A twelve-year-old African American girl is making great strides in the world of fashion fueled by a history of being bullied.
Los Angeles student Kheris Rogers was a victim of so-called ‘colorism’ – taunted for her dark skin, even by other African American kids.
Her reaction has been nothing short of inspiring.
CGTN’s Phil Lavelle has her story
When Kheris Rogers was being bullied at school, those taunting her could never have imagined that she’d use that experience to launch a fashion brand.
But that’s what she did, and now at age 12, she’s caught the eye of stars like Whoopi Goldberg, Lupita Nyong’o, Alicia Keys, Steve Harvey, and Snoop Dogg.
“I was getting bullied for my dark skin complexion and what I wanted to do was create something that was very empowering to other people around the world. Something that a lot of people can relate to,” Rogers said.
Kheris had attended different schools in Los Angeles that were predominantly white, and also more diverse, and found her dark skin color made her a target for bullies at both, teased even by other African American kids.
Her sister, Taylor Pollard, was so upset by the treatment that she took a photo of Kheris, age 10 at the time, and tweeted it along with the words: “My sister is only ten, but already royalty. #flexininhercomplexion.”
It went viral with more than 100,000 likes and comments and so the girls decided to use it for good.
“Everyone in the comments was like “I love your skin” which was the same thing I was being teased about when I was very little,” Rogers adds,
Their 76-year-old grandmother, Bettie Pollard, had often joked with Kheris that she was just “flexing in her complexion” so the girls started a T-shirt printing business in the garage behind their house. The shirts flew off the shelves, selling out within 15 minutes of going on sale. And now, two years on, they’ve sold thousands.
“You hear all of these stories about kids being bullied in school and many don’t know how to handle it. You see people committing suicide, serious things because of bullying so to see someone like Kheris take that negative situation and come out positive is really going to influence other kids as well just to take a different route,” Taylor adds.