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Senegalese Model, Khoudia Diop

Dark skin is rarely ever celebrated, much less embraced by droves of people. But, maybe things are finally changing…

In only a few short days, Khoudia Diop’s Instagram following lept from a humble 300 to a massive 350,000 and climbing. The cause? Her striking, very dark, and unmistakingly beautiful complexion. 

Although the 22-year-old Senegalese was already a full-time model, the enormous and sudden exposure came from Khoudia’s inclusion in an online campaign by The Colored Girl Project, which celebrated the beauty of women of color by promoting diversity.

Since then, Khoudia is noted for speaking out about racist bullying, something she experienced in Senegal as a youngster, as well as in Paris where she lived as a teen, and later in the fashion industry at large. 

She has also shared about being pressured by family in Senegal to bleach her skin – a practice still prevalent in parts of Africa and the Caribbean. “In Senegal, of every 10 women, seven will use skin bleaching products. That’s how popular they are,” she explains.

However, in an interview earlier this year, Khoudia told reporters that tides are changing. “Most of the responses I get — from all types of people, not just women, and not just women of color — has been hugely positive,” she said.

“Beauty is not what’s outside, it’s who you are. What’s inside is your true essence, and beauty comes from within. It’s pure energy,” Khoudia firmly believes.

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