Netti. Auckland, NZ

I’ve always been insecure about the colour of my skin. I’ve always felt it was like a dirty brown. I wanted it to be that golden colour everyone desires. In Samoa light skin is considered pretty. We were told to keep out of the sun because that would make us darker. 

 

As a daughter of immigrants I feel I have two different worlds. The traditional Samoan world that I grew up in and then the New Zealand western world. I've had to balance where I stand. 

 

The Samoan girl in me is reminded of my family at the beach. It was all about being very covered up. Hoodies, board shorts to my knees...that sort of thing. The sun would be boiling and we’d have hoodies on. We covered up to not get any darker and we covered up to hide any hint of sexuality. I could never wear something that shows my tits like I wear now.

Now I’m just like fuck that. 

 

Mum and Dad moved our whole life here to New Zealand and we struggled for years and years in poverty. Since I was born they said you’re going to be a doctor, make it worth it that we came to this country.  I love my parents and although I never became a doctor I try to please them by excelling in Film and TV.

 

Living in Christchurch, New Zealand, with little diversity was challenging. I started at a low decile primary school full of people that looked like me, all Maori and Pacific Islanders. Then I changed to Christchurch Girls High School which was a very different culture. It was such a culture shock and very white. I just had to learn to adapt really fast. 

 

I took the attitude of, well, this is their story they can’t help that they lived in that. I can’t change that. I just have to get to know them and get their side of the story and they can get to know me and do the same thing. And maybe change their minds about people that are like me.

 

And now...I embrace my skin so hard because I feel so bad for the old me who didn’t enjoy her life because of something so miniscule.