Nyakim Gatwech is a South Sudanese model who is known as the Queen of The Dark because of her very dark skin, a result of high levels of melanin
At a tender age, Nyakim Gatwech found herself shedding tears at night, convinced that she wasn’t beautiful enough. Fast forward to today, and this 24-year-old South Sudanese model has blossomed into an iconic figure of beauty, inspiring young women all over the world. Her secret? Self-love.
In an interview with Teen Vogue, Nyakim emphasized the importance of loving oneself and being confident in any situation. She believes that when you truly love yourself, it radiates outward, and others have the choice to accept you for who you are or walk away.
Nyakim’s journey to fame began when she posted a story on Instagram about an encounter with an Uber driver. The driver offered her $10,000 to bleach her skin, but Nyakim responded with laughter, asserting that her skin is a blessing. This response went viral, and her fans affectionately named her the “Queen of the Dark.” Through fierce photos and empowering captions, Nyakim has become a role model for young girls in search of self-love and acceptance.
Using her Instagram platform with over 975K followers, Nyakim has taken the opportunity to challenge American beauty standards. Growing up in Ethiopia and Kenya among lighter-skinned people, she never experienced colorism until arriving in the United States. Despite the challenges, she fully embraces her darkly pigmented skin, reminding everyone that beauty is diverse.
Nyakim is currently completing her studies at Minneapolis Community College, with aspirations to focus on her modeling career. However, she also envisions herself becoming an elementary school teacher in the future. Her goal is to give back to her community and help others who have faced similar struggles in their journey to self-acceptance.
Coming to the US from South Sudan at the age of 14, Nyakim had a remarkable journey, fleeing from a refugee camp in Ethiopia to one in Kenya, before finally settling in the United States with her mom and siblings. Initially unfamiliar with the concept of modeling, Nyakim learned about it while shopping at a grocery store. Her sister, who had also been a model, encouraged her to join the industry to promote diversity.
It wasn’t until her Junior year of high school that Nyakim felt confident enough to pursue modeling seriously. The turning point came when she walked the runway in her friend’s designs at a school event. From there, she devoted time and effort to building her modeling portfolio, including two years in New York and numerous photo shoots during college.
Beyond her success as a model, Nyakim has ignited a movement centered on self-love and female empowerment. She empowers young girls, especially those with darker skin tones who face bullying and societal pressures. Nyakim’s impact goes beyond the internet, as she receives heartfelt messages from girls who credit her with helping them love themselves.
Throughout her journey, Nyakim’s mother has been a source of support, consistently reminding her of her beauty and worth. Now, Nyakim aims to be that source of encouragement for young women everywhere. She urges them to reach out to her, offering advice and a listening ear. After all, she firmly believes that self-love is contagious, and together, we can all embrace our uniqueness and radiate confidence.