Look 5 - 3


Dark skin.


These are a few words I would use to describe myself whenever I looked into the mirror. Not only because I was ‘crazy’, but because people’s daunting insults and jokes ingrained these descriptions deeper into my being every time they were uttered. I was the source of jokes from a young age. I had to cut off all my hair when I got ringworm of the scalp (better known as mashilingi) on my head around Standard One. The taunting began.

My head seemed bigger to me.

My skin tone seemed even darker to me because I felt so ‘naked’ without hair.

Look 2 - 2 Melanin text

As I grew older, I got so many pimples on my face and tried everything to get rid of them. This included drinking more water, using aloe vera gel and roughly scrubbing my face every night. I didn’t have long nice hair. I didn’t have nice smooth skin. The boys my age did not give me as much attention as they gave the other girls in my class. Oh puberty. I would not go back to that period of my life even if you paid me one million dollars.

Years later I have learned to embrace my uniqueness and flaws instead of wallowing in self-pity. I am not a slave to people’s opinions. I am not a slave to people’s expectations. I will not let words enslave me. Why should mere syllables have enough strength to tear my self-esteem down? I will not feel forced to live up to society’s definitions of beauty. They have tied me down for too long.

Look 1 - 4

I am a queen and I celebrate myself. I feel like so many people struggle with low self-esteem and have perfected the art of faking smiles. I know I had. I would cry myself to sleep after school and wake up the next day and smile at the same people who bullied me the previous day. I was perfect at hiding that I was okay. This was NOT okay.

Look 3 - 1
I would smile to hide the insecurities of the queen underneath

It took me a lot to man up and face my own insecurities. I am glad to see more public figures who look like me in the media and on magazine covers. It became a source of solace to see that famous people like Aja Naomi King and Lupita Nyong’o also hated the shades of their skin at some points of their lives. I felt normal.

Goodness. Why can’t we just celebrate our flaws ladies? Instead of tearing each other down, we should strive to build each other up. Halt the gossip for a few minutes at your sleepover and just share what you love about each other the most. Tell your girlfriend how pretty you think she is without the layers of foundation and concealer on. Stop putting on those Instagram filters and editing out the blemishes. If you don’t love yourself for the queen you are, you are wasting away all you have to give. This is because you will always doubt yourself. Stop! Nobody has time for that.

Look 4 - 1 with text

“I am dripping melanin with honey. I am black without apology”– Upile

If you are struggling with your insecurities as you read this, put your chin up you beautiful butterfly. I have been where you are and I got out. You can too. There is so much to love about yourself. Do not beat yourself up for suffering in silence. We feel ashamed to openly share how we truly feel. You may be called beautiful every single day of your life but this will mean nothing unless you truly believe that you are from within. I wish you nothing but self-love. It is a long journey but one worth taking, and one you will definitely reach.

Look 5 - 4

Look 2 - 1

Look 1 - 5

Photography by Nicole Wandera –  Lens Queen

Shoot Assistant Duki

BTS videographer – Sheila Mudimba

MUA – Makeup citty

Shoot cheerleader – Christine Kamathi


21 thoughts on “#FLAWED

  1. You clearly had been staring at the wrong mirror dear… Because I have always seen the beautiful lady that you’ve always been and You’re definitely right.. You don’t need other people telling you how beautiful you are…keep telling yourself you’re beautiful because You are the most important person in your life and you deserve your own validation. Keep it up gorgeous.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You know, it’s so interesting to hear this. I must say, you were quite adept at hiding this in school, especially when people made fun of you. I always assumed you were just that confident in yourself that you’d brush off the comments. And, to be honest, I never understood why they picked on you because I thought you were one of those people born to be beauty icons. 😅😅

    I don’t know if I ever told you then, so I’ll tell you now (belated though it may be): you are still one of the most beautiful girls I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. This is first on the outside, which became completely overwhelming when I considered how utterly ethreal the inside was. You were always smiling, always so kind, you never said a mean word to anyone, or even ABOUT them… You are trully admirable.

    I LOVE that you cut your hair because, trust me, your face is your biggest asset! 😊😊😊 I know the struggle with foreheads (and let me tell you, yours is COMPLETELY average-sized compared to mine!), and I’m very pleased by these projects you do. It’s always encouraging to see you ‘out there’. 🙂

    Thank God for the people in the limelight who have given you the confidence you’re growing in your own skin.:) 🙂

    Thank you for sharing this!

    Sorry for the unreasonably lengthy comment. 😅


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh goodness. This is such a sweet comment Fridah. And yes, I used to take it all in school and just hide it because I thought it would make things worse. I am so grateful that you said all these things and so openly. Really means a whole lot. Asante!!! 😙😙😙

      Liked by 1 person

    2. And I have no idea what forehead you are talking about Fridah. I actually never noticed your forehead. Hahaha. I was actually so jealous of your nice skin and hair. Goals! 🙂 Anyway, thanks again dear!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Haha!
        Aren’t I glad to hear that! 😅😅 I remember one time someone telling me my hairline was receding and I PANICKED! I wanted a fringe so bad but my hair is so light it would just have shrunk and been blown straight up and made me look worse.😑 Eh! These struggles!
        Ebu keep doing what you’re doing! You have no idea what kind of effect it’s having on people. For some reason, seeing you as you are makes me feel okay with tying all my hair back and just bearing my forehead. 👏👏👏👏 you *inspire*


  3. Well written Salome!

    What most people fail to understand, is that the insecurities we develop about ourselves, come about from the comments made jokingly early in life…especially by people close to us. they take their roots here and by the time we get to our teen years, we become so self conscious about the features people joked about.

    I am happy you have learnt to embrace your whole self… flaws and all… because they make you unique and beautiful. Perfection is a myth.

    Keep at it. Keep loving yourself and keep inspiring other young ladies to love their bodies and enjoy being in their skin.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. That was a good read Salome Ayugi
    I wish many girls our age would read this and fall in love who they are in the inside and out..proud you started writing by the way
    It was about time

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much. I hope more girls will feel the same! The more we talk about issues we face, the more we normalize being open about these issues, hence creating comfortable environments for open discussions. Thanks!


  5. You have one of the most beautiful smiles….. Keep smiling n you rock the short hair plus melanin is perfect…hides all scars and spots.
    May this encourage all butterflies out there who think they are caterpillars

    Beautiful piece 💚

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thanks for writing this. I’ve shared a similar experience and what I wish I could tell my younger self is, only reason you are bullied is because those bullies see something in you that threatens them so they try to bring you down with their ugly words. Being mean to another only truly reflects the kind of soul you are within.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re welcome. And I would actually twll my younger self the same thing. Bullies actually bully to hide something they do not want people to know. Thanks for your comment dear! 🙂


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