Jasmine Tookes is honored to wear the $3 million Fantasy Bra down the Victoria’s Secret runway on Dec. 5. The 25-year-old model has been walking in the Victoria’s Secret show since 2012, but it’s been a longtime dream of hers to wear the Fantasy Bra — something that’s considered the ultimate privilege. Tookes is also only the third black woman to wear the diamond-encrusted bra in all of its 20 years. In other words, it’s kind of a big deal.
So when Tookes excitedly Instagrammed a teaser video of herself in this year’s diamond- and emerald-embellished bra, many fans came to her praise. “I am so proud of you, being one of the few black women to have the honor to wear the fantasy bra,” one fan commented. “Keep inspiring. Can’t wait to see you on the runway. #myfavoritevictoriasecretmodel.” Others were not so encouraging, though. “Photoshop till she looks white? She’s beautiful the way she is, I don’t get it,” one person commented. “I think she bleached herself, she used to look black,” said another.
Tookes was shocked and insulted, and she felt the need to defend herself on social media. “Are you kidding me!?!?!? Who in the world does that? First of all, lighting is everything and not to mention I’m way darker in the summer and much lighter towards the winter, my skin tone changes all the time just like everyone else,” she wrote.
Fans encouraged Tookes not to respond to the haters, but she had every right to defend herself. Skin lightening is more common than people may realize. While it’s not socially accepted in the U.S., the harmful practice is widespread in African and East Asian countries where women are taught that their self-worth is dependent on their skin color, and lightening products are advertised to them from a young age. In some countries, including Ghana, there are bans on skin bleaching products to curb their usage. We’re glad that Tookes spoke up and that she embraces her skin color, and we hope that her confidence can inspire others to do the same.