Flexin’ In My Complexion Founder and Philanthropist Kheris Rogers
Fashion designer. Author. Singer. Philanthropist. CEO. Teenager Kheris Rogers can claim all these titles and has no intention of slowing down.
Rogers’s streetwear line Flexin’ In My Complexion champions self-love, self-worth, and representation for Black girls and women. The inspiration initially came from her experiencing bullying as a young girl due to her dark skin. Roger’s grandmother is credited for the line’s name because she constantly told her granddaughter the phrase for support and inspiration.
That encouragement has transformed into a movement and following with many well-known figures offering support (including Lupita Nyong’o, Alicia Keys, Taraji P. Henson, and Whoopi Goldberg, to name a few). At eleven, Rogers made history at New York Fashion Week as the youngest designer to debut a line on the event’s coveted runway.
“Beauty has nothing to do with the outside,” Kheris said. “It has to do with your inside by being nice, smart, creative. Being beautiful means confidently knowing that you’re enough just the way you are. When I look at myself in the mirror, I say nice things like, ‘I am smart. I am kind. I am confident.’ It’s empowering.”
In 2019, Rogers and her family established the Kheris Rogers Foundation. Through workshops, community service events, and mentorship, the Foundation encourages underserved young people to reach their highest potential and be the best they were created to be. The Foundation also strongly supports youth in foster care and offers an annual scholarship to a young transition-age person attending a four-year university.
Rogers wanted to reach a younger audience with her message of acceptance, leading to her writing the 2022 HarperCollins picture book Shine Bright. Illustrated by Mechal Renee Roe, the book shares the story of young Imani, who is shaken when peers tell her they’re scared of her too-dark skin. The young protagonist’s sister offers comfort and lovingly reminds Imani that she is smart, brave, beautiful, strong, and just enough.
“In the society that we live in today, there’s so much that needs to be talked about, but people try to push away the discussions, especially with children, and it starts when they’re young,” said Rogers.
“I just thought it was important to let as many kids as possible know that you’re beautiful no matter what and that you shouldn’t try to fit society’s standards to fit in with other kids. You don’t have to do that. You can be yourself. And by telling my story this way, more kids can understand that.”
Shine Bright is described as a perfect tool for teaching kids about appreciating outer and inner beauty, embracing differences, being kind to oneself and others, and the power of reciting affirmations.
Luana Kay Horry, Senior Editor at HarperCollins Children’s Books, calls Rogers “an inspiration to anyone who has ever been bullied for the things that make them beautiful” and noted that her story will “encourage all children to shine as bright as they can and on their own terms.”
To Be Heard in the Room
Continuing her work to empower peers, Rogers, her Foundation, and in partnership with the Jenesee Center in Los Angeles, hosted a second symposium in 2023 for youth ages 14 to 18. The free event, titled “High Vibration Youth Summit,” gave teens opportunities to discuss important topics, including the effects of constant exposure to social media on self-esteem and relationship-building skills.
“There are pros and cons when it comes to social media, with it boosting your self-esteem and bringing it down,” reflects Rogers. “I feel like we should not want to fit that standard of the Instagram model because they aren’t real. In-person, models look very different. Social media allows everyone to express themselves, and we just need to be ourselves online. And teens need to be heard in places where we can state our opinions and not feel judged.”
Despite a busy schedule, Rogers still makes time for her love of music. When she was younger, it was common to find her and her sister constantly having sing-offs around the house. Rogers was part of the girl group Run The World during the pandemic and more recently began exploring solo projects and songwriting. In 2022, she released her first single, “Drop Top Thang.”
When asked what advice she’d give to girls who have big dreams but might be afraid to put their work out there, Rogers doesn’t hesitate with an answer.
“Don’t be afraid,” she stressed. “If you have something that makes you scared, ask why you are scared. Don’t be focused on other people’s opinions. This is your dream. This is your goal. If you wanna do something, you have to be the one to go for it. No one else can. God put you on this earth for a reason; make him proud. And remember to have fun.”
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