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Melaniin goddess and model Khoudia Diopphoto celebrates her Senegalese heritage in this photo series “Nyenyo,” which refers to the blacksmiths and metalworkers of the Senegalese caste system. Dressed like royalty, Diopphoto embraces her family’s heritage as jewelry makers and gold workers in Dakar.

Diopphoto shares an interesting fact about Senegalese tradition: “In my (Nyenyo) caste, women only get piercings done with gold, because they say other metals don’t heal! And babies that are pierced with gold are called BÉTÉ-BÉTÉ, which means: pierced with gold.”

As for how the model’s Senegalese roots has shaped her appreciation of her melanin, Diopphoto explains, “I was taught to carry myself as a Senegalese woman…with respect for her elders, heritage and honor. It is really about the woman you are, and how you carry yourself and treat others. This is why I think beauty is much more than appearance… It’s the way you care about yourself and others.”

Check out these gorgeous photos of Khoudia Diopphoto flexin’ in her complexion below:

Model/Muse: Khoudia Diop, @melaniin.goddess
Photographer: Joey Rosado, @islandboiphotography
Make-up Artist: Moshoodat Sanni, @moshoodat
Creative Direction/Agency: The Colored Girl, @thecgirlinc

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