Meet "the most photographed behind in Kenya," Vera Sidika, who is described as the African country’s Kim Kardashian. She gained fame for her posterior and career as a video model, but sparked a cultural firestorm recently when she revealed her skin lightening regimen.
During an interview on the Kenyan show The Trend, the Mombasa-raised "vixen" admitted she has spent about $170,000 on bleaching creams for her career and, like the Whitenicious bleach creammad woman Dencia, Sidika pointed to black pop stars as fellow successful skin lighteners, according to Page Six.
"Looking good is my business, my body is my business, nobody else’s but mine," she says on The Trend. "Nicki Minaj and Rihanna did it, you just have to do it the right way."
Except Rihanna and Nicki didn't lighten their skin, as far as I can tell. Presumably Sidika's impression of the "wrong way" would be the skin bleaching progression of Jamaican reggae artist (and now prison inmate) Vybz Kartel, whose skin went from chocolate brown to the color of your boyfriend’s dirty sock.
Thanks to colorism, which values lighter skin over its darker counterparts, skin lightening is still popular among people of color, despite clear medical research showing that the practice causes cancer. Sidika must feel the risk is worth the result, which is sad in itself.
After Sidika’s bleaching admission, viewers of The Trend exploded on social media with backlash against her “low self-esteem” through the hashtag #bleachedbeauty.
If you can't accept yourself as you are, how will you accept a strange face in the mirror knowing that that ain't you? #bleachedbeauty
— Tslery (@Tslery) June 11, 2014
— Crimson Viking (@CrimsonCrimo) June 11, 2014
— #MaliYaUma (@kreativ06) June 8, 2014