This Model Was Bullied For Her Freckles — But Now She Loves Them

When Nikia Phoenix was growing up, kids at school would make fun of her freckles, particularly because she's Black.
"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.
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"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."
The model posted about her freckles on Instagram as part of The Refined Woman, a movement encouraging women to embrace who they are, Allure reports. "These freckles have helped to define me. They have made me stronger. I am a Black freckled woman... and proud," she explained.
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."
Freckle tattoos may be a trend, but the beauty of freckles — and every kind of skin under the sun — is timeless.