In Her Own Skin

KHOUDIA DIOP CELEBRATES HER CULTURE IN ETHEREAL PHOTO SERIES

@melaniin.goddess whose modelling career began after she was intensely bullied about the colour of her skin has become a worldwide sensation and a source of pride and inspiration to black girls everywhere. 

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NYENYO, also known as ‘teug’ or ‘ngengo,’ are the blacksmiths and metalworkers of the Senegalese caste system. My family is NYENYO. I am NYENYO.

Although caste systems are used as a stringent class system, and cultural identifier to maintain hierarchy in many different cultures in parts of the world, Khoudia embraces her Nyenyo heritage and doesn’t see the label as a hindrance. Rather, she sees it as part of the fabric of her identity, her family’s history and the overall story of her people. The series titled NYENYO and it clearly showcases the beauty and rich eccentricity that is her culture.

Below is an excerpt from her interview with The Coloured Girl-

How her Senegalese roots informs her beauty standards?

I was taught to carry myself as a Senegalese woman—with respect for her elders and heritage; honor, and really about the woman you are, and how you carry yourself and treat others. This is why I think beauty is much more than appearance—it’s the way you care about yourself and others.

On the significance of the the NYENYO photo series:

My Senegalese roots mean so much to me—it’s very personal. I love my country, my culture, my heritage. It is home and also a major part of who I am. I discovered so much about myself, and my culture has had a huge impact and importance, on my journey to self-love—from loving my upbringing, to the bullying then seeing the world outside of Senegal. Are there things I would change? Sure, but there are also certain things that I cherish about being Senegalese (Wolof woman).

Credits

Model/Muse: Khoudia Diop
Photographer: Joey Rosado
MakeUp Artist: Moshoodat Sanni
Creative Direction/Agency: The Colored Girl
Article written byVictory Jones
PR: Tori Elizabeth