Meet Nyakim Gatwec – a model nicknamed ‘Queen of the Dark’

A woman was completely shocked when her Uber driver left her with an unsolicited tip on how to treat her stunning skin.

Embracing her striking beauty, the fashion icon, also known as the “Queen of the Dark,” fired back with laughter and shrugged off his comments.

Keep reading to learn what this Uber driver told her and how she turned it into a teachable moment!

After spending her earlier years in refugee camps in Ethiopia and Kenya, Nyakim Gatwech thought living in America would “be like heaven.”

But when she landed in Buffalo at about 14 years old, Gatwech spent a lot of time alone, crying over the judgements of her deeply pigmented skin.

The Minnesota-based model, a native of South Sudan, spent years being bullied for her glowing dark skin, and told things like, “You don’t take showers. That’s why your skin is dirt.” Or, “Smile so we can see you, Nyakim. We can’t see you.”

“In class, for example, the teacher would ask a question and say, ‘“’Oh, Nyakim, can you answer that?’ A kid would say, ‘Who are you talking to? We can’t see her. She’s not here.’ The whole class would start laughing, and I would just cry,” the now 31-year-old woman tells Cosmopolitan.

The young, impressionable girl only wanted to fit in, but it wasn’t easy when random men were making bets on if she was wearing leggings, or if her skin was really that dark.

“At one point, I did consider [bleaching my skin]. When I came to America from a refugee camp in Africa [at age 14], I lived in Buffalo, New York. I would cry myself to sleep after being bullied [about my skin],” says the beauty. “There are so many beautiful dark-skinned Sudanese women who bleach their skin.”

The model then revealed that her own sister is one of those Sudanese women who bleached her skin. “My own sister did it. But when I told her I wanted to [after living in America for a few months], she told me no. I’m not going to let my daughter do it, or you, nobody.’”

Queen of the Dark

Now called Queen of the Dark, the woman – who’s been discriminated against by designers, makeup artists, and also fellow models – feels empowered by pushing through the negativity.

And Gatwech’s confidence and amazing love for her deep chocolatey skin is bolstered by her 962,000 loyal followers on Instagram.

“My chocolate is elegant. So is what I represent…A nation of warriors,” she writes in one post.

And fans can’t seem to get enough of the strikingly beautiful woman.

“Omgggggg I love your skin and melanin,” writes one fan, while another says, “love your beautiful skin tone so much! God makes beautiful creations such as you to remind us of His magnificence!”

Responding to the overwhelming support, Gatwech says, “I grew to learn to love myself…Now, I am not bothered by it [the negativity]. I accept my skin, I love myself, and I’m not insecure about my skin anymore. I don’t think I’m ugly anymore. I have confidence in myself.”

‘Stupidest questions’

A few years ago, Gatwech details an encounter with an Uber driver who asked if she’d ever consider bleaching her unique skin.

“He said, ‘Wow, you’re dark,’” Gatwech tells Cosmopolitan of her conversation with the driver. “I just laughed. I wanted to know why he thought I should. He said because life would be easier for me. It would be easier for me to be in a relationship, or guys would be more attracted to me if I was lighter. If I was going to a job interview, I would get the job opportunities because I’m lighter. I just said, ‘[Even if] being lighter would make my life easier, I’d rather take the [hard] road.’”

She adds, “I’m used to people asking the stupidest questions ever [about my skin].”

Then Gatwech shared the story on Instagram, along with a jaw-dropping image of her and three other dark-skinned Sudanese beauties.

She writes, “A country with people so dark you won’t believe your eyes…skin so rich and teeth so bright. Gosh how I love my country my people and everything that come with it.”

She then goes on to detail her run-in with the Uber driver: “[SIC] I was ask my uber driver the other day he said, don’t take this offensive but if you were given 10 thousand dollars would you bleach your skin for that amount? I couldn’t even respond I started laughing so hard. Than he said so that a no and I was like hell to the f*king yeah that a no, why on earth would I ever bleach this beautiful melanin God bless with me Than he said so you look at it as a blessing?”

Her followers quickly jumped in with their praise, offering Gatwech their support.

“I guess he did not get the memo…black is beautiful,” writes one fan.

“I love you for loving you,” shares a second. A third adds, “Why would we ever want to mess up something so beautiful?”

When asked by Yahoo Beauty what advice she can offer young black girls who are facing similar obstacles, she said, “You are beautiful, you are unique, and there are people who love you just the way you are. They say the darker the cherry, the sweeter the juice. Embrace your darkness!”


Gatwech’s message is a powerful reminder that beauty comes in all shapes, sizes and colours!

What do you think of this stunning woman and how she responded to the Uber driver? Please share your thoughts with us and then share this story so we can hear what others have to say!

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