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.


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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.”