I got the opportunity to ask 19-year-old model, Khoudia Diop some questions on her bullying experiences, and becoming a model. Khoudia was bullied growing up as a result of the color of her skin. Over the years Khoudia overcame the negativity, and embraced the woman who she is today.
Growing up, were you ever ashamed of your skin tone?
No, my complexion/skin tone is actually quite common in Africa and where I’m from in Senegal.
At what age did you start getting teased by people because of your skin tone? What stood out to you most?
I started getting teased after leaving Senegal once I migrated to Paris and the US mainly. The thing that stood out the most was the ignorance and hate of people.
How did you cope with such hatred?
At first I confronted the bullies, but eventually I learned to love myself more and tune out the negativity.
How did being made fun of affect you as a person?
Yes, it actually was hurtful, but then it inspired me to really love myself and help others.
Where are you from, and what is your ethnicity?
At what age did you start your modeling career?
I began modeling about 2 years ago in Paris and then moved to NYC, where I was scouted, by Tori Elizabeth and Victory Jones; founders of The Colored Girl. They found me via Instagram and when we met on set of their Rebirth campaign, I knew something magical was happening! It was so amazing and exciting to be a part of something so needed for women of color. Truly inspiring!
What keeps you motivated to stay focused, and block out negativity?
Really, I just practice learning and loving myself, and others around me. It really keeps me positive, grounded and focused on what really matters…
What inspired you to get into the industry?
I wanted to express myself through fashion, beauty and also to really inspire other black girls and women of color. Representation matters! And I want to be living example of something that others can look up to and feel empowered within themselves.
What do you enjoy most about modeling?
Inspiring others, dressing up and traveling.
What makes you feel confident?
The way I feel about myself! Celebrating the things I like about myself.
Do you still have problems with people commenting on your skin color?
People still comment occasionally, but it’s mostly way more positive now.
What advice would you give to females who may struggle with bullies, and insecurities?
Really learn who you are. Learn yourself, celebrate the things you like about yourself and learn to LOVE yourself! It’s definitely an ongoing process, but so worth it!
What plans do you have moving forward with your career?
I’m working very closely with my management at The “C” Girl, Inc. (The Colored Girl creators) and we have a bunch of fun and amazing projects in the works! And also some cool collaborations as well. I can’t give too much away, so you’ll just have to follow me (@melaniin.goddess) and stay tuned!