Florence Baitio : The Badass 50
After a full-stop year, life is slowly returning to normal. But the women on this list never put their passions on pause. They’ve championed vital causes and strived to realize their visions for the world amid the most challenging times. And we’re all better for it. Introducing, 50 women who are making the world a better place in 2021.
Bonded by their mission to celebrate the beauty of dark skin, the 24-year-old model and superstar actress Taraji P. Henson forged an Insta connection.
Taraji P. Henson: [In April] you posted a simple video of yourself [saying “hi” to your followers] in the most amazing sunlight, and your skin was just everything. I was like, “Who the hell is this?!” I posted it and hit the designers that I have personal relationships with. I just threw it out there! I was like, “She needs to be seen by the world!”
Florence Baitio: When I first saw that, I thought, “OK, I’m just going to log off. If I wake up and this is a dream, I’m crying, ’cause this can’t be real.” I felt, for once, someone heard my voice when you put me out on your platform.
TPH: I’m just a warrior to uplift dark skin because the world treats you worse the darker you are. That’s just the core of who I am, and I’m never going to stop.
FB: I feel like I see you through the characters you play in movies, like a lot of your roles tell who you are in real life. I have a big crush on you!
TPH: Listen, I admire what you do. People think that just because you’re pretty, you can take a cute picture, but it is about an inner fierceness and confidence. And you are so badass and fierce.
FB: I was born in a refugee camp [in Uganda], so moving here [to Australia], I struggled fitting in, I struggled with people bullying me. When I started expressing myself through modeling, it was like I found the one thing I can do. Though some people are still commenting [on the darkness of my skin].
TPH: Whether you’re in America or abroad, we have struggles, and it just feels good for us to see each other and lift each other up. I’m tired of Hollywood telling us what our stories should be, or how we should look when we portray them. There are so many stories to tell, and I’m just happy I can curate, discover, and introduce the world to some new faces and talent.