Kheris Rogers is a model, dancer, singer, actress, and the world’s youngest designer to ever showcase her clothing line at New York Fashion Week. Kheris started the now-famed Flexin’ In My Complexion brand after years of being bullied in school because of her dark skin. Kheris was on Teen Vogue’s 21 Under 21 list and is part of the girl group Run the World. She continues to use her platform to speak out against bullying and to uplift Black girls and young people everywhere. Kheris' debut picture book; Shine Bright was published in September of 2022.
What inspired you to branch out into being a children’s book author and to write Shine Bright?
My inspiration to write Shine Bright as a children's book author came from my own experiences facing challenges and bullying due to my skin color. Through the book, I aim to empower young children to embrace their uniqueness and cultivate self-worth. Shine Bright carries a message of self-acceptance and resilience, encouraging young readers to face adversity with confidence and love for themselves.
What was it like writing a book while juggling so many other jobs?
Juggling multiple jobs while writing a book can be challenging, especially while still in school. It requires time management and dedication. I had to make sacrifices of personal time and social activities. But despite the challenges, I found the experience fulfilling because I had a desire to share my message with the world.
What was it like working with Mechal Renee Roe? How involved were you in the art direction?
Working with Mechal Renee Roe was an exciting process. I worked with her closely together to bring the story to life visually. She really enhanced the visual storytelling aspect of the book and I am honored to have worked with her on this project to create a captivating book that resonated with readers.
In Shine Bright we see Imani get comfort and advice from her older sister instead of someone more expected like a parent or teacher. Was there a particular inspiration behind this?
I wanted to portray Imani seeking comfort and advice from her older sister, just as I did in real life. Through this portrayal, I aimed to highlight the importance of peer support and empowerment in facing challenges. Taylor played a significant role in empowering me to embrace my uniqueness and promote self-confidence through the 'Flexin' In My Complexion' campaign.
There’s a scene in Shine Bright where we see a “Black Excellence” fashion show and we see a diversity of skin tones and hair styles among the illustrated models. Why is it important to you to depict the diversity of the black community?
Showing the diversity of the black community in Shine Bright was important because it promotes representation, inclusivity, and empowerment. It allows readers to see themselves represented in the story and breaks stereotypes, showing the multifaceted nature of black individuals. By showcasing various skin tones and hair styles, the book encourages self-acceptance, challenges colorism, and fosters empathy and understanding among readers.
At Diverse BookFinder, we’re all about the importance of representation in diverse literature for children and young adults. Can you tell us what representation in picture books means or has meant for you?
Representation in picture books is crucial as it validates children's identities, fosters empathy, challenges stereotypes, and empowers marginalized voices. It promotes positive self-esteem, a broader perspective, and a more inclusive society, nurturing empathetic and compassionate young readers.
What was your favorite book as a kid?
As a kid I was obsessed with the Judy Moody book series by Megan McDonald.
What are you reading now? What are some of your current favorite books?
It seems like you always have so much going on, do you have any other projects in the works right now? What’s next for you?
Currently I am working on new collections for my clothing line "Flexin' In My Complexion.” I am also organizing community events with my foundation, the Kheris Rogers Foundation, to continue making a positive impact in empowering and uplifting young individuals from diverse backgrounds.
Is there anything else you would like to share?
To check out my clothing line, visit www.FlexinInMyComplexion.com. To follow me on social media, I can be found @KherisPoppin.
Diverse BookFinder would like to thank Kheris Rogers for her time and input.
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