Remember the old saying, “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me”? Well, on the contrary, words can hurt–deep. But it’s how we deal with those words that makes us who we are. Just ask 19-year-old Khoudia, who literally used the negative thing people were talking about to become a success.

Khoudia Diop, who began modeling when she was 17 was teased because of her very dark complexion. Whatever dark-skinned jokes you’ve heard, she’s heard them all, plus worse. But she’s turned her once hated dark skin into a career and quite a following on social media in the past two years, boasting over 240,000 fans on Instagram alone.

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