Sometimes inspiration can strike from adversity, and if we choose to rise up when others attempt to tear us down, there is no telling how far we can go.
Such is the case for one inspirational 12-year-old who, after being relentlessly teased in school for her dark skin color, chose not only to be comfortable in her own skin but to fully embrace it by creating a clothing line dedicated to “flexin’ in her complexion” — and empowering others to do the same.
Kheris Rogers tells Babble that the bullying she experienced began early. As in first grade.
“I went to a school where there were not many people of color,” she explains. “The kids would call me mean names, they did not want to play with me, and I was never invited to anyone’s birthday parties.”
Even after her mother moved her to a more diverse school, the bullying continued.
“We thought this would be a better fit, but instead, I was now being teased by other people of color because of how dark my skin is,” says Rogers.
Fortunately for Rogers, she had a supportive family, including a grandmother who never let her forget her worth.
“‘Flexin’ in my complexion’ is a saying that my grandmother would always tell me to remind me to love who I am,” says Rogers.
Another big support for Rogers is her sister Taylor, who one day decided to tweet a photo of Rogers looking confident and beautiful in a bright colorful dress. The caption read: “My sister is only 10, but already royalty #FlexinInHerComplexion.” It quickly went viral and inspired thousands of people to share their own stories of being bullied for their looks.
The immense feedback also got the sisters thinking. Sharing a love of fashion, they decided to print the inspiring “Flexin’ in My Complexion” slogan in bold lettering onto T-shirts that they created in their garage.
The business quickly took off, earning $100,000 their first year. They eventually got the attention of several celebrities who have embraced the T-shirt line, including LeBron James, Snoop Dogg, Alicia Keys. Even actress Lupita Nyong’o sported the black T-shirt with bright yellow lettering in a photo she posted to Instagram!
The popularity of the clothing line has enabled Rogers to travel across the country and share her inspiring message through different brand campaigns and motivational speeches. She wants other young people to know how important it is not to let other people’s negative comments affect how you feel about yourself.
“People who bully others are just insecure and unhappy with themselves, so they are trying to bring you down with them,” she says. “Don’t be afraid to stand up for what you believe in and always tell someone when you are going through a hard time.”
This young lady is a rock star, and obviously wise beyond her years.
As for what’s next for the company, the sisters have no plans to slow down. Rogers tells Babble that she will be featured in Chelsea Clinton’s new book, Start Now!, set to release on October 2, and that she has also teamed up with Nike and Lebron James for his 16th shoe.
When it comes to working with LeBron James, she says: “There were 16 strong women that inspired him to create the strongest Nike shoe ever and I was honored to be one of them!”
Clearly, the sky’s the limit for this inspiring young entrepreneur, and we can’t wait to see what she does next.