One of the white female influencers accused of “Blackfishing,” which means presenting as Black on social media for follows and financial gain, spoke out for the first time saying she doesn’t see a problem with how she looks.
20-year-old Aga Brzostowska, who was born in Poland, spoke with BBC’s Radio 1 Newsbeat about why she doesn’t think her skin darkening is problematic.
Aja, who goes by Alicja online, first insisted although she is European, her skin is “not pale.”
“I might be Polish, but I’m not ‘White,’ White,” she said. While she did admit to tanning, she defended the skin darkening by saying she never did it to pretend to be Black.
“With things like tanning, I don’t think I’ve done anything in a malicious way,” she told the news outlet.
Although the photos were taken when she was 13- and 20-years-old, many believe there have been drastic physical changes to her appearance.
“I understand why the Twitter thread was made. And it makes sense to use my pictures because without looking at anything or knowing me, it makes sense to put those two pictures together because obviously, you can see a mad difference – a crazy difference.”
In addition, Brzostowska said she never alleged she was Black saying, "I've had no surgery, so I can't take off these lips. I can't remove my 'fake bum implants.'"
She then went on to say that her features are natural.
"I'm proud to be Polish but I don't know why I look like this - my features are just there. I can't help that I have big lips and not the stereotypical Polish features," she said.
Alicja was also harshly criticized for wearing braids, a hairstyle that has almost become synonymous with cultural appropriation.
"I didn't really think much of it. I really appreciate the culture and I really just love the look - that was literally it."
(Photo: BBC Radio 1 Newsbeat)