Barbie – the famous doll brand had been a rage all over the world once upon a time. It still is in many ways, and so, nowadays, we tend to see body-positive Barbies so that it can be used as a way to break stereotypes. That is all great, but what if there was a real-life Barbie that could break stereotypes without being plastic? And no, we are not talking about women who go through complex plastic surgery and Botox treatments to look unnatural. We found a natural-looking Barbie in this Australian-Sudanese model.
A Reality Check
Meet Nyadak Duckie Thot. She is an Australian-Sudanese model, who had come to New York from Sudan with a dream of conquering the modelling world. Her photos have come up in several magazines and she has already gotten popularity as a famous model. She has great skin, a beautiful face, and a perfect figure – all the requirements in a model. But in 2017, an event happened that completely changed her life.
In a photograph named ‘Duckie After Dark’, she had a shot that amazed everyone. She looked like a real-life Barbie. It was unbelievable for the fans of this model. There are many photographs of Duckie all over the internet but the viewers could not believe that the same model was on this cover. Actually, it was difficult to tell whether the same model was featured in any of the pictures. Why does she look different every time?
The Secret Lies in her Skin
Duckie has a rare distribution of melanin that creates different colours on her body based on the way light falls on her. As a result, she may look swarthy when the light is falling in a specific angle. But then her colour would change to ebony when light falls from another angle. Coupled with the ideal face and figure, Duckie Thot was the ‘Barbie Style’ girl we had never really thought could exist in real life.
Underrepresentation of Natural-black models
As a black woman, Duckie has faced her share of harassment. People used to discourage her because of her skin colour. She was also told to keep her natural hair hidden. It is a rather strange but true observation that Duckie makes: most black women are told to cover their natural hair. If you want proof, you can go to YouTube videos and see how many black women keep it down when it comes to natural hair tutorials. It’s a strange stereotype and Duckie believes that hairstylists, media, and the fashion industry are actually responsible for this.
Inspiration for Change
However, Duckie stands as proof against it. It is because of her natural hair and natural skin colour that she could be dubbed as a real-life Barbie. If she had covered herself up, it would not have been possible for her to appear in magazines to amaze all of us. But while Duckie might be an inspiration, she alone cannot do everything. The industry must back her up as well as inspire every other black person who wants to be in her position. And so, Duckie tells the industry to start investing in natural-looking black women too.
Duckie is an inspiration for all of us but if we really want a change, we should address the root cause – shame. It’s time we accept differences and stop shaming one another. Let’s build a positive world.