‘I Was Using Skin-Lightening Products’: One Fashion Model’s Journey from Succumbing to Anti-Black Beauty Standards to Creating Space with Her Own Modeling Agency In Hong Kong


Born and raised in a society that idolized fair skin, Kenisha, a fashion model of African descent, knew all too well the harsh realities of the beauty industry’s narrow standards. Her journey began in her adolescence, when she was first introduced to skin-lightening creams and products, a prevalent practice among her peers in Hong Kong. Despite the immediate sense of belonging these products promised, Kenisha’s path to self-acceptance was fraught with challenges and revelations.

Kenisha recounted her early days in modeling where her darker complexion often relegated her to specific roles or left her completely overlooked for opportunities. The message from casting directors and agents was clear and consistent: lighter skin equated to broader appeal and better chances at success. Falling into the trap of this toxic narrative, she found herself compelled to use skin-lightening products with the hope of advancing her career.

However, years of conforming to the industry’s warped beauty standards took a toll on Kenisha’s self-esteem and identity. She suffered both physical side effects from the products and an emotional disconnect with her African heritage. The turning point came when she developed skin complications from prolonged use of a particularly harsh lightening cream, forcing her to confront the potential long-term damage she was inflicting upon herself.

Through this wake-up call, Kenisha embarked on a journey towards self-love and acceptance. As she educated herself on the dangers of skin-lightening chemicals and rediscovered pride in her heritage, Kenisha became a passionate advocate for diversity and inclusion within the fashion world. With newfound resolve, she ceased using lightening products and began using her platform to speak out against the toxic beauty standards that had once ensnared her.

This transformation propelled Kenisha to new heights as she founded a modeling agency in Hong Kong aimed at celebrating diversity. Her agency became a beacon for models of all ethnicities and skin tones—offering them opportunities free from discrimination based on their natural appearance. It quickly garnered attention for its mission-driven approach to modeling, earning Kenisha recognition as not only a successful model but also a trailblazer in the fight against anti-blackness in beauty norms.

Kenisha’s personal journey from succumbing to harmful beauty standards to empowering others reflected a larger shift taking place across industries worldwide. By highlighting inclusivity over conformity, her modeling agency challenged age-old prejudices and opened doors for aspiring models who previously felt marginalized. It transformed not only how beauty is perceived but also how it is represented within one of Asia’s most vibrant fashion capitals.

Her story serves as an inspiration—a powerful narrative about reclaiming identity and fostering change within an often unforgiving industry. Kenisha not only changed her own life but also created space for others to shine authentically, establishing a legacy that will inspire countless others to embrace their unique beauty unabashedly.


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