You Are Beautiful!

“I like to have white skin!” A statement that I usually hear in the Philippines but sadly, all over Asia…

Sitting at Kuta beach in Lombok, Indonesia one sunny afternoon when a woman come sit beside me and introduce herself. She offered me some nuts to eat together. Her name is Mama Unggul. She is 41-year-old and is selling fruits every day on the beach. Mama Unggul is a sweet woman. She even removes all the nutshells for me, so I will just eat the nuts straight. She is bubbly and always smiling. I quickly get comfortable with her. I love her. We get to talk to a lot of things including her desire to have white skin.

She turns her head to the white people few steps beside us sunbathing. Then suddenly, she utters, “I like to be white!” I pause for a bit, and I ask her, “why do you want to be white?” She answers, “Because it is beautiful.” My bubbly conversation tone suddenly turns into more serious and encouraging voice. I tell her, “Brown skin is beautiful also. You are beautiful. We are beautiful!”

Mama Unggul is one of those typical Asian women who is dreaming of having white skin and is believing that it is better to be white than brown. On the other hand, I am one of the very few Asian women who is celebrating brown skin. Witnessing this makes me sad.


Majority of women in Asia always want to have fair and white skin because the colonial mentality is rooted so deeply in us. I know it is hard to love your skin when surrounded by people doing everything in their power to finance themselves for glutathione injections, whitening lotions, bleaching soaps, and all those whitening products in the market. These are all back up with commercials and celebrities who are promoting these various whitening products and services.

The struggle is real! I’ve been there. I had the similar mindset that having fair skin is much better. I tried different whitening products, and it took a long time before I realize, “Hey, this isn’t me!” When I begin traveling around, other races appreciate my complexion more than people in my country or Asia. It leads me to the realization that, do we know that when we start to learn and truly love ourselves, that is the only time we will realize and begin to do practical things without sacrificing our health and of course, our natural beauty. We should embrace our true self. Celebrate your brown skin! Tell someone today, and every day that they are beautiful. It takes appreciation for someone including yourself to feel beauty and confidence. No matter what your skin color is, YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!

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