At the age of 10, Kheris Rogers experienced bullying from her classmates at a predominantly white school.
However, her sister, Taylor Pollard, quickly took to social media to boost Kheris’s self-confidence, captioning photos of Kheris, “ “My sister is only 10, but already a royalty,” and the post instantly went viral.
To pay it forward, Kheris launched her clothing line Flexin’ in My Complexion to encourage other young girls to love their skin.
Here is a look at Kheris’s journey from bullying to New York Fashion Week.
Kheris Rogers Experienced Bullying Due to Her Dark Complexion
In an interview with KayKay’s Way, Kheris opened up about her experience with bullying, sharing that she was one of three Black kids at her school. Kheris revealed that the bullying started when she was in first grade, and even involved teachers at the school.
“I have been bullied for my skin complexion since I started the first grade. It was then that I started getting teased by children for having a darker complexion than they did,” Kheris shared. “There was even an incident where my teacher (who was not a person of color) gave me a black crayon instead of a brown one to color myself. It was at that school where I started to become uncomfortable in my skin.”
This led to Kheris often going home from school crying and wishing she had lighter skin. She was transferred to a more diverse school for second grade but despite the school being a more diverse one, Kheris was being teased even by other Black students who were lighter than her.
“Being bullied for something I cannot change made me feel uncomfortable in my skin,” she added.
How Flexin’ In My Complexion Changed Everything
After going viral on social media, Kheris launched her clothing line Flexin’ In My Complexion in 2017, along with her sister Tiffany and a little help from their mom Erika.
It wasn’t long before they were getting shoutouts from celebrities such as Snoop Dogg, Alicia Keys, and Lupita Nyong’o.
“I love this beautiful girl @kherispoppin and I love her mission! Keep shining,” Alicia wrote on Instagram while Lupita added, “See you, I feel you, I support you, @kherispoppin! And I love my shirt!”
Kheris was signed to LA Models at the age of 16 and recently became the youngest designer to ever showcase at New York Fashion Week. She also wrote a children’s book, Shine Bright, which encourages kids to embrace what makes them different.
Turning Adversity into Advocacy Against Colorism
Despite her success, Kheris has not stopped advocating against bullying and even started her own foundation to help.
“I started my foundation because I want to give back to others in the community by addressing issues that can often hold us back such as racism and colorism,” she told Medium. “I to assist in teaching entrepreneurship and financial literacy in my community. I want to highlight issues facing teenagers today to make a better future for tomorrow.”