These freckles have been on my skin since I was 4 years old. They weren't trendy when I was younger. No one was drawing on freckles or getting freckle tattoos. In fact, it was just the opposite. I was picked on a lot for my spots and it hurt. But if given the option, I wouldn't change my skin. I wouldn't change what I went through. These freckles have helped to define me. They have made me stronger. I am a black freckled woman... and proud. Incredibly honored to join a great group of women who are sharing stories about Loving the Skin You're In. Read about body acceptance and self love from @therefinedwoman @laurenscruggs @tuttidelmonte @gofitjo @missdbennett. Sharing is caring. #therefinedcollective
"When I look around at my family — we have freckles," she told Yahoo! Beauty. "So I didn’t think that there was anything strange about it until I would walk out of my door to go to school and kids would point at me and laugh, saying, ‘You’re not Black. You have freckles’ or, ‘There’s something wrong with you.'"
At first, she believed them and try to cover up her skin. But now, as a successful model during a time when people love freckles so much they're getting tattoos of them, she's realized there was never a problem with her face.
"My freckles helped me realize that there’s nothing wrong with being an individual," she said. "There’s nothing wrong with being different. I used to hold my head down. Then I started to slowly lift my chin, roll my shoulders back, and stare people dead in their faces. This is who I am, and I can’t change that. I don’t want to change that — freckles and all."
In addition to encouraging unconditional self-love, Phoenix wants to combat the myth that you can only rock freckles if you're white.
"I'm really drawn to other people's freckles, and I'm amazed that they can be seen on people of a lot of different races," she told Refinery29 in 2015. "Asian women, Hispanic women, Black women — I think it's amazing that these little beauty marks aren't just specific to one group of people."