Many people view bullying as regular schoolyard shenanigans while not realizing that it can come with some devastating effects. Between harmful insults, harassment, and violence, bullied children are more likely to retreat within themselves and stay home from school in order to avoid problems with the people who are intimidating them. In fact, an ABC News report stated that more than 30,000 children stay home every day due to the fear of being bullied.
But 11-year-old Kheris Rogers is proof that you can take a negative experience and turn it into something positive. For years Rogers had been bullied in school by classmates because of her dark skin tone, even having to transfer schools because of it.
“There was an incident with a teacher and we had to draw ourselves and she gave us a black crayon instead of a brown crayon, and I was really upset.”
It wasn't until her sister stepped in to help boost her confidence did she realize her own beauty. After photos of Kheris went viral on her sister's social media, she decided to take the hashtag and birth her own clothing line "Flexin In My Complexion". The line was created to not only help her, but also others like her, celebrate their melanin.
This September she became one of the youngest designers to show off her line during New York Fashion Week 2017. Which is major!
Flexin’ in My Complexion was created to “encourage others to be confident in their skin,”and now she has one of the most triumphant stories to come out of New York Fashion Week.
She's not the first to leave her mark during NYFW though. Last year, 10-year-old Egypt "Ify" Ufele, who was bullied about her weight, changed the outcome of her situation into a positive one. The Queens, New York fifth grader and straight-A student started distancing herself from school when students began calling her names and tormenting her. She told The Today Show,
"I was bullied and they called me all kinds of names. One time I got stabbed [with] a pencil."
Ify shared the pain she experienced from her bullies with her seamstress grandmother, Nellie Rembert. Nellie, who started helping Ify channel her energy into sewing. Soon, Ify started focusing all of her free time on designing, and she excelled at it.
Fast forward to New York Fashion Week 2016 where Ify made history as the only child designer to dress curvy models with her line of African inspired clothing, Chubiiline.
When Ify debuted her pieces on the runway, she received a very warm welcome from some veteran designers who were inspired by her story. She also launched a BullyChasers movement to help spread awareness around gun violence and bullying on social media.
Kudos to these young queens who are turning lemons into lemonade and winning one anti-bullying design at a time.