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This 10-Year-Old Said Social Media Made Her More Confident After Being Bullied For Her Dark Skin

Kheris's older sister hopes she'll now use her platform to "positively influence other kids."

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This is the Pollard family from Los Angeles. Erika Pollard is mom to 22-year-old Taylor and 10-year-old Kheris. Kheris is currently in the 5th grade, but she's had a tough time navigating her elementary school years.

Kids would constantly tease Kheris about her darker complexion throughout grade school. Their mom eventually decided to transfer her to a different school because the bullying was severely affecting Kheris' self esteem.

Taylor Pollard

Taylor said the first elementary school Kheris was enrolled in had only four black girls in her class, which she believed attributed to the teasing.

"She started to notice she was different," Taylor told BuzzFeed News. "She would cry a lot, and talk about how she doesn't like her skin tone."

Kheris told BuzzFeed News that during an exercise years ago in grade school her teacher asked students to draw themselves, then handed her a black crayon. "I’m not that dark... I'm brown,” she replied.

By the second grade, their mom decided to enroll Kheris in a different school and school district that was more diverse.

Taylor said the bullying did subside a bit, but Kheris was still coming to her with negative comments she'd hear about her skin tone — this time, however, they were coming from other black students, which surprised Taylor.

Taylor Pollard

"A couple of girls at school would tease her about being skinny and about her skin tone, but it’s weird because it came from people who are black as well," Taylor said.

Taylor and her mom were feeling helpless. But after a fateful Wiz-inspired fashion show, and a subsequent tweet that went viral, things started to slowly change.

My sister is only 10, but already royalty 👸🏾 #FlexinInHerComplexion

In late March, after Taylor helped dress and style her little sister for the fashion show, she snapped these photos and shared them on Twitter. "My sister is only 10, but already royalty," she captioned them, adding a #FlexinInHerComplexion hashtag.

By April, the tweet and photos of Kheris went viral. It now has nearly 30,000 retweets.

Taylor then shared a video of Kheris fiercely strutting down the aisle. People were in love with Kheris' entire look and attitude.

@TaylorAndrea_ Way Too Valuable & Adorable. I pray she goes on to obtain a great education and rule the world the right way

When Taylor showed Kheris the flood of comments calling her "beautiful" and her skin "gorgeous," Kheris's face lit up.

"She was obsessed with the comments," Taylor said. "So many people's comments gave her a positive outlook on her skin. It gave her reassurance."

"I was overwhelmed," Kheris said. "There were so many comments that they loved my skin and my hair."

It was then that Taylor had the idea to help Kheris run her own Twitter account, and fill it with photos from their own creative fashion shoots. Taylor said she and their mom closely monitor the account, and do the majority of the posting.

Not your average 10 year old 👸🏾 #melaninpoppin

Taylor helped Kheris start the account in February, but it was inactive until this past month.

The account @KherisPoppin is now filled with Kheris and Taylor's photo shoots, along with empowering captions. "My black is beautiful and I'll never let anyone tell me different" is one Taylor helped write.

There were people who pushed back and had concerns about a 10-year-old already having a social media account, but Taylor said she had a Myspace at a very young age.

@TaylorAndrea_ @KherisPoppin 10 with a Twitter? Poor generation.

Taylor also reassured that the account is linked to her and her mom's phones, so they're able to closely manage the comments and activities, and remove or "block out certain things."

The Pollards mostly hope that the outlet not only helps Kheris with her self-image, but that she will use it to empower other young girls.

"I told Kheris now that she has the attention she should use it as a positive outlet," Taylor said. "I think it’s important to use the platform to positively influence other kids."

Kheris said the support she's received from strangers across the internet "made me feel more confident about myself."

Tanya Chen is a social news reporter for BuzzFeed and is based in New York.

Contact Tanya Chen at tanya.chen@buzzfeed.com.

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