This article originally appeared on HelloGiggles.
With more than 130,000 followers on Instagram, South Sudanese model Nyakim Gatwech is using her platform to speak out against oppressive beauty standards, encouraging her followers to love themselves for exactly who they are.
Earlier this year, the 24-year-old model responded to her Uber driver’s comments about skin bleaching on Instagram, and we’re both appalled at what happened to her and grateful that she’s speaking out.
According to Gatwech, the driver asked her if she would bleach her skin for $10,000, and she gave him a reality check, telling him her “beautiful melanin…is a blessing,” and we’re absolutely cheering for her powerful but gracious response.
Gatwech firmly stated she’d never bleach her skin for any amount of money, and expressed that she views her dark skin as (rightfully) beautiful.
These kinds of disturbing comments are simply not okay, and we are giving Gatwech props for handling the situation in such a fierce and assertive way.
The model is all about embracing your own unique brand of beauty, regularly posting stunning shots from photo shoots with inspirational and empowering messages. Though we feel awful that she’s subject to such ridiculous scrutiny from strangers about the color of her skin, we love that she’s using her public platform to raise awareness and encourage fans to love themselves no matter what society’s messages may tell them.
There’s no denying that Gatwech is drop dead gorgeous, but it’s her voice and her message that is truly beautiful.
The world needs more of this, and we can’t wait to keep following Gatwech on her journey.