more fair skin color. These types of products were initially prescribed to help with patients suffering from skin diseases but are now available over the counter as a beauty additive. Women who use it believe this will make them more attractive to men and the world at large.

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In 2011, John Hopkins University professor Pamela Bennett conducted a study on local area people that identified as more than one race or multiracial. Her findings over a 10 year period revealed that although where you live appears to be associated with status, people of multiple race identities are considered lower than Whites but higher than Blacks. Multiracial people are fair to lighter skinned and this research touches on the understanding that they are more beautiful than darker women.

How did Gatwech Answer the Uber Driver?


More importantly, she truly acknowledges that many may people question her skin but you should always love the skin you are in. She added in an interview with Yahoo! some sisterly advice, “The most satisfying feeling is when you are comfortable in your own skin and when you accept your beautiful dark, dark melanin.”