Photo: Instagram/badgalriri

Rihanna’s Choice to Leave Aweng Chuol’s Facial Scars Unedited Was a Significant One

Can we just take a second to acknowledge all the dope accomplishments Rihanna has made? The 31-year-old music artist and businesswoman has been killing it! Let’s list it all, shall we? She has nine Grammy awards, 10 signature fragrances, her Fenty Beauty line has been a major success, her inclusive lingerie line Savage X has made women of all sizes feel seen, and she recently launched a high fashion line with LVMH. She’s also the richest self-made Black woman not just in the states — but in the world — with a fortune worth $600 million. I truly believe that RiRi’s commitment to inclusivity has played a huge role in her success and she’s not stopping there. She was recently praised by fans for leaving model Aweng Chuol’s facial scars unedited, which was a pretty significant move if you ask me.

The images we come across in fashion magazines and on our Instagram feeds can be straight up exhausting. Seeing constant photos of perfectly flawless “glass skin,” like that like to call it these days, is straight up tiring. Feeling pressured to adhere to these not always attainable beauty standards is draining and often times discouraging. We don’t all look like that. In fact, most of us don’t look like that and certainly don’t just wake up like that! It takes skin care treatments, skin care products — that are sometimes more than we can afford — facials, Botox, fillers, and more, to wake up every morning with  Instagrammable bare faced skin and that all cost MONEY.

The truth is, some of us get occasional hormonal breakouts — raising my hand — and some of us get dark spots after breakouts or other forms of hyperpigmentation like sun spots or melasma. Some ladies really struggle with dark circles while others have what so many woman fear the most — fine lines and wrinkles. All of these things are normal skin things that we shouldn’t be so terrified and afraid of. In fact, one of the skin things I’ve seen a lot of women feel self-conscious about are post-acne scars. I’m not referring to dark spots but rather the deep depressions that tend to leave the skin looking indented or bumpy. They are usually permanent and normally require treatments like laser or fillers to get rid of them. But they are normal and chances are you’ve met a ton of people with them that you still find beautiful. I know I have!

Rihanna clearly recognizes how normal acne scars are and acknowledges that they don’t take away from a woman’s beauty, so she made sure to leave South Sudanese model Aweng Mayen Choul’s acne scars completely visible and unedited in a recent ad where she is seen rocking Fenty ear cuffs. 

Aweng posted the close-up photo to her IG with the caption: “@fenty close up. The culture.”

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@fenty close up. The culture.

A post shared by AWENG🐄 (@awengchuol) on

This also goes to show that RiRi understands that inclusivity isn’t just about offering 40-plus shade ranges and including plus-size models in her Savage X ads. It’s about featuring diverse models of all sorts, even those with various skin types.

In an industry known for it’s unattainable and flawless beauty standards, this is quite refreshing to see. It’s inspiring and encouraging to see a normal face in a beauty ad for once because the truth is lots of folks have acne scars. It doesn’t make them any less beautiful and they deserve to be able to confidently walk around and get photographed in their bare skin.

Fans were ALL for it!

“Wow! As a girl with scars, this really touches my heart. I’ve never had any reason to feel less terrible about my scars until seeing this,” one Twitter user wrote.

It’s especially empowering that RiRi chose Aweng because she’s opened up about the insecurities surrounding her skin before.

“People tell me I look like a jaguar or that “I’m exotic,” she said in a 2018 interview with Dazed. “Sometimes I just want to shout at everyone, ‘Look at me, I’m not just a scar. I’m a human.’ But I get it, it’s a curiosity. I know I’m different. I know my facial features are different, but to me that’s beauty.”

We couldn’t agree more and kudos to Rihanna for giving Aweng the space to express that!