For the month of May, Bustle is presenting our Beauty IRL package, which is a tribute to our readers' love of beauty and the way they use makeup and skin care to express themselves, to embrace their identities, and to self-soothe. Check out more of those stories here.
You're going to be seeing Khoudia Diop everywhere — and it's not just because she's landed a spot in Make Up For Ever's new #BlendInToStandOut campaign. Diop, who you may know as the "Melaniin Goddess" on Instagram, is also working with The Colored Girl creative agency to "empower and celebrate underrepresented women" and recently launched her own anti-bullying campaign. For the French-Sengalese model, who faced bullying throughout her teens for her skin color, representation and loving yourself and others is an important goal.
The 20-year-old model has been vocal about her struggles to love her skin color — even admitting that, though she's never tried bleaching her skin, she did want to "be lighter" growing up. It was her older sister who first helped her find the positive and potential in her beauty — and now she's hoping to do the same for other young women.
"I wanted to be an inspiration for girls struggling with confidence about their skin color," Diop tells Bustle, "because I had negative feelings about my own complexion growing up, and didn't want anyone to feel the same about themselves!"
On May 11, Diop took over the "Beauty Tips" stream in the Bustle App as part of Bustle's Beauty IRL initiative celebrating how women use makeup and skin care to embrace and express themselves. The model talked the importance of her partnership with Make Up For Ever, the beauty products she can't live without, and where she sees herself in five years.
"I decided to work with Make Up For Ever on their #BlendInStandOut campaign because the brand and campaign represent diversity in an industry where not everyone is represented," Diop says. Something that she feels strongly is important and necessary.
"I've learned that beauty isn't the definition of how you look or feel about yourself," the model says, "but it does affect the way you see everyone."
Diop's career began when she moved to Paris at 15-years-old, and she started working with The Colored Girl when they scouted her on social media after she'd moved to New York. And it's a partnership that she's passionate about. "It means everything to me to work with women who get it — who get ME," she says. "[They] understand what it means to love yourself and love others that same way, and not be afraid to show it."
The start of her modeling career and when Diop started wearing makeup are synonymous. "I remember when I started school," she says, "I wouldn't go to class without putting makeup on."
These days, Diop keeps it pretty simple — especially when she's in a rush. "The first thing I reach for when I'm short on time is my mascara," she says. But the model absolutely swears by Make Up For Ever products in her daily routine. Her favorites include the brand's Water Blend foundation, Skin Booster primer, and Lip Booster, which she call her "fave lip gloss EVER."
Even Diop's skin care routine is minimalistic. The trick to her glowing skin? "Fresh, cold water on my face, and shea butter with Aveeno moisturizer." Not surprising, the one trick she's picked up during her career that she adheres to focuses on that "less is more" ethos, too. "Make sure skin is properly hydrated — I make sure to drink lots of water," she says, "Also, a little highlighter or illuminator goes a long way."
But as for beauty rules, Diop thinks they're all BS. "There are no rules in beauty!" And she has big plans, with the help of The Colored Girl — though she can't reveal them just yet — to keep fighting to diversify the beauty industry. We can't wait to see what's next.
Share the five products you use every day on Instagram with the hashtag #MyEverdayFive for a chance to be featured on Bustle. And check out the "Beauty Tips" stream in the Bustle App to see Khoudia Diop's takeover in its entirety and get up-to-the-minute updates on absolutely everything you care about.