In a world filled with false beauty standards and ideologies of color supremacy, for the really beautiful dark skinned people, keeping their color and learning to love and embrace it, is rather challenging. Especially for those in their youth, bullies say the meanest things, that have lasting damaging effects, which on the long run make their distinctive feature seem like more of a curse than a blessing. This idea of beauty Dogma grows and some are pushed to alter their already perfect melanin, not because they want to, but because they have to.
SPICE #WCW is the beautiful South- Sudanese Model, Alec wek lookalike and beautician Queen Nyakim Gatwech. What first got our attention about Niyakem is her distinctive complexion. We reached out to her and had talks on being Alec wek’s lookalike, modelling, and bullies and her career.
- Were you ever made to feel inferior of your skin color? If yes, how did you deal with it?
Yes I was always bullied which such strong words like “you black as hell”, take a shower, laughter, and dirty looks. a way I dealt with it was that I open to my friend and family member about how I felt and what I was going though. I would also everyday in the morning look at myself in and the The mirror and tell myself how beautiful I am when I finally start to except who I am
- There are highs and lows in any career choice. What will you consider to be your lowest moment and how did you get through it?
My lowest moment in the modelling Industry were the time went a design pick me at the casting call and then on the day of the show she had a breakdown because of the color of the dress she design did not go with my dark complexion. And I told her I couldn’t do anything to change my complexion and the way I dealt with it was just again excepting who I am and nothing and no one can tell any different.
- Have you ever thought of altering your skin color? If yes, what made you change your mind?
I considered bleaching myself to avoid the “dirty looks”, the mean jokes, and for boys to find me attractive. But thanks to my sister for wise words and told me the dangers of bleaching my skin. I would always have family members and friends who remind me every day that my skin is beautiful just the way it is.
- You have worked with some pretty talented people, who will you say you have enjoyed working with the most?
. I have work with pretty amazing people. I enjoyed working with Isaac West with his amazing concept and Wale Deen, an amazing photographer. I have also enjoyed working with some amazing designer like Jacqueline Amissah, Rammy, Mohammed, Victor framah, and Nyamal.
- How did it feel to be part of Isaac West’s Different Melanin and One project?
It felt amazing to be part of the difference melanin project. A project that celebrate all different woman in all different shapes and different skin tone.
- How has fashion empowered you?
Fashion has allowed me to be who I am. It let me Express my feeling and it make me feel beautiful in a world I been told so many times by so many different people that I am not beautiful.
- Who are your role models in and out of the fashion industry?
My role models in a fashion industry has to be Tyra Banks and Nykore Paul, my south Sudanese super model.
- You share a striking resemblance with international super model Alek Wek and you are both from south Sudan. How does it feel to be a doppelganger (lookalike) of the super model?
That is a hug complement to be compared to Alex wek. She is a beautiful and intelligent woman. She represents dark skinned models this industry, and I look up to her a lot.. she does Inspire me in so many ways she show all of us dark skin models out there that you can shin no matter how dark your complexion is.
- When was your first major gig as a model? And how was the experience like?
My first major gig as a model would be a time I did a fashion show for Wilson leather here in Minneapolis Minnesota. It was an amazing experience for me. Whenever I am on a runway, I feel like I’m on top of the world, all the negative comments and backlash I get disappear at that particular moment.
- What is feminism to you?
For me, feminism means that I can choose how to make my way in the world. I can do whatever I put my mind into, I don’t just have to be a stay home mom, I can be a hard working and strong woman with ideas of her own.
- Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Gosh, I can only imagine. I see myself being a very successful model in the industry, probably already done Paris fashion week. I see myself being the next Tyra Banks, with my own show, titled “South Sudan next top model” Gods willing. I also see myself married with
- Tell us about your self
My name is Nyakim gatwech. I am from South Sudan, I was born in Ethiopia, moved to Kenya when I was 11 years old and later migrated to the United States. I currently attend MCTC where I study business and hopefully graduate next semester. I love fashion, and I love make up. I am here to inspire all the young black girls in any way possible.
Flash segment (Answer has to be in one word)
- Mascara or lipstick? Lipstick
- Music or Film? Music
- A torte or clutch? A Torte
- Flats or heels? Heels
- Denim or chinos? Denim