Where Is Rachel Dolezal Now? What to Know About the Former NAACP Leader Now Known as Nkechi Diallo

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Nkechi Diallo, who was previously known as Rachel Dolezal, first sparked controversy when she identified as Black despite being the daughter of White parents

Anthony Quintano/NBC/Reuters/Landov Rachel Dolezal in an appearance on the Today show.
Anthony Quintano/NBC/Reuters/Landov Rachel Dolezal in an appearance on the Today show.

Nkechi Diallo, formerly Rachel Dolezal, returned to the public eye after first sparking controversy in 2015.

The former NAACP official was accused of lying about her race in June 2015 after claiming she was Black when she was actually born to a White mother and father. Her parents, Ruthanne and Larry Dolezal, first outed her to local media, telling the Spokane Spokesman-Review that their daughter started to “disguise herself” after her family adopted four African-American children.

“It’s very sad that Rachel has not just been herself,” Ruthanne, who hadn’t spoken to her daughter in years at the time, said. “Her effectiveness in the causes of the African-American community would have been so much more viable, and she would have been more effective if she had just been honest with everybody.”

Diallo vehemently denied the accusations, telling the paper that the question was “not as easy it seems.”

“There’s a lot of complexities … and I don’t know that everyone would understand that,” she said, before adding, “We’re all from the African continent.”

Years later, Diallo changed her name and, in February 2024, was fired from her teaching post in a Tucson, Arizona, school district after administrators found her OnlyFans account.

From her original controversy to where she ended up in the years since, here’s everything to know about where the woman formerly known as Rachel Dolezal is now.

How did Diallo first spark controversy?

Nicholas K. Geranios/AP Rachel Dolezal before June 2015.
Nicholas K. Geranios/AP Rachel Dolezal before June 2015.

In June 2015, Diallo’s local paper in Spokane, Washington, broke the news that she was not Black as she claimed to be. At the time, Diallo was the leader of her area’s chapter of the NAACP.

“Unfortunately, she is not ethnically by birth African American,” Larry, her father, told The Washington Post. “She is our daughter by birth. And that’s the way it is.”

Diallo denied her parents’ accusations, claiming that they may not have even been her true biological parents. Instead, she pointed to Albert Wilkerson, a Black man, as her potential father, though he denied those claims.

“Up to this point, I know who raised me,” Diallo said in an interview with NBC Nightly News. “I haven’t had a DNA test. There’s been no biological proof that Larry and Ruthanne are my biological parents.”

She added that despite a birth certificate with both Larry and Ruthanne’s names on it, she was still doubtful as to her biological heritage.

“I’m not necessarily saying that I can prove they’re not but I don’t know that I can actually prove they are,” she continued. “I mean, the birth certificate was issued a month and a half after I’m born. Certainly there were no medical witnesses to my birth. It was in the woods.”

Her family rebutted that everyone in Diallo’s life could vouch that the Dolezals were indeed her parents, and her grandparents were even present for her birth. Larry told PEOPLE at the time that if she were to take a DNA test, he was positive it would prove her relation to him.

“If someone will take her up on that bluff, she will readily be proven to be our biological daughter,” Larry wrote in a statement to PEOPLE.

Diallo was outed when investigative reporter Jeff Selle of Idaho’s Coeur d’Alene Press noticed that she had once again filed a report of a racially motivated hate crime, which he flagged happened many times in the past and the claims were never substantiated.

There hadn’t been a string of hate crimes until she shows up,” Selle told PEOPLE. “And now with them allegedly happening in Spokane, I said, ‘This looks fishy.’ ”

He did some digging and tracked down her parents, and from there, the story took off.

What did her family say about the controversy?

Dolezel Family/Splash News Rachel Dolezal with her husband and family, including her parents Ruthanne and Larry, as well as her four younger siblings.
Dolezel Family/Splash News Rachel Dolezal with her husband and family, including her parents Ruthanne and Larry, as well as her four younger siblings.

Though they were initially hesitant to speak out, Larry and Ruthanne remained firm in their claims that Diallo was their daughter and that she had no Black lineage.

“She’s not being rational in what she is saying,” Ruthanne told the Seattle Times.

Larry added, “She has so much to offer and so many positive experiences, it’s not necessary that she would lie. Her advocacy doesn’t justify or excuse her for misrepresenting her ethnicity.”

One of Diallo's siblings, Ezra, who is Black, told Buzzfeed that his sister’s claims that she was another race were “basically blackface,” before adding that she had asked him to cover for her in the past.

“She just told me, ‘Over here, I’m going to be considered Black, and I have a Black father. Don’t blow my cover,’ ” he said.

He theorized that the reason he thinks she lied is because when she was a student at Howard University, she felt discriminated against for being White. He elaborated that Diallo used to tell them that teachers would treat her differently and act like they didn’t want her there.

Ezra said Diallo’s claims that her parents were abusive were untrue and that she was “treated really well” growing up. Like Selle, he also didn’t believe she had been the subject of racist attacks.

“She made herself into a martyr on purpose for people to feel sorry for her and to help her,” he said.

“It’s like what psychologists call self-hating,” he continued. “She had no reason not to like herself being White. She was an awesome artist and she could have accomplished everything she did, if she had stayed exactly the same.”

Ezra confirmed that he was estranged from his sister at the time and that she had no contact with their parents either.

What happened to her after she was caught?

Erica Parise/Warner Bros. Rachel Dolezal in a television appearance.
Erica Parise/Warner Bros. Rachel Dolezal in a television appearance.

Diallo resigned as president of her chapter of the NAACP and she also lost her part-time teaching job at Eastern Washington University in the wake of the controversy.

“I’ve got to figure it out before Aug. 1, because my last paycheck was like $1,800 in June,” Diallo told Vanity Fair five weeks after the scandal unfolded. “[I lost] friends and the jobs and the work and – oh, my God – so much at the same time.”

However, she doubled down on her claims and continued to state that she identified as Black, tracing her earliest memories of Black experiences during an interview with the Today show.

Diallo explained that she identified racially as “human” and culturally as Black. “I was drawing self-portraits with the brown crayon instead of the peach crayon,” she said of her childhood years. “That’s how I was portraying myself.”

In her interview with Vanity Fair, Diallo said she didn’t think she mislead anyone or purposely deceived anyone, despite making false claims about the identity of her father and asking her brother to cover for her.

“If people feel misled or deceived, then sorry that they feel that way, but I believe that’s more due to their definition and construct of race in their own minds than it is to my integrity or honesty, because I wouldn’t say I’m African American, but I would say I’m Black, and there’s a difference in those terms,” she said.

Looking to the future, Diallo said she was working on changing her custody agreement with her ex-husband so she could leave Spokane as well as thinking about writing a book. She also was making money by styling Black hair, taking appointments for braids and weaves three times a week.

Why did she change her name?

(Colin Mulvany/The Spokesman-Review/AP Rachel Dolezal after her race controversy came to light.
(Colin Mulvany/The Spokesman-Review/AP Rachel Dolezal after her race controversy came to light.

Diallo legally changed her name in March 2017 from Rachel Dolezal to Nkechi Amare Diallo, which has African roots, per Reuters. In an interview with The Guardian the same month, Diallo opened up about how she was struggling to find her footing after being outed as White.

She explained that she was unable to find a new job, even something like working at a supermarket, after applying to over 100. She said that she applied to a job where she used to teach but her former colleagues pretended they didn’t know her.

After turning down her only offers in reality TV and pornography, Diallo was using food stamps to pay for herself and her kids and relied on her friend to help her with rent, telling the outlet she expected to be homeless within a month.

“I really felt like I needed to change my legal name in order to be seen for my qualifications and experience rather than just seen for the tabloid publicity that I got in 2015,” she shared on the Today show the same month. “When applying for a job, people were just seeing ‘Rachel Dolezal’ and not paying attention to the wide-ranging experience and qualifications that I do have.”

What happened since the scandal?

The cover of Rachel Dolezal's book, "In Full Color: Finding My Place In a Black and White World."
The cover of Rachel Dolezal's book, "In Full Color: Finding My Place In a Black and White World."

Two years after her life was uprooted, Diallo wrote a memoir, In Full Color: Finding My Place in a Black and White World, however, she struggled to find a publisher willing to see it through.

“You know, the book was a difficult one to write, for sure,” she told Savannah Guthrie on the Today show. “But I felt like it was kind of a little bit forced upon me as far as just the need to tell the whole truth about my life and the full story.”

Diallo also welcomed a son that year, she revealed, so her focus was on feeding her family, but that has been a “challenge” since all the media attention.

“But I am 100% committed to providing for my kids,” she added. “And finding my way back to the activism work that I am so passionate about.”

Years later, in 2021, Diallo appeared on the Tamron Hall Show where she opened up about how her struggles continued, even after moving to Tucson, Arizona, in 2020. She said she had to create her own work from braiding hair to painting, and even making pep talks on Cameo, a website where people can pay celebrities or influencers to record a message.

“I started with applying to all the things I was qualified for and after interviews and getting turned down I even applied to jobs that didn’t require degrees — being a maid at a hotel, working at a casino — I wasn’t able to get any of those jobs either,” she said on the show.

Where is Diallo now?

Tyler Tjomsland/The Spokesman-Review/AP Rachel Dolezal after her controversy came to light.
Tyler Tjomsland/The Spokesman-Review/AP Rachel Dolezal after her controversy came to light.

In February 2024, Diallo once again made headlines as she was fired from her job as a teacher in the Catalina Foothills School District in Tucson after administrators learned of her OnlyFans account.

“We only learned of Ms. Nkechi Diallo's OnlyFans social media posts yesterday afternoon,” Julie Farbarik, a spokeswoman for the Catalina Foothills Unified School District #16, said in a statement to PEOPLE. “Her posts are contrary to our district's ‘Use of Social Media by District Employees’ policy and our staff ethics policy. She is no longer employed by the Catalina Foothills School District.”

Per the Arizona Daily Star, Diallo was hired as an after-school instructor on Aug. 9, 2023, with a contract that was set to expire on May 24, 2024. She worked with students in the K-5 grade levels and was also a substitute teacher.

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