Up to the Challenge
Yar Kang: Founder, South Sudan Women’s Outreach:
In the Egyptian city of Cairo, the refugee camp was buzzed with many activities as the search was on for contestants in an upcoming beauty pageant. It was obvious by the milling of young ladies from different countries gossiping about one another, making the competition very competitive. In certain corners, the usual talk about skin color and beauty was a hot topic as if only the color of your skin defined your beauty. It would not beat the imagination that such perception could cause low self-esteem in some of the potential contestants, but not for Yar Kang.
In Kang’s country of birth, South Sudan, the belief was that the lighter your skin color, the prettier you are, but that did not stop the tall, skinny and dark young lady from trying out for the pageant. She eventually became Miss South Sudan and third-place winner in the overall competition of African women. That was a life-changing moment that turned the switch on to the personified notion of “the darker the chocolate, the sweeter the juice.”
Kang’s greatest desire was to come to the United States from the refugee camp in Cairo. That became a reality, and her passion rolled into the corridors of modeling in New York. Kang gave up a career in modeling after becoming pregnant but ventured for some time into acting. She landed roles in several films like “I’m a Legend” with Will Smith, “Not on My Watch” a George Clooney documentary, and “the Good Lie” with Will Weatherspoon among others. More… Download an electronic version at Voices Magazine Online